Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ATM Cave Tour

This was pretty darned cool.  I'll admit it.

Got up early, and was in town ... scrounging for breakfast ... by about 6am.  The eatery I found did me right -- multiple cups of coffee, watermelon juice, a cheese omelet, and fry jacks.  Made it over to the coffee place (see a theme, here) for another mocha-frappuccino.

Tour left at 7:30am.  I accompanied a couple and their friend (Mark/Mike and Rachel, and Paul).

Rachel is a letter carrier.  Paul and Mark/Mike (sorry !) are archaeologists, working for the government.  All are from N'Oleans.

No cameras are allowed on the tour, since some bone-head tourist dropped his camera on top of a skull, breaking out a few of its teeth, last year-ish.

[Incidentally, I (yes: the blind guy) FOUND one of the teeth.  I assume they'll put up a monument to me, at some point ;-)]

The guide was pretty happy about the find, though :-)

In short:

 - I didn't find it particularly "strenuous," but you DO work, you DO need to be limber, and you CANNOT be a very big person.  Period.  Tonight's dinner will include 800mg of Ibuprofen (Hi, DJ !!);

 - We spent a lot of time in the water -- often over our heads.  That was cool -- both the water, itself, and the experience of swimming around in a cave.  I mean ... ridiculously cool, and I've swum in caves before (Cenotes, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico);

 - The cave is awesome, and complex, and big.  The "artifacts --" I dunno.  Even if it was 100% genuine and authentic, something about it felt really contrived.  When I mentioned it, in private, the archaeologists just smiled.  But the cave -- AS a cave -- is endlessly fascinating, and virtually NOTHING is off-limits.  I have very mixed feelings about that, but .... ;

 - There are a million ways to get hurt, and a few hundred ways to die on this tour.  It was exhilarating, in a good way.  You'd NEVER have this deal in the States.  Rachel took a spill, and sliced her hand.  Luckily, at the end of the tour, I happened to see Lynn, the Oregon ER Nurse Practitioner whom I had met in Caye Caulker (these things happen).  Lynn pronounced it NOT in need of stitches.  So had I, but ... I don't have a medical degree or estimable street cred :-)

 - The lunch they provided was too much food.  I'm not sure I've ever felt that way in my entire life, and it's clearly not a complaint, but ... burp.  Of course, I ate it, along with 1.5l of coconut water I'd brought with me.  Did I mention ... burp ?

 - Truth be told .... I DID pee in the cave, while swimming.  For Pete's sake ... on the drive up, and on the hike TO the cave, they kept admonishing us to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Well ... I DID.  So ... there's another tourist ruining ... something ... for all who follow.  Three Hail Mary's, I shall say;

 - The ride out there took us past a mahogany farm -- very young trees.  The future ... of my (hopefully) furniture making (hopefully ... maybe ... one day), and the Belizean Mahogany industry.

This guy apparently got to take vid before the camera prohibition, so ... without further ado ... I give you .... a brief synopsis of the ATM Cave Tour:

Since coming back to town, I've done laundry (had to wear my hiking shoes for most of it, and only socks for quite a few areas).  Hoping my hiking shoes are dry for tomorrow's horseback ride.

I'm pretty tired.  

I did NOT lose my glasses, using my over-the-glasses safety goggles ONLY for the time in the water.  

Not wearing my clip-on sunglasses inside the cave, though, my eyes are horribly fatigued from all the headlamps (our tour -- probably ten of us -- and maybe three other similarly sized tours, in a pitch dark cave, blinding each other).  

Hoping to sleep that one off.  

Didn't really think about it.  Not much I could have done about it, anyway.

Some rock, somewhere underwater, took a bite out of my shin.  Never even noticed it, but ... I'll tend to that, eat some chocolate chip cookies (YEAH, BABY !!!), cool off, watch some TV, and then head out to see the evening life ... if it's not raining.

Tengo que irme (Gots to get me) to bed early, tonight, to finish abusing my body, tomorrow.  

I got about $35.00 worth of PCP from a local guy to make sure my horse is chill.  Whatever it takes, and this IS Belize ;-)

[Just kidding, Folks !]

So ... as always ... Ciao for now ... from the Have Recently Spelunked Cavemen of .... The Gulag.


  1. ok, jumping off a pier last week and swimming in caves sounds a lot like the adventuresome person I have known. Any bats or snakes in the caves. I wouldn't have gone in that water even before you peed in it :-)

    1. It was/is, but that guy never considered he could lose a contact lens, or both. Glasses are vulnerable, and -- as you know -- I'm pretty well screwed without them.

      I'm pushing it a bit, though.

      Bats: yep.
      Snakes: nope.

      Pee: mostly clear. Lots of coconut water :-)