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Belize 2010 - Bitten by a Bug

by PCW ~, 28 April 2010

By Phil Walker ~ Photos by Brendan Marris ~ Video by Nicky Bayley

During March and April 2010 9 cavers, including 7 SWCC members undertook another expedition to Belize, Central America.

Building on the work of previous expeditions, exploration continued in the Pueblo Creek system, pushing the main stream passage down to a large 30m x 60m sump pool. A large passage leading back from the sump disappointingly turned out to be an oxbow, rather than another inlet, but some spectacular formations were discovered, including an impressive pagoda formation. A bypass to the sump remains elusive. The expected resurgence of the system is from a cave called Ochochpec, on the other side of the mountain. A day's trip and ultra fast line survey, using SWCC's new DistoX places the terminal sump in Ochochpec at 390m from the sump in the Pueblo Creek system.

See Nicky's video of the Expedition Part 1 Part 2

Village huts Toby's birthday

Elsewhere in Pueblo Creek an unexplored inlet from the 2008 trip was explored for another 700m, splitting again along a second inlet, but both routes ending in sumps, one a possible short free dive, the other a gloomy looking affair. In addition a rumoured second entrance, bypassing the 15m pitch near the entrance, was discovered and surveyed. The final total length of Pueblo Creek now stands at approx. 3.8km.

Maxine in Pueblo Creek . . . with The Pagoda Flowstone

Tiger Cave was revisited and on the very first day of the expedition a new second entrance was discovered, dropping into the 'Roaring River' section of the cave. High water levels for the duration of the expedition meant the through trip has still not been completed!

Following up on a lead from the original 1980's explorers of the cave, a pit on one side of the cave was dropped. The limit of previous exploration was a pool at the base of the pitch. Not expecting much, at first, the cave surprised us revealing another 500m of cave along a second streamway. Most leads here ended in sumps but one very muddy lead ended at a constricted crawl with the sound of a lot of bats in the distance, possibly signifying another way into this area of the cave.

Tiger cave has now been explored and surveyed for over 5km, placing it as the second longest cave in the Toledo district.

Phil in Tiger Cave Aguacate Creek

Lagonita cave was explored for a further 500m and a potential new cave was discovered nearby. "Ramones cave", as it is currently called by the local guide appears to have had some exploration in the early part of the cave, but a way on was found that remains unexplored.
A return is tentatively planned for 2012, although this is likely to be in a different and more remote area, deeper into the jungle.

The 2010 team was:
Phil Walker, Alan Braybrooke, Toby Dryden, Nicky Bayley, Brendan Marris, Clair Samson, Maxine Bateman, Russ Brooks (BPC) and Rich Hudson (YSS).

SWCC in Belize now has its own website!