Jamaican Caves Organization
THE MARCH – APRIL 2004 EXPEDITION
(JCO – April 10, 2004). The Jamaican Caves Organization has recently completed another expedition.The goals were varied, and ambitious, but were all successfully met.
Under the leadership of Guy van Rentergem, four days were spent mapping the Green Grotto – Runaway Bay Cave system in assistance of the Urban Development Corporation of Jamaica. The existing survey of the tourist area of the caves, done by Guy in 2001, was extended to include the upper level of the “Wild Caves”. This task was achieved with the help of Adam Hyde, Stefan Stewart, Dietrich Roggy, Andrew Engels, and Delroy Williams. Adam, Guy, and Dietrich also explored what appear to be associated new caves in the area.
Further work was accomplished on the St James Cave Assessment project by Stefan Stewart with the help of Guy van Rentergem, Ivor Conolley, Mark Bellinger, Martel Taylor, Dietrich Roggy, Brian Murray and Dana Roeber. In particular, all seven entrances of the four Cool Garden caves, in Flamstead, were fully referenced, and valuable biological and hydrological observations were made in Cool Garden One, Three and Four. In addition, Rudist Rock Cave, Peterkin Cave, Rota Cave and Rota Sink were visited as part of the ongoing project.
The mapping and exploration of Roehampton School Cave, in St James, was pushed into new ground, revealing even greater complexity than first suspected during the August 25, 2003, discovery visit. More work remains to be done in this fine stream-passage system.
Andrea Donaldson of NEPA, and Wendy Lee of NJCA, joined several members of the JCO in a visit to Thatchfield Great Cave in St Ann. This cave, although not suited to tourism due to muddy conditions, is valuable nonetheless. It is biologically rich and relatively undisturbed; we are hopeful that this state will persist.
The Lower Streamway of Windsor Great Cave was mapped, and exploration found a narrow, on-going passage above the northern terminal sump that might result in future discoveries.
On the penultimate day of the two week expedition, Guy van Rentergem, Stefan Stewart, and Martel Taylor made a crossing of the Troy-Windsor Trail in support of a georeferencing project being conducted by Stewart. The trail is currently very bushed-up, poorly marked, and difficult to follow. The objective is to create an accurate GPS track/shape file that will assist researchers, and visitors, in avoiding the dangerous prospect of getting lost in the depths of the Cockpit Country through which this trail travels. During the course of this journey, three new caves and sinkholes were discovered, two of them off-trail in nearby cockpits, but they remain unexplored due to time constraints. Accurate GPS WGS84 positions were obtained and repeat visits will be made.
Detailed notes, maps, and data will soon begin to appear on the home site of the JCO, www.jamaicancaves.org.
The next full expedition will begin in mid-June. The St James project will continue, logistical work will be done for a future East-West Cockpit Country Transect Expedition, and we will participate in a video documentary on the caves of Jamaica. During the interim, JCO members will continue to monitor and explore the caves of Jamaica, although on a more infrequent basis.
We invite members of the media to assist us in our work by helping to gather reports of caves and sinkholes in Jamaica. This information is critically important to what we do. Any assistance that can be supplied by the posting of notices in the press, or by announcements on television or radio, would be greatly appreciated.
A Press Release will be issued in late May detailing plans and objectives for the next full session.
Ronald Stefan Stewart
JCO – Jamaican Caves Organization