Monday, July 12, 2010

Fun Guys: Beehive Cave

Fun Guys: RC, Laurina & Niko

The Fun Guys had another chance to go on a hike and explore more caves. This time, we headed to Marpi Village to what are called the Beehive Caves.
It was only my second time there and the first was with Laurina and DJ last year. I think there are about 4 caves in a system of natural limestone caverns. They were utilized by both the ancient Chamorros and in more recent history, as shelters during WWII.
Cave I
Cave 1 has an actual beehive at the top of its cliff face. I am not sure if this is why they were named so or if it is because of the network of caves that reminded someone of a beehive. Since Laurina and I got stung by paper wasps the first time we went there, I also wondered if that was a common occurrence and if people mistook them for bees. It's a mystery. The entrance to Cave 1 is somewhat hidden in the picture below, but it is to the left of RC.RC and a big column speleothem (cave formation). Limestone is porous and allows water to seep through. Calcite and aragonite dissolves and get deposited, building up over time into stalactites and stalagmites. A column forms when the deposit on the roof cave meets the deposited material on the cave floor.
Niko looks a little worried here but we had a good time exploring the 1st deep and dark cave.
We didn't have proper lights but you can see the stalactites hanging on the cave roof in the picture below. The lot of them were damaged indicating how fragile some of these structures are to disturbances. Pretty major disturbances as you can imagine are earthquakes and the fighting in WWII.
Here are some broken columns that were pretty huge. It looks like enough time has passed and enough minerals deposited that they are fairly glued and have become a part of the cave floor.
Beautiful crystal stalagmites.
RC replacing a broken column.
The patterns in nature are quite beautiful!
Niko noted the different layers of minerals in the cross section of a broken column. It reminded him of petrified wood.
There is some sunshine from outside but mostly at the entrance. Inside can be quite disorienting especially in the total absence of light and muffled sounds.
Cave II
Larina opted to stay outside the caves. We were getting ready to go into the second cave.
Fun guy Niko- he partied quite a bit the night before and almost did not make it to the hike! Good thing Laurina was able to convince him!
Fun Guy RC- Notice the zories (slippers or flip flops) on this guy and imagine going through jagged or slippery rocks. I swear this is how he likes to hike. We have to come up with a nickname for RC.
Beautiful flowing patters on a flowstone.
The darkness was amazing. The unknown was exhilarating. RC led us to a part of the cave I missed the first time.
This was a nice looking column in Cave II.

Artifacts- we found a lot of old rusted out cans, most seemed as if hastily opened.
There were also a lot of empty bottles. Post war offering to the departed? Probably.
There were a lot more tunnels that we did not have time to explore.
There were speleothems called draperies too that look like tattered curtains.
These were awesome looking flowstones that were as high as the cave roof.
Niko said they reminded him of corals. Kind of cool since corals are made out of the same stuff- CaCO3!
Inspecting the rocks more closely.
Lots of formations here.
You can see the Fun Guys sweating here since it was quite humid inside.
Cave IV
We followed the marked trail through the secondary and limestone forest and found what I believe is Cave 4. On our first trip here, Laurina, DJ and I did not follow the trail far enough and missed this cave.

Here is Niko with an artillery fragment. There was also an unexploded grenade close to the opening. Do not pick any of the unexploded ordinances up because they can go off without warning given their deteriorated state.
Here's a gorgeous flowstone in Cave 4.
Entering Cave 4. We still had energy but decided to eat our lunch in the open air room close to the entrance.
Ficus prolixa or Pacific Banyan tree roots from above the cave roof.
These banyans or fig trees are the tronkon nunu to the local Chamorros who believe that the spirits of their ancestors, the taotamonas ("people of before") lives in them. In Tagalog, ninuno or nuno means "forefather" which is another link n the two languages.
There are some dramatic lighting in the nook and crannies of the caverns!
There were lots of WWII artifacts and some from offerings to the departed. We found bottles, cans, ceramics (Chamorro and Japanese), pans and even some wooden saki (Japanese rice wine) buckets.
"Jane" is waiting for her Tarzan.
Unexploded 6 inch heavy artillery shell in Cave 4 that has probably been in the jungle for 66 years. Again: DO NOT TOUCH!

After Cave 4, we got lost for a little bit in the jungle wanting to circumvent the trek back into the entrance of the cave. We rounded a bit too far from where I thought the main entrance was and lost all of the trail markers. It was really hot and humid that I needed to take frequent brakes and lots of cool water to drink. We ended up back tracking to the exit hole and found the trail markers again. Man, that was quite a tiring experience finding the right way out! Thanks, Niko, RC and Laurina! See you later, Fun Guys!

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber


Mai said...

SWEET!!! Take me at Christmas??

The Beachcomber said...

Shoots! Can't wait!

Ken & Crystal Pierson said...

whoa, cool hike! Where was it?

The Beachcomber said...

At Marpi. Easy to find. Easy to get lost! We'll have to schedule a group hike!

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Marizel Hiponia said...

Is cave 4 a hike after the honeycomb cave or cave 1? Do you have to go back out and hike the trail further ?

Marizel Hiponia said...

Is cave 4 a hike after the honeycomb cave or cave 1? Do you have to go back out and hike the trail further ?

The Beachcomber said...

Marizel - sorry, no comment for a long time. I call Honeycomb cave 1 because it is the most immediate from the trail - then it's just following the trail to the other ones. I've been there once last year (?) and the trails are now poorly marked - storms and all.

All, please do not damage, vandalize or litter the caves. There was an article a year ago about people spray painting in the caves and breaking the natural structures. Please respect these areas as part of our island's history that should be preserved and protected.