BURIED TREASURE: ABACO’S ASTOUNDING UNDERGROUND CAVES
Over the years I have posted a number of times about the extraordinary and beautiful underground caves of Abaco that lie beneath the thousands of acres of pine forest that cover much of South Abaco.
I have previously featured sets of wonderful photos taken Abaco’s renowned cave-diving expert Brian Kakuk; and also some by his diving colleague Hitoshi Miho (in conjunction with the Bahamas Caves Research Foundation). Here are a few more from Brian and Hitoshi to wonder at.
The existence of the caves is not exactly secret but for obvious reasons they are not freely accessible except with permission, with expert guidance and with extreme care. Exploration of the complex systems is definitely not to be approached like a snorkelling dip.
The dives are challenging, and require specialist skills and equipment to avoid risking damage to the delicate centuries-old structures. And there’s undoubtedly a personal safety aspect to be considered as well.
The main caving area on Abaco is about 1/2 hour’s drove south of Marsh Harbour. Within a now-protected area lie the 2 main cave systems (Ralph’s and Dan’s); Nancy’s; and the well-known SAWMILL SINK, where it is possible to swim.
There are other cave systems on Abaco, not least at Hole-in-the-Wall where the descriptively-named ‘8-Mile Cave’ presents further challenges that include the drive down 15 miles of rough track (and of course back again). For an old account of this epic journey, see HERE.
Next time your are driving along the Ernest A. Dean Highway with the pine forest stretching out on either side of the road, give a thought to the caves that lie just off your route – or even (for all you know) deep down right under your wheels.
Credits: Hitoshi Miho, Brian Kakuk, Bahamas Caves Research Foundation, with many thanks as ever for use permission; A. Walker (8-Mile Cave map_