Vaca-Ha in December 2008.

(click here to go to main Vaca-Ha page on this site with a lot more pictures)

Looking at the tiny pool of water in the middle of the jungle, barely big to fit two fully suited divers, one would never guess the vast expanse of the cave that stretches beyond it. When it was first explained to me where and how to find the Vaca-Ha, I went in the direction of the trail, looked at the tiny opening and thought “no way”. But I saw the line tied to the log immediately below and knew it led somewhere.

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This was my second time at Vaca-Ha and I knew what to expect. Getting into a tiny little pool of water and squeezing through minor restriction right at the entrance, I was still shocked at the size of room that followed immediately after the entrance. It was big enough to make me wish for a bigger light as my 10 watt HID had difficulties reaching the far edges.

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Decorations were everywhere, stalactites, stalagmites and everything in-between, all yellow or brown colored. The fresh water formations were interesting but they were not the reason I wanted to dive Vaca-Ha again. The reason was slightly further into the cave and slightly deeper.

The main attraction of Vaca-Ha for me were the amazing erosion passages that were formed eons ago when the underground river ate through the rock, leaving geometrically shaped ceilings and walls, channels and river banks waiving though the cave on their way to sea.

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When the caves were dry, some decorations were formed on the ceilings and walls and some right in the middle of the channels. 

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Then the water levels rose and the caves flooded, and the mixing zones between salt and fresh water ended up half way up the channels with fresh water preserving shapes and colors of the upper half and salt water eroding the bottom.

The scalloped ceilings and walls in parts were likely a result of ongoing water flow for they looked like some of the Florida caves that never been dry. Some of the geometrical formations looked like the pictures of Ressel cave in France.

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Heading towards the erosion passages, I saw the halocline right around the line and stayed closer to the ceiling to ensure that my partner behind got some visibility. However, thinking of shooting on the way back, I decided to check exactly where the halocline was to see how much space we had to do the camera work. I dropped to the haloline level and waived my hands. Immediately, I was engulfed in blurry water and cries of protest from the back soon followed. I knew at that point that shooting the channels while trying not to disturb a halocline would be challenging. Compared to halocline, shooting the mirror image with the rebreather was easy.

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Vaca-Ha is not a big cave and we swam to the end of the line in a short amount of time and then spent couple hours admiring erosion channels marveling at the shapes and colors and trying to decipher a natural puzzle of how it was formed.


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