Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gruta Azul (Blue Cave) Lencois, Brasil

Great views were had from atop this mountain outside of Lencois
Just at the entrance of the Gruta Azul I saw this fellow who was actually the side of a volley ball, Thankfully I was bigger than him because I think he was sizing me up for dinner.

Gruta Azul, I donned my mask and flippers and entered the cave for a swim with the fish.

Looking out to the light from about 100 meters within the cave.

A pretty flower that was common along the river walk to the Devils Pool.

After yesterday afternoons disaster of adventure I decided to go into an official tour guide office and book a one day tour to see a couple of sights in the area. I managed to tag along with a couple from Germany named Erik and Barbara. The guide picked me up at the Pousasa on time at 830am and the 4 of us headed out of town in the smallest little car that Ive ever been in. It was a tiny Fiat and Erik and I were way too tall to be crammed into this thing. Nonetheless we still trundled off with visions of a great day.

The first order of the day was to visit a beautiful waterfall and river at a famous pool called the Devils pool. Apparently back in the 19th century slaves were used to construct aquaducts that channeled water to areas that diamond miners worked at and used the water to wash the rock in search of diamonds. Devils pool was given its name because of the amount of slaves that died in the process of trying to divert water from the river and from diving to great depths in the pool to locate diamond containing rock. The pool is a natural place for diamonds to accumulate due to the current and abrasion of swirriling rocks and sand. The Devils Pool nowadays is a great place for all people to come and visit and to swim in the beauty of the surrounding cliffs and river valley.

Off we went to check out a cave. I really had no clue where we were going as the agency simply showed me a few snap shots of where the tour lead. We headed along a huge cliff along a river escarpment and descended into a river valley 60 meters below. The cliff walls were redish brown in color and were composed of many striations as this area was once under the sea. Around the next bend we saw the mouth of the cave. This was a huge dry cavernous cave through the earth with an entrance and an exit at either end of the cave. Id say that the roof was a solid 40 feet high and 80 feet wide. The stone in the area was composed of Calcium carbonate limestone and once upon a time a river had flowed through the earth at this site and carved this huge beautiful cave.

Inside there were many interesting geological features including stalactites and stalagmites, and deep rimmed pools formed by precipitating calcium carbonate. The cave was an 840 meter long walk and was most impressive just based on its size. Continuing onward with caves we headed off to cave #2, the Gruta Azul (Blue Cave). Here the water was crystal clear and vibrant blue from the mineral deposits on the bottom as well as the minerals that were in solution. We donned swim fins and snorkle gear and were allowed to enter the cave. Again, as with Bonito, we were not allowed to let our feet touch the bottom so as to prevent stirring up sediment. Venturing into the watery depths of the cave was an experience in itself. The darkness quicky took over and the guide handed out waterproof flashlights from his rubber dingy. This allowed us to kinda see where we were going but I think the point of the swim in was to experience swimming into a dark cave. The swim back out was better as our eyes had adjusted to the darkness and alot of fish were visible that ranged from minnows to about 15 cm.

The trip was not yet over and we took off in the Fiat to a mountain range where we drove most of the way up a mountain and then hiked up a pretty easy trail to the summit from there. After yesterdays experience with Ameoba I wasnt complaining too much about the difficulty of the hike. The scenic vista from the top of the mountain was very beautiful and we gathered there for the better part of 45 minutes to watch the sunset. (Although it was overcast and we could only tell that the sun had set because it got a little bit darker).

The day was much more successful than yesterday and I felt pretty good about doing something in an adventure based town like Lencois. I figure that I could almost move here and enjoy the natural beauty of this 105 sq Km national park and surrounding natural protected areas with the thousands of caves and hundreds of hiking trails all of which were pretty much deserted.

Tomorrow I head my way to Salvador and then about a 145 km north from there to find a smaller beach town on the coast.

1 comment:

  1. glad you found a real guide and survived the previous outings. what an adventure and oh the stories you'll be able to tell for many years.