Cueva Catedral is a very large (but not very long) cave in western Puerto Rico, which has a couple of skylights in the roof. At certain times of the day, rays of light will come through these skylights giving this cave the appearance of a cathedral––hence its name. The cavern appears to have been connected to Sistema Rio Camuy at some point, due to its grandeur, but it is now entirely a ‘dry’ cave.
Ashlee and I decided to bring our little dog Chicken along. In past experiences we have found that Chicken does NOT share our enthusiasm for caving. She either dislikes the darkness, the strange cacophonous sounds, or perhaps adventure in general. But she loves to run on trails and I figured this cave would be big enough, and bright enough, to not completely dissuade her from entering.
We had attempted to find Catedral with Sociedad Espeleológica de Puerto Rico (SEPRI) once before. During that search, eight experienced cavers (a few of those had visited the cave before) had thrashed through the jungle for over an hour and hadn’t found the entrance. But we heard SEPRI had returned for a second attempt, this time with GPS, and we hoped to follow their fresh trail.
We were surprised to find that during our first reconnaissance, we had missed the cave entrance by a mere ten-feet. Yes, ten-feet––another testament to how thick the jungle is here.
Cueva Catedral was impressive with its seven-foot long stalactites hanging like gnarled fangs. This was indeed Chicken’s favorite cave. She ran at top speed between Ashlee and me whenever I stopped to take pictures. The bat guano occasionally got stuck between her toes and we had to help her remove it, but other then that, she had a grand ol’ time. And so did we.
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The second search-and-rescue trip that SEPRI took to find the cave was led by Dr. Carlos Conde, who knew very well the trail, thanks to previous investigations.