Inside the walls of the cave it was pitch black. Light didn’t come in as far as we could walk and if we hadn’t had the mobile phone flash lights complete darkness would have surrounded us. Engulfed us. Eaten us alive.
However in the light of our phones the walls of the cave where beautiful. Stalagmites rose from the floor like a city made of stone and water.
Stalactites hung from the ceiling , some almost reaching the ground after millions of years worth of calc was deposited there drop for drop. Others where hardly ten centimetres long, and yet much older then the three of us combined.
And the bats. Oh, the bats. Hanging in masses from the ceilings. Little black dots is all they looked like but really they where so much more. It’s almost unimaginable that something so small could be so complex of an animal. Blind, and yet able to snatch an insect out of the air mid flight, never crashing into one another or the complicated interior of the cave. It’s difficult not to feel inferior when looking up at millions of such amazing creatures.
We also encountered other animals. Hundreds of cricket like creatures, which I didn’t recognise, jumped around the muddy cave floor, sometimes colliding with our legs. And on one of the wider stalagmites sat a Huntsman, her eight legs reaching out to a size as big as my hand.
I can only speak for myself, but what I’d expected to find after wondering though the cave for a while was a dead end. So when we saw the light coming from in front of us I got excited over the idea that the cave might have a second entrance from which we would emerge into the jungle in a spot completely different to that from which we started.
The truth of the matter was even more magical then I could have ever imagined. The light we’d seen came from a hole, a hole in the ceiling of a large cave chamber that was home to a small hill of mud and rock. And atop that hill was the tallest stalagmite we’d seen thus far, reaching upwards, like a tree made of stone, growing towards the sunlight that shone though the opening up above.
We must have been good that day, must have done something to deserve such an experience because the wonders didn’t end there.
Once we’d managed to climb atop the hill we saw that the chamber was much larger then it had first appeared. In fact, it was so vast that we saw no end, no walls, just darkness. It stretched out not only horizontally but also into depth, going down, down, down. And from the darkness we could hear them. The bats. More bats then we could even begin to count. In the pitch black vastness, living, dying, existing, so far from human civilisation, completely out of reach of our destruction, one of the few untouched places left on this earth.
I am beyond glad that this place exists out there and I am beyond grateful to have gotten a glimpse of it.