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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Own a piece of the rock!

("Camo" in Kipuka Kanohina - photo by D. Coons)

The time is approaching again, but never quickly enough, for my annual sojourn to the Big Island of Hawaii. One of the best things (to me) about going there is the caving.

Caving, to be technical, is what we who engage in the activity call spelunking...but in the close-knit caving community the technical term is used with disdain, as in:
"Cavers rescue spelunkers".

I have acquired a property in a desert region on the Big Island, with two entrances into the second largest lava tube type cave in the world...the Kipuka Kanohina System.

The largest lava tube type system is also on the Big Island, and is called Kazumura Cave; I've been there, too.

Due to my involvement in the exploration, survey and preservation of the Hawaiian cave systems, I was elected to the Board of The Cave Conservancy of Hawaii:

"The Cave Conservancy of Hawaii is dedicated to the conservation, study, and management of caves in Hawai`i. The CCH combines the resources of cave explorers, educators, scientists, landowners, and conservation experts to save this unique - and important - environment."
Cave Conservancy of Hawaii

My friend and fellow CCH Board member Ric Elhard is a full time resident of the Big Island, and the owner/operator of a commercialized part of the system. As his website proclaims:
"Come, take a walk into the largest mountain on earth."
(Mauna Loa, in which the Kipuka Kanohina System is located, is the largest mountain on earth by mass)
Kula Kai Caverns website

I'm also on the Board of my local cave club:

"The Philadelphia Grotto is a caving club that was chartered in 1947 as a chapter of the National Speleological Society. We are dedicated to cave conservation, exploration, education, and research."
The Philadelphia Grotto

Additionally, I'm a member of the National Speleological Society:

"With over 12,000 members and 200 grottos, the National Speleological Society does more than any other organization to study, explore, and conserve cave and karst resources; protect access to caves; encourage responsible management of caves and their unique environments; and promote responsible caving."
National Speleological Society

For those who may be interested in this subject, the links posted above are an excellent place to start your exploration, be it virtual or real...


Blogger Nightwalker said...

So, Jack, can I carry your pack for you?


September 21, 2005 3:38 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Thanks, but that won't be necessary; if you can come to someplace I'm going caving, e-mail me.

FYI, I may be doing it in Tennessee for Thanksgiving Weekend...

September 21, 2005 3:56 PM  
Blogger The trotting Possum said...

I've been in one of those caves, Jack. I have a phobia of confined spaces that reaches the outer limits of hysteria. You have fun doing something I couldn't be made to repeat at gunpoint. Be careful!

The blackness, though, when the flashlights were turned off, was perfect.

September 21, 2005 4:42 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

The region in which you reside is one of the most caverniferous in the world...

September 21, 2005 4:47 PM  
Blogger JR said...

Caves are cool, except for the ones that house bats...

What is that vain of purple???

September 21, 2005 5:14 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Been in a few caves myself... but not without a guide, thank you. Most memorable was Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Very tame by your standards, but that's about as far I go.

September 21, 2005 6:38 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Bats are our friends! They eat mosquitos and such...the just get a lot of bad press, especially in (bad) movies.

If you've been to Carlsbad, you were at the place where the largest subterranean chamber in the U.S. is located. I've been in the second largest, which you can see pictures of in the in Tennessee link above.
(Or herein...)

September 21, 2005 7:35 PM  
Blogger mig said...

I took the kids to Mammoth Caves four summers ago, we loved it! It was our first and it won't be our last. Camo you continue to amaze me.

September 21, 2005 9:25 PM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Hey Jack-I want to go with you next year. I mean it. Love ya guy! Marsha

September 21, 2005 9:58 PM  
Blogger JannyMae said...

Wow! Those look like some very interesting caves! My hubby and I are going on a cruise to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. I wish we had time to devote to exploring all of those caves. We are taking one tour that includes some cave exploration, but probably NOTHING LIKE what you have done, CamoJack.

September 21, 2005 11:12 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Mammoth Cave is quite impressive; I've been there too, of course.

It's a very significant cave system, the most extensive on the planet.

The more, the merrier...I'll keep you posted on my itinerary for next year.

Most people (myself included) are surprised to find out about the diversity that exists in lava tube type caves.

You'll have to let me know the schedule for your Hawaii trip. If it doesn't coincide with mine, I can put you in touch with some other folks who might be there at the time...

September 22, 2005 12:02 AM  
Blogger Kajun said...

A Caveman huh? That explains the "club" you mentioned.

September 22, 2005 2:37 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Right. Just call me Alley Oop. :-)

September 22, 2005 4:34 PM  
Blogger Pat'sRick© said...

Cool photos. Great sites. Might try it one day.

September 25, 2005 1:23 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

I'm don't know your precise location in 'Bama, but the N.S.S. is headquartered there, in Huntsville.

The T.A.G. region, as we call it (TN-AL-GA), is one of the most caverniferous in the world...so you're in a great place to try it someday.

September 25, 2005 10:05 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Never been in a cave before, not sure if I'd like it. The Injun Joe factor, donchaknow.

Pictures are beautiful. Ain't God's World Great?

September 26, 2005 5:13 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

I've often said that He does some of His best work underground...

September 26, 2005 5:46 PM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

Very neat indeed!
You wouldn't catch me dead in a cave. As a matter of fact the only time I plan on being underground is when I am DEAD! claus·tro·pho·bia I'll admit it.
Cool pics though, I'll enjoy from above.
Ever come across artifacts or anything extraordinary?

September 27, 2005 9:14 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Libby Gone™:
Because the Kipuka Kanohina System is in a desert region, the ancient Hawaiians used it as a source of water gathering. They would place gourd "cradles" made of lava rock in spots where water dripped, in order to catch it. Many gourd "cradles" have been noted, and on rare occasions, old gourds or fragments thereof. There have also been old torches and other things found, too.

September 27, 2005 5:30 PM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

Awesome. The only thing even nearly close i pictographs up here in Mitch Chee Gons Thumb. Don't have to go under ground. Nobody is sure who made them. In Escanaba, my wifes hometown, there are stories of finds very unusual. Some think Vikings made it this far inland. I have a small library of local books which I plan on to share as I dig them out of the "old" train room.

September 27, 2005 9:13 PM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

native language?
love word verification.

September 27, 2005 9:15 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Libby Gone™:
Pictographs? The ones in Hawaii are called petroglyphs...

September 28, 2005 1:02 AM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

That's the official name of the ones in Sanilac County, Michigans Thumb. For some reason my books refer to them as pictographs. No one is sure who made them. They were discovered after the fires wiped out the Thumb in 1881.

September 28, 2005 8:45 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Libby Gone™:
Pictographs is as good a word as any; it's more inclusive than petroglyphs, which have to be etched in stone to qualify for the term.

September 28, 2005 5:51 PM  

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