Barbados is awesome. Dan and I decided to see how many seriously adventurous adventures we could fit into one vacation, and to kick it off, we chose a cave hike 300 ft. below the surface in Barbados. It was a ship trip, but didn’t have the normal feel. It wasn’t crowded and moved at a pace where we could stop and enjoy the nature, wonder, and beauty around us.
A bit about me. I don’t like squirrels. Okay, I REALLY don’t like squirrels. They’re creepy, crawly, twitchy, destructive things. *shudder*. That being said, I love bats.
I think bats are one of God’s most interesting and amazing creatures. To me, bats rank up there with manatees, sea turtles, and kitty cats. Squirrels, spiders, and mosquitoes are really the only of God’s creatures I could go the rest of my life without… ever…
Anyway, my love for bats was a driving force behind booking this adventure. I figured that cave = bats. I wasn’t disappointed!
We got off the bus after a ride to the highest point on the island. We took a BEAUTIFUL hike through the jungle and learned about the many beautiful plants and creatures that call Barbados home. Our guides were friendly, patient, and fun.
After about an hour of a mildly strenuous hike, we reach the mouth of the cave.
We descended with the help of a rope and a guide. While waiting for the others to join us, I SAW MY FIRST BAT! HOORAY! There were a few fluttering around the mouth of the cave. I think the others thought I was a bit on the loony side being so enthralled with the creatures, but they really are fascinating.
Okay, the first few hundred feet of the hike was the most difficult simply because the bugs got REALLY excited to see our headlamps. After a short time, though, the bugs went away and the hike was quite nice. Yes it’s damp, musty, dark, muddy, wet, and slippery. It’s a cave. It was AWESOME. There are some great stalagmite and stalactite formations. We saw bugs of all kinds and, most importantly, BATS. I saw a few but heard THOUSANDS of them. I was thrilled!
At the end of our hike, the guide had us all stand very still and we turned off our headlamps.
I had never experienced such all-encompassing darkness before in my life. This is the first time I’ve truly understood when people say that the darkness was so think you could feel it. Your other senses really come alive and we could hear the dripping of distant water and of course, the bats, with ease. It was an absolutely amazing experience.
Okay, funny story that could have been much worse, but worth sharing. We’re standing in the PITCH dark in a foreign country, at the mercy of a tour guide. We turned off our lamps and are experiencing being in total darkness. Something hits me, FLUMP, on my shoulder. It’s a cave. I figure it’s a drip of water, or at worst, a bug that bounced off me. So I reach up to brush it off. Not only is it stuck fast to my shirt, but it’s SQUISHY! At this point, my instincts were to fling it as far from myself as possible.
I congratulated myself for keeping my cool and not screaming bloody murder at 300’. However, in the split second the unidentified squishy thing was in the air, I then thought “hmm, what if it hits someone else in, oh say, the face, and THEY freak out?” We would then have a dozen or so completely panicked people scurrying in total darkness and total chaos. Bad situation. Luckily enough, as it played out, my squishy didn’t hit anyone and I later discovered it was a large piece of clay. Nothing more. Phew.
Oh, that’s one thing to keep in mind when planning a trip to Barbados. They have LOTS of clay. It’s natural clay and quite beautiful. Many of the Barbados natives are quite skilled at pottery using this local clay. You may want to consider picking up a piece or two while you’re there. There’s a VERY nice shop with an excellent selection in the cruise ship shopping terminal. I’ll get some when I return. Yes, I WILL return to Barbados.