Wet Caves of Bonaire: Morla’s Cave

Bonaire, being an island composed mainly of limestone rocks, shows a number of geological formations, caverns, karst ridges and caves among others. There is a number of reports and surveys of  the inland caves that can be found across the island, but there is little information about the undersea geological formations. This is mainly due the extremely complicated, and often dangerous, conditions of the water. Rough seas, high waves, surf and lack of sea access points or infrastructure makes regular surveys almost infeasible.
Specific equipment and formed professionals (such as cave and technical divers) are required as well, adding more obstacles towards the achievement of a consistent exploration endeavour.
Because this, the sea caves and caverns remain mostly unexplored, and definitely, undocumented.

Morla’s Cave is one of the most spectacular examples of what our waters hold. First documented by CARIBSS members, this huge cavern contains wonders that are unique to the island. Originally carved into the limestone walls when the sea level was lower, thousands of years ago, this cavern remained untouched for hundreds of years, telling us a story that can reveal how our island looked like long time ago.

The huge dome inside shows signs of former collapses, big boulders have fallen from the ceiling, widening the already huge space. We can tell that the cave was at least partially dry once, according to the flowstone formations carved onto some of the biggest boulders, most likely originated by the dripping water coming from the surf.

But there are more wonders inside. The cave is a huge turtle cementery. Ancient and modern turtles might have entered in the cave, lost direction and eventually drowned inside of it. The proof is the great amount of bones, including big skulls, that can be found littering the bottom. One particular big, and almost complete skeleton catches our eye, giving the name to the cave (Morla, the ancient turtle from “The Neverending story” book, by Michael Ende).

The natural relevance of these remains is yet to be clarified. Some of the bones seem modern, some other show clear signs of fossilization, and some other might be still buried in the sand. These remains are under research and may not be disturbed or loot in any way.

Other unexpected inhabitants can be seen, like lobsters, shrimps and brotulas.

CARIBSS divers have also laid a survey line in order to help with further research.

Pictures: Lars Bosman (misspelled in the pics) & Alejandro Gutierrez

Model: Yago Rodriguez

*PLEASE note that these caves are not “open” to the general public. Further survey and research should be done, and visitors can severely compromise this process.