Tag Archives: bonaire

Wet Caves of Bonaire: Faroa Cave

Faroa Cave is a special cave for sure. There are several reasons that reinforce this sense of uniqueness.
First, its remote location and really tricky access, with rough seas, no proper sea access points and severe restricted passages, had kept this cave hidden and unknown to the world.
Secondly, it treasures a few wonders in its entrails.

Faroa Cave has the honor to be the most important turtle cemetery of the island so far. There might be other undiscovered caves, but this one contains an invaluable amount of remains, including several gigantic and well preserved turtle skulls that rise many questions about their age.
The only current access to the cave is a tight no-mount restriction, way too narrow for a turtle that size to swim in. How did they get inside then? The most logical explanation is that there used to be another entrance that eventually collapsed. Collapses most likely happen when the caves are dry, in this case, several thousands years ago. Could that be that these skeletons are ancient? We don’t know.

The cave has also revealed unexpected surprises, like a species of brotula that have not been sighted in Bonaire before, and apparently seldom reported around the Antilles too.

Survey has not been completed yet. A temporary line has been set by CARIBSS members in order to ease the access and survey of the cave’s features.

*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 and their own safety.

Wet Caves of Bonaire: Pos di Wajaka

If you ever heard somebody saying that Bonaire is like a “Gruyere cheese”, you better believe it!

Most of the island is limestone, a soft sedimentary rock that is easily weathered by water courses. Rainfall, underground water and the sea itself can dig through it, creating a variety of geological formations and karst landscapes.

Pos di Wajaka is the biggest known inland wet cave there is in Bonaire (but not the longest). It was formed by a long dissolution process that shaped the limestone into a system of caves. These underground vaults eventually collapsed, widening the cave until it reached the surface, thus creating an entrance.

This is also the deepest known wet cave of Bonaire, with -38 meters at its deepest point.

Although its existence was known by geologists and topographists in the beginning of the 20th century, the cave remained unexplored and undocumented until  the 80s, when a the first team of cave divers  performed the first dives.

Other exploration teams followed ever since, making the first rough maps and  laying the exploration line that we can still see today. The cave is explored in its majority, with the exception of a couple of deep and very dangerous galleries.

Three layers of water are clearly noticeable: the first layer is fresh water, rich in tannic acid (0-6 meters approx.), followed by a thick layer of brackish water and hydrogen sulfide acid (6-12 meters approx.). The last layer (12-38 meters approx.) is essentially salt water. These layers can change after a rainy season.

The cave displays very spectacular but fragile decoration (except for the deeper sections) and serves as one of the few natural water wells for the animals that live in the area. Visitors might disrupt their behavior and deny the access to this precious water source.

*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 and their own safety.


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.

Wet caves of Bonaire: Pos di Urugyan di Zuid

Pos di Urugyan di Zuid, also known as Pos di Kalbas or “The Mailbox” is one of the most extense cave systems in the island.

This is one of the best known wet caves in Bonaire. It has been dived extensively through the years, in many occasions with no proper training or equipment, causing irreparable damage to the cave formations.

Although it has been almost fully explored and mapped in the past by Pamela Werdath and Malin Kaijser (both members of CARIBSS), there are no good recent shots of this cave.

One of the goals of the Wet Cave Exploration Project regarding this cave is to document the most remarkable features contained in it and the damage caused to them in the past.
We hope, by our activity, to create awareness about the delicate situation of our underground cave systems and to preserve them for the generations to come.

*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.


Photographer: Lars Bosman

Model: Yago Rodriguez