Posts Tagged ‘cave shrimps’

The 3rd Casili Spring Exploration was conducted on September 21, 2011.

Doc and Bernil

On this trip, we managed to get more information on the topography of the area and the depth of the MAD Sanctum Canyon.

We were also joined by 2 representatives from the Aquatic Cebu Enthusiasts (ACE), Niel Jarina and Lerch Ylaya, who were there to document, identify and take sample specimens endemic in the spring. They were endorsed to us by Joey Gatus of the University of San Carlos- Marine Biology Dept. [photo credits for the surface and fauna images go to Niel Jarina, using a Canon EOS 60D]

Niel checking his shots…

Lerch transporting specimens…

A fine specimen of a fresh water shrimp locally called “Uwang”.


Their documentation work will be of great value towards future conservation efforts for Casili’s underwater species.

No-mounting towards Uwang Drop and into the MAD Gate.

It is no easy task to don and doff your twin tanks in a dark, confined and silty area but we had to try.

We swam to the Uwang Drop holding our harness and pushing our twin tanks ahead of us.  Dropping into the MAD Gate, we moved through the old tire (its a Goodyear, if you must know) . Getting our units through was fine but then the big rock very close to the entrance of Snake Crawl required us to make a 45degree turn to the right as soon as we had our body half-way in the steel-belted rubber obstacle framing the entrance.

Since we cannot afford positive buoyancy due to the constricted head room,  it was a heavy job negotiating the tunnel down to the start of the muddy bottom.

Looking for an "uwang" specimen.

Looking for an “uwang” specimen.

Doc was leading this dive so I focused my lights on him as he donned his twins. It was a silty affair but he was successful, after which I followed suit.

With our units on, we established neutral buoyancy and floated off the bottom where the visibility then became clear and we could see the blackness of the canyon that lay before us. We shined our lights on and followed the line we laid on our last visit. At 22 meters depth, it was tied off to the side of the wall and Doc took out another reel to extend the line.

The MAD Sanctum Canyon brought us down to 30.5 meters. The bottom is muddy and is on a very slight slope. There is still more distance to be covered but we reached our turn-around pressure and we headed back after laying down a line 15meters long extending our previous line up to 40 meters.

Heading back up, minding our ascent rate and deep stops,  I was astounded by the realization that  the Casili Spring is currently the deepest freshwater cave system discovered and dived in Cebu. And there is still more depth and length to explore…WOW!

We got back to 14 meters and Doc gestured me to go ahead, I slipped off my harness and tanks and moved back up through the Snake Crawl constriction. Pausing to wait for Doc outside the MAD Gate, I felt eyes watching me. I turned to my left and saw the black beady eyes of a fine-looking, good sized freshwater shrimp specimen. Perched on a log, the shrimp flicked its antenna at me as if to say, ” Howdy dude –welcome to my world”. Cool!

Back at the shallows of the Casili Spring pool, we spent the rest of the afternoon assisting the ACE guys with their specimen collection and photo documentation.

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We will go back soon to extend the line and to explore the unknown ceiling height and the distance of the canyon walls. We will also be presenting our report to the site owner and to the Local Government officials so that they will be informed and then they can start to appreciate how special Casili Spring is.

Revised Casili Spring Profile View

Revised Casili Spring Profile View

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