Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Galapagos

Wearing elaborate and expensive diving equipment, cave diver Brian Kakuk sinks gently below the potentially poisonous hydrogen-sulfide zone of an Abaco blue hole. Below this level, where fresh and salt water meet, darkness closes in and only the beam from his powerful torchlight illuminates the mysteries of a long ago world.

Kakuk has spent innumerable hours in this dark, delicate underwater sphere known as the Sawmill Sink, a blue hole south of Marsh Harbour, where extraordinary discoveries have been made of remarkably intact and diverse animal fossils.

They include specimens of an extinct and previously unknown tortoise; 38 skeletons of Cuban crocodiles; an unknown flightless shorebird; an extinct falcon, Bahamas Caracara; and remains of present-day species, many of which are no longer found on Abaco, including the hutia, a rodent still living on a few cays in the central and southern Bahamas.

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