Two years ago when we were here we tried to stop and see the Hamilton cave but they were closed. This time we called and made sure we could get a tour.
The cave is owned by a quiet but super sweet and funny gentleman named Leonard Cartwright. The cave has been his family’s since they bought the land from the British in the 1840’s. He now guides interested people on tours to see the cave.
Once just a cool place to explore as a child, Leonard said that he and his friends used to swing from the vines that hung from the ceiling. Later, he would collect the bat droppings and sell buckets of the stuff as fertilizer. He noted that there are lots of bats in the summer, but not so many in the winter. We did see a few tiny bats when we were there. He pointed out 3 different species of bats. The largest was the size of a mouse, and the smallest was about the size of your thumb-tip. Very interesting.
The Hamilton cave was very clean I thought. There are many areas where the ceiling of the cave opens to the floor of the forest canopy above letting in light and natural ventilation. The cave has its dark spots, but there are areas of natural light also. Leonard has created a beautiful garden down here where light and natural rainfall allows. He says that some of the island people still congregate here during hurricanes, something that people here probably have been doing as long as they’ve known about this place.
The Lucayan Indians had inhabited this area and the cave as early as 500 CE. Leonard showed us some of the bones and pottery shards that he has found over the years. I wouldn’t say that the cave was “Pristine”, but for a privately owned cave there was no graffiti, the natural stalagmites and stalactites seem untouched and still actively building, and I think he’s done an excellent job of keeping it as natural as could be expected while still allowing others to see it.
We forgot to ask about how it got it’s name, something I could probably find on Google, but we enjoyed seeing the cave and would recommend to anyone passing by this way.