Vrdovo plateau and Vodena peća cave

I have never been to Vrdovo before. This part of hinterland I am not very familiar with and I am enjoying every opportunity to explore it. Few days before Christmas, we were invited to go searching for some newly discovered caves. This is a relative term as most of the caves have been “discovered” a while back but most of them were known only to the local cattle herders and never explored. There is one very interesting story in development focusing on one of the pits on Vrdovo but more on it when it happens.

Kamešnica mountain seen from Vrdovo
Kamešnica mountain seen from Vrdovo

In short, Vrdovo is a mountain plateau between Kamešnica and Dinara and just below Vještića  hill (Witches’ hill) in Hercegovina. Very barren and rocky, it was always serving just as a pasture with few patches of fertile land. Numerous old stone huts still serve as evidence of once difficult life as most of the cattle herders are now gone…

“Here – There” sign

As our search for caves was not producing any results, we decided to visit a well known and explored Vodena peća cave closer to Sinj. Passing the “Here – There ” sign, we continued driving through the hillside on the well maintained dirt road. From the west, the fist signs of now infamous storm “Ines” were approaching with temperature dropping fast…

The storm approaching with sunset
The storm approaching with sunset

Even though the forecast was quite bad and with numerous warnings, the next day, a group of friends decided to visit Vrdovo in the snow not taking the warnings seriously. It almost costed them their lives as the rescue team had serious difficulty reaching them. Nature is not to be taken lightly…

And we soon reached Vodena peća cave.  Another well hidden entrance!

Vodena peća entrance
Vodena peća entrance

The name implies it is full of water but we did not encounter anything serious. However, the cave is just beautiful masterpiece of water!

Inside the cave
Inside the cave

The main canal is fairly long – about 100 or so meters. It is big and spacious for nearly the entire length and it filled with both stalactites and stalagmites and all sorts of decorations.

Colors of the underground
Colors of the underground
Stone
“Raining”
The grand interior of the main canal
The grand interior of the main canal

And there is another canal of the this beautiful cave. Not as attractive for general public as it is one scary, 80 meters deep straight pit! We entered the first section of the second canal just to see what it looks like but it is much demanding than the main canal. The second canal is for serious cavers only!

And for bats.

Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)
Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)

There are only few sleeping through the winter hanging from the cave ceiling. I think this is Veliki potkovnjak or Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) in English but please correct me if I am wrong. Out of nearly 1150 different species of bats in the World, there are 52 in Croatia and 35 are under strict protection. There are 5000 + species of mammals on planet Earthy and one fifth are bats! While in the past, the house that was visited by a bat was a blessed one, recently, due to modern day education and influence of vampire movies, bats are considered “scary and dangerous”. Far from that, they are one of the very important parts of every eco system.
One of the greatest threat to these fragile creatures is posed by the wind turbines and it is estimated, in Germany, that in the past 10 years, over 2 mil bats have been killed …

Hibernating ...
Hibernating …

Nature should just be admired and left alone.

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