Party: Quagger and I
After returning from Blak T/KFE and touching base with Jim and Jason, I drove over to Quagger’s place to make caving plans for the following day. I was happy to find both Quagger and Tawney home and caving was confirmed for the following day. Talking, looking at trip photos, walking the trails behind the house, and interacting with the animals (new turkey chicks, dogs!, etc) ensued and before I knew it it was getting late. I headed out to my van and Skyped with Dad as his birthday had just past. It took a while (a long time actually!) to get everything working but we were soon talking. As the sun set in Australia, the clock ticked past midnight in Canada and soon I had to call it a night.
The tapping on the side of my van woke me. I was awake in an instant. I’d ignored my alarm and was now short on time. Scrambling to get ready I hastily piled gear on the ground as I wolfed down cereal, most of my vertical gear was still together from the past two days. Tawney again made us both a fruit/veggie drink and we were on our way.
Taking the road out towards Banfield we turned of and headed up to one of the numerous patches of limestone on the island. Stopping at a couple of pieces of flagging tape we hopped out and after quickly checking the dolines were just off the road headed into the forest. There were three vertical entrances of varying depths; some clogged with fallen debris. Picking a line and an anchor I set about rigging whilst Quagger went to get some more gear from the car. I used a wrap-3-pull-2 on the main anchor and a basket on another using a double-figure-8 to equalise them.
Soon we were rapping into the hole. Quagger went first allowing me to get some photos and a short video of him descending. (You can see one of the other entrances in the top right).
We landed on a pile of vegetation beside a pit, light from the other entrances filtering through the entrances to either side of us. The cave branched out like fingers on a hand and we explored one branch after the other moving counter-clockwise around the entrance room. The cave wasn’t super decorated but we still found some nice calcite deposits.
Soon we found a lead heading downwards. They were fairly vertical and further searching found two more passages dropping down into the same area. One led down on an angle and dropped off. Being about a 3m drop, we decided to rig a handline, even though we probably wouldn’t have had a problem down-climbing.
Unfortunately there were no obvious ways on… slightly disappointed we headed back out (it had looked so promising!). I took some photos whilst waiting for my turn to SRT out of the cave.
We did some surface exploration, climbing down into a hole at the bottom of a doline. There were some harvestmen (pseudo)-spiders hanging from the ceiling at the back.
Continuing, we made our way down through some other depressions and soon located a tagged cave. As far as I know, its name is Firehose Cave, because the story goes that some firefighters discovered the cave whilst out on patrol. To get down the pitch near the entrance they unwound their truck’s firehouse and used it to drop into the cave. Unfortunately it was a little too short and they all ended up getting stranded. It wasn’t until they were noted as missing and their roster was checked that people went looking for them, following the hose from the fire truck.
We called it a day and following a bear before it headed up a side road, we continued back into town. After looking at photos, Tawney joined us for dinner at Teaz Me Teas, a local vegetarian restaurant.
Another fun day of caving.