Party: Quagger and I

After a late game of cards, it wasn’t particularly early by the time I arrived in Port Alberni. Some packing ensued and soon we were on our way out towards Bamfield. Not only would we be surveying two caves, the day was also going to be a kind of test run for the Disto and PDA Quagger had just purchased. I had been surprised that cavers on the island were still using tape measures/string + compass and Sunto… I mentioned the Disto to Quagger and before I knew it he had one, and not only that, he had also gone paperless and got a PDA. The Disto and PDA could connect via Bluetooth and the legs/radials could be sent straight to the PDA.

We were soon at the entrance to Hagsinhole. It wasn’t a particularly pretty cave – and neither was Bullshit. But that is exactly what we needed for our first survey trip using the new equipment.

For the first cave, I sketched the cave on the PDA and Quagger manned the Disto. Here is the draft survey we obtained.


Heading back up the road we were soon at the next cave. I went into a culvert and noticed that there was a gap between the two pipes… between them the road had eroded away leaving a large room several metres wide. It must be just under the surface of the road. Hopefully it doesn’t collapse; it look like it would have been large enough to swallow a car!

This time I manned the Disto and Quagger did the sketching. This cave was a little trickier to sketch as there were several passages that broke off from the main thoroughfare often at different levels. The different colours cave in handy there.

Spotting some leaves, I poked my head into a hole and found daylight. We continued the survey a bit further (ending at a possible lead that ended in some dangerous rock) and then did a surface connection with the small daylight hole.

We scouted on the surface for a while, but couldn’t find anything of interest.


When we got back to the house I installed PocketTopo on my laptop and tried to open the surveys. Bullshit = OK, Hagsinhole = No Dice… what was wrong? I spent many hours trying to work it out. I learnt that you shouldn’t have the .topo files stored in the same directory as PocketTopo will intepret every .topo file as the same cave… we moved the files around, but that wasn’t the problem.

The solution only cave several days later after surveying another cave. The answer was annoying, but simple. You couldn’t double click files to open them. You had to use the menu to File -> Open, otherwise PocketTopo would display the last file to be opened. Yay! I was very happy when I found that out. I thought we’d have to redo Hagsinhole.