Depth through thought

OUCC News 20th May 1992

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I had expected a quiet solo bumble in the pleasant passages of Swildon's hole when I kitted up and paid my 50p (yes, 50p now!) on Priddy Green last Sunday afternoon. Almost I escaped, but no. Fixer and boys appeared just in time to ruin my sojourn, and entice me into Passchendaele to help Tony with his dive into abandoned Moody territory (well, its worked before). A collector's piece at the very least he assured me.  Two ducks, one involving a lovely rock kiss, the other a steep grovel past some wonderful maliliary crusts (if that's what they are...), much muddy route finding fun around Shatter Chamber, and a brilliant bedding plane series later, I arrived at the sump to watch and then wait. It's funny waiting for a diver: cold and numbing.  But this place has an interesting boulder choke above it to furtle in, with a big draught.  Wonder what happens...  Tony returned of course, and his trip is described below. We met Fixer on the way out, having trodden on his mask in sump 4.  What's the sudden fixation with water, eh? I even heard tell of Richard, Mark and Steve P wallowing in the town drain recently, and several of us had a drink at the Waterman's last night. Perhaps it's Rabies.


Wednesday 5th week 9.00pm NQLR, Mark Bown will be giving a slide show and talk about caving in New Zealand and in Spain.

Keen ?

A new charity called KEEN has been set up in Oxford, to give disabled and special needs children the chance to try different sports with the help of sports clubs in the university. Urs and I think it would be a good idea to contact them about the possibility of organising a caving/ climbing/abseiling day for some of these children (in Burrington Coombe for instance). If you are interested, or have any thoughts about this, then let Urs or me know,

Expedition News

Expedition Corner...

Random thoughts, in no particular order.

1) Medical information.
In case you have forgotten what we said last week, it is time to get yourself inoculated against all the evil microbes in Spain. This is what you do...
a) Go to the University Occupational Health Service (Tel 270080) and say that you want to be vaccinated against Spain.  Say that you are a member of an approved University Expedition. Say that Professor Warrell has spoken to your Expedition Nurse and that he has advised that you should make sure that your childhood vaccinations are up to date, especially Polio and Tetanus and that you should be proofed against Hepatitis A (on the subject of Hepatitis A, you should say that you are a case of special need, and that you should be given the NEW VACCINE and not Gamma Globulin). The nice lady will give you an appointment. Don't forget it!
b) Don't forget your appointment! When the time comes go and get it.
c) Go again a bit later.

2) Gear Order.
The expedition gear order is coming on fine. The stuff from Lyon will be available for collection from Dent this weekend. The rest will be coming real soon now. Mark has arranged a dodgy deal from Comsac where we get to try out some new and expensive Edelweiss rope, it is meant to be a competitor to Edelrid Superstatic, which is what makes up the bulk of our order. We are meant to be field testing

3) T Shirt.
This will be out soon. If you want one, tell Sean NOW. We need to know how many we should order.

4) Expedition Equipment.
If you still have any expedition equipment, it is time to give it back. Things that spring to mind are: Daren drums, bolting equipment (hammers and drivers), digging implements, bivvy bags, alpineces, sleeping bags, tents.  Look in your caves, in your sitting rooms, in the boot of your car and, especially, under your bed.

5) Sponsorship.
The recession has hit our benefactors hard. They have not supplied us as generously as in the past. We will, however, make up any differences with a trip to the cash and carry, so there is no need to worry about your supplies of peanuts.

6) A.C. Irvine fund.
The new arrangement with the Irvine Fund means that the expedition committee will not kick you very hard to apply for Irvine Money, because we have other things to worry about. It is YOUR problem. We will, however, help as much as we
can. Sean has all the details and can tell you what to write. We will also be putting in an application from the expedition which should help you a bit. The closing date for the applications is very soon now, so get writing.

7) Personal Contributions.
If you haven't paid the fixed part of your personal contribution, then please do so now. You really are a bit naughty, and should feel very guilty. It will soon be the deadline for payment of the variable part of your contribution. Please let Sean know as soon as you can when you will be coming to Spain, and for how long.  Please pay him as soon as possible too. The committee are being hindered a bit now by not knowing how many people will be out at any given time, and this makes it hard for us to PLAN, which is what we are for.

Well that's it really. Any difficulties should be directed to the following:
Medical: Joan
Money: Sean
Equipment:  Mark
Science: Michelle
Travel: Dave B
Everything else:  Pauline

Please leave me in peace. Love from David. (No hugs please, I'm English)

Exploring here...

Diving the Somme

After a moderately gentle carry through the low bedding at the end of Passchendaele, all that remained was to kit up efficiently without disturbing the sump. Unfortunately the muddiness of the site clogged the wetsuit zip, which could only be cleared by immersion. After all this thrashing about, visibility for the first part of the dive was pretty poor. Luckily the passage was small enough for this not to matter.

Emerging from the disturbed silt, the water was clear and slightly blue, like swimming in an unimaginably huge gin and tonic. After cruising over small pots, rock bridges and through a squeeze, all at around -15 feet, a comfortable oval section tube rose to emerge in a small streamway.

Pete Moody (the only previous visitor as far as is known) had tied off his line about twenty feet up the passage. Ten feet beyond this a crowbar was used to take the edges off a spiky squeeze between projections through which water could be heard rushing. Immediately before this a pretty bodysized tube sloped diagonally upwards, looking rather like parts of the damp link. A body length in, a bulge of rock prevented further progress, but the passage was seen to continue slightly larger, for at least six feet to where it appeared to curve to the right.

Back in the stream the terminal squeeze was enlarged and partially passed, from where it was seen that the rushing water (where does it go if the previous sump is apparently static?) came not from a waterfall, but rather welled powerfully out of another sump. This is both undived and diveable, but lack of time and air prompted a return to the mars bar on the far side of the sump, a pleasantly thought-provoking swim with no visual distractions.
Tony Seddon