Depth through thought

OUCC News, 8th December 1993

Volume 4, Number 8

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Unfortunately, DTT's editorial deadlines are obviously just too harsh for all you prolific writers out there, and I didn't get any caving reports this or last week. Pivo nearly managed, and promises a report on a trip by the Hungarians soon, but I will be away next Wednesday, so this may be about the last DTT of 1993. Still, its been a good term, with loads of varietal trips, and loads of keen new people to go on them. Congratulations to Ben on becoming the new club treasurer.

Caving at New Year

The YSS cottage is booked from the night of 26th (Sunday, boxing day) until the 2nd January. The van is probably leaving Oxford on Boxing day. If you want to come, or need a lift, contact Chris on 0865 241478

Tim Nichols' Talk

Last Wednesday night Tim Nichols came to St. Hugh's bar to compete with the rugger buggers for our attention. Tim - 5, rugger buggers - 2. Tim gave an excellent talk. Light-hearted, well illustrated, diverse and fun. He talked about his own caving experiences, mainly exploring in caves in the Dales with LUSS, and his tourist caving in Japan and expedition caving in the Picos central massif.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the talk. I got a note from Tim this morning, and he said he was happy to come and meet OUCC people, and hopes to have time to participate in some of our caving and social activities next year. This is good news. Also, many thanks for the mince pies, James. Much appreciated

I have to start thinking about talks for next term. Anyone have any ideas regarding subjects and/or speakers? If you have a burning ambition to give a talk yourself, or know of anyone who might want to, or anyone who might be persuaded to (arm twist, arm twist), please let me know.
Jenny Vernon

Joint Hole

The feelings of a first dive
I have to admit to feeling a complete blathering flaphead the morning of my first real cave dive. Sitting in Southerscales' cottage kitchen amongst piles of ludicrously heavy metal ornaments, trying to work out how to buckle this to that, and tie lumps of lead to everything, my mind sort of glazed over with the complexity  and unknownness of it all. Later, I realised, this was just the stress of preparing for my first dive underground. Anyway, without the patience and encouragement of Tony and Steve I'd never have done it.

By the time I was waddling across snow covered fields in full clutter, stress had given way to a fine appreciation of the absurdity of it all. And as I sat on icy rocks checking and double checking demand valves and lights, ladled in cumbersome rubber, the darkness of joint hole did not so much beckon as chuckle to itself. By this stage, all thoughts of whether I should be doing this had evaporated: I was in automatic mode. "I may only go a few feet I warned Steve", "Fine" he said, presumably not meaning it. Gloop! I bobbed into the sump, hardly disappeared, then turned round and came out. "Christ" Steve must have been thinking. Just worried about my buoyancy in fact. "You'll soon get heavier when you're down", and soon I was indeed not so much following the line into the sump as tumbling down it.  Steve appeared behind me (enough to make anyone move...), and after composing myself I was off upstream.  Crawling at first, then swimming through a slow, gloomy world of weightless three-dimensionality.  Vis was excellent.  A depigmented bullhead, and several shrimps swam past wondering what the fuck I was doing. Rock and water. Captivating. I never let go of my contents gauge. After about 70 metres, I started to think about the remoteness, and wondered what the fuck I was doing. Exhilaration became mixed with anxiety. I stopped, and decided I had never returned from a dive before, so I would see what it was like...  Steve's lights appeared out of the peaty gloom, and I signalled that I was going out. There was a temptation to hurry, resisted. Edgy feeling. Are you going the right way? Of course you are? What if the DV fails? You've got another. Anyway it won't. What if you get lost? You won't. What if you run out of air? You won't. Look up, don't forget the roof. Water and rock. I pass a lead weight I left clipped to the line. I stop to pick it up. I change my mind, and head on out. Anxious. Then I'm back at the junction, and there's the slope up to a faint glimmer of brown light. I think about going back for the weight. The surface beckons.

I emerge, just 18 minutes after diving, to snow. about 2 hours of air left.... I hadn't even felt cold. Exhilarated. Sorry I left you the weight, Steve. Annoyed with myself.
Tim Guilford

From the New Van Monitor

The van now has a notification of faults system. It's quite painless since it only involves posting off a pre-addressed and stamped envelope. The idea is to make sure that the van is ready for use all the time, You don't necessarily need a pen to use it, and it only takes two seconds to post the note. As the van monitor will soon be resident in Kidlington and doesn't have a car to get to town, there will be a set of keys left a bit closer to town.

The van monitor will try to provide clear bills and receipts for those hiring the van/trailer. But most importantly do try to pay up as soon as possible. The van will need new bits and the bank balance has to be able to cover these.

And don't leave it empty of petrol.... Ta,
Joan Arthur

Bring back our ladders...

Clubs' Committee Grant
The bad news is.....Paul and I put forward an application to the Clubs' Committee for £320 to buy the club 4 new ladders. Paul did the accounts very carefully and neatly, and wrote an excellent little spiel about how important ladders are to OUCC and how, sadly, we do not have enough. I filled in the forms and sent them off. We didn't get the grant we asked for.

The good news is....we got £240, enough to buy 3 ladders. Every little hit helps, and many thanks to the Clubs' Committee for this money. 
Jenny Vernon