Depth through thought
OUCC News 26th October 2005
Volume 15, Number 10
|DTT volume 15 Index|
Editor: Pod: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, apologies for DTT being so quiet over the last *cough* five or so *cough* months. I could make lame excuses about being too busy etc but frankly the reason is people haven't been submitting material and I've been very lazy about actively seeking out articles. So, what did you do over the summer? I'd love to hear it.
As far as club activities goes 'Expedition 2005: Asopladeru La Texa' was a roaring success and many thanks and congratulations are due to Gavin and all those involved with organizing the affair. This year was my first expedition and despite a decidedly shaky start, and not doing much actual caving, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Many Thanks.
And now we return to the scheduled programming.
submitted by Chris Densham
[I can't work out if CD is pulling my leg with this or not - pod]
From: Engin Zaman [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 06 October 2005 11:48 To: Densham, CJ (Chris) Subject: TURKEY's CAVES
Dear Sir: Turkey has fairly big potential about cave and alternatives sports. Our company is interested in that subject and make projects. Lots of clubs have joined our adventures. GEZGIN67 TOUR is fairly prominents about caves and alternatives sports. We are waiting for you to our pradise country to share adventures. GEZGIN67 TOUR
It wasn't your standard Friday. I'd had about one hour's sleep the night before, going to bed about the same time Arry was just getting up. After a rushed breakfast I washed down a couple of paracetomol with a strong coffee and headed into my Linacre study room to make a few final changes to my DPhil thesis. By the afternoon I was safely ensconced in the pub, clutching a copy of the distilled product of the last three years of my life. True, two hundred odd pages of white paper, decorated with the occasional double spaced Times New Roman rant, isn't as much as others create in three years. People have created houses, ships, gardens and babies in the three years it took me to create my two hundred pages of white paper. But it was very shiny white paper. And it looked very slick in its newly acquired black binding with clear plastic cover. I, at any rate, was proud of it.
Enough sentimental drivel. In a show of personal speleodedication that threatened to outglorify even the breaking of my ten-year-old promise to myself that I would never go down Quaking, I had no sooner finished my drink than it was time to swap the Flag for a Fox (as in 'Lamb and...') and I found myself en route to Pwll Du for the much-hyped, much-delayed, Roraima (Venezuela) expedition dinner. Martin and Lenik were already cosy at the bar when Arry, Pip and myself rocked up. Tony was planning to arrive tomorrow morning and Dave Barrett seemed to have disappeared off the radar altogether with no known functioning email address or other means of contact. After a delicious meal I was so knackered that I could no longer keep my eyes open and had to forgo the ongoing festivities and Martin's rerun of his BCRA conference slideshow of the Venezuela expedition in order to collapse into my pit.
Saturday morning saw a novel approach to delaying the inevitable (viz going caving) with a screening of Martin's DVD of the 1924 silent movie The Lost World. A splendid piece of cinematography, with a star performance put in by the lumps of plasticine which Tony aptly named the Camp Dinosaurs of Love. By midday the inevitable really was inevitable. Martin, Lenik and Arry (who, despite being told by the doctor not to go caving whilst her broken arm heals, managed to get underground on both Saturday and Sunday) headed off to the Big Pit whilst Tony, Pip and myself heading off to push the dig that I'd left at the end of the Gerbil Run in Ogof Draenen, discovered several months ago and put on hold whilst I conquered the thesis monster. When Seedy and I explored the Gerbil Run we'd followed a 50m crawl which broke into a larger passage with beautiful formations left and a muddy dig right with obvious black space beyond. The hope was that the passage might connect downstream of the Big Country choke - a.k.a. The Mystery Streamway - which is only 100m from the dig site.
We made good progress and arrived at the dig ready to get going. I was expecting to spend several hours lugging out mud from the dig before the passage beyond could be entered. A pleasant surprise was in store. Tony inserted himself into a crack to the right of the muddy dig and began pulling out spaceship sized rocks. Within minutes he had declared the muddy dig 'not worth bothering with', and a few minutes more we had broken through into new stuff. How could Chris and I have missed the crack? Perhaps we didn't - perhaps we noted it but saw the huge rocks inside and decided the muddy dig would be easier? Either way, it was a pleasant surprise to be into new stuff minutes rather than hours after arriving at the dig.
We headed through the crack and into a northerly heading passage - Submission (please don't make me explain the double entendre...) - which was quite big - high enough to walk and at one point very open indeed. A large hole in the muddy floor created a pit, obviously heading downwards but filled with (easily diggable) mud - an exciting feature, since the cave is currently about 10m higher than the Mystery Streamway, so we needed to lose some height, which the cave now seemed to be doing. Following the main passage lead after about 50-60m to a muddy dig at the northerly end. We weren't so interested in the northerly end though, which would eventually head back into known passage. It was the three side passages that were heading off West (and downwards) that were most exciting, since these were heading straight for the Mystery Streamway.
The longest of the side passages continued for about 10m before hitting a mud squeeze that needed to be dug out. I overwormholed and found myself thoroughly wedged and feeling a bit panicky, so as soon as I managed to free myself I beat a hasty retreat to the main passage of Submission where Tony was busily demolishing the entire roof of the passage (or rather, hoping that he wouldn't demolish the entire roof of the passage by destroying a shaking column of rock in order to gain access to another side passage). Pip continued digging out the squeeze but a couple of metres further she hit another muddy dig which looked more substantial, and with an unexplained headache whelling up she too beat a hasty retreat. Further down the main passage Pip and I inserted our bodies into a rather tight crack with a right angle corner that would need hammering, to view a downward sloping side passage which I optimistically described as 'just about body-sized' and Pip rather more pessimistically described as 'crazy'.
The hole in the floor in the middle of the main passage seemed like the best option, so we spent an hour digging a bit of mud out of there to establish its worth (which seemed pretty good, the Westerly wall seemed to turn into the roof of a Westerly heading side passage). But progress was slow with just a trowel and drag tray - a proper spade (rather like the one I lugged to the Gerbil Run and back out again, never having used, when I first began exploring this area) and a bucket would be far more efficient - and we wanted to be out before closing time, so we began the long plod out. On entering Blackwalls we were greeted with the most gourmet post-caving meal I have ever eaten, courtesy of Arry: Fusili Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Courgettes and Mushrooms, in a White Wine and Cream Sauce. Delicioso!
Sunday saw Pip and Tony visit the Hard Rock Cafe in Daren whilst Arry and I went for a walk around the waterfalls near Porth-yr-Ogof, where we bumped into Ben and Claire. They'd been wondering who the nutcase wearing just boxer shorts as he frolicked behind the waterfall was. I figured it was wiser to derobe before walking behind the waterfall this time - last time I'd done the walk, with Tim, Lou and Fleur, I'd kept my clothes on and had to do the rest of the walk in just my boxers instead...
I thought it was time that I revisited the phrases that web searchers have used to find (sometimes inadvertently) OUCC's noble and eclectic collection of caving stuff at www.oucc.org.uk. There is, of course, the obvious and boring "picos de europa" (5 shots) and "olly hilton" (3!)... but down among the one-offs are some strange folk indeed...
"Inflated condoms photos", "bar of soap" (not on OUCC's site, I should have thought), "farting as a defence against unspeakable dread" (a classic paper), "stupid Romanian", "how to write annual dinner invitation", "nude wives", "ridiculous dive gear", "eurostar french theme tune", "what mean by picos in English" (tricky one), "liver fungus", "what eats goannas", "gavin and tony" (aaah..sweet), "lechery" (but of course), "huge spliff", "team cripple" (one for me, obviously), "snakes and ladders without the ladders", and last of this small sample, but not least: "disappearing testicles".
Let us hope they all found what they were looking for.