Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 12 & 13

Hi there,

We camped last night in the tent and got a great nights sleep. The stars stayed out until about 5:00AM then some high clouds started rolling in, along with the logging trucks whizzing by 20 feet from our tent at 60 MPH, and cows, and chickens, and birds chirping. That's OK, I wasn't tired any more... ;)

We made it on to the 10:00AM caving tour, the 6 hour version was not available but the 4 hour was so we jumped on to that one. The area is known for it's limestone caves and there are a couple of tour operators but most catered to the casual tourist, kids, etc... We found the one operator that does small group caving expeditions. Less tourist encounter and more caving 101.

We got to the camp on his own 500 acres where we got changed in to our gear. Jumpsuits and repelling harnesses, helmets and rubber boots. We started into the cave which started off as a small stream flowing past a couple of unremarkable rocks.

As we continued on we climbed down in to the first area of the cave. WOW! Very cool stuff. The 50 degree water was falling down around us and we were shimmying down passages some too narrow to pass any other way but sideways.

We got to our first repel point, it was a small hole in the rocks where we hooked ourselves up to the rope and lowered ourselves into the cavern below, one by one we made our way down into total darkness. This went on for what seemed like miles, turned out to be only under a kilometer, we got to the turn around point had a couple of chocolate chip cookies and started back.

We climbed through holes, on our hands and knee, crawled on our bellies through the water. There were some points where the holes were only big enough for our heads without the helmets. Imagine me, 6'2", 215-ish on my belly up to my mouth in cold water pulling myself through a hole above the water just big enough for my head... god I love vacation!

We got a photo CD with our adventure. Some are stock photos but we got some of us and our group as well.

Now we're in Auckland getting ready to fly to Cairns in the morning. Our dinner and show tomorrow night was canceled so we'll have to find something to do the day we get there. We get picked up for our dive trip to the outer reef on Saturday morning so I won't be able to update the blog while we're on the boat. So tomorrow will be the last one for a couple days.

We were able to find some Sudafed this afternoon so Jen's all doped up on that and feeling much better. She should be good to go for the diving on Saturday.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinner, it sounds like Kota sure did (at least for a short time). Thanks again for comments and letting Kota use the new Mac, I'm sure you were nervous letting him use the keyboard with those claws for nails... ;)

Talk to you all from Australia tomorrow!


Mike and Jen

1 comment:

Rita said...

Hi Mike and Jen!
Your cave exploration looks so surreal! I can't imagine you going through a hole only big enough for your head! Such a visual!
We love your descriptions of your experiences! The printout notebook of these blogs will be making the rounds at Thanksgiving dinner at Rog and Terri's so Grandpa, Kathy and Marian can peruse them this afternoon. Vida and her family will be there, too.
You will be there in spirit!!
Love, Mama