At the end of this week I’m heading out west, driving from Melbourne to the desert plains over the West Australian border. I was last out that way at the end of 2010, when I had the privilege of diving both the Roe Plains caves of Olwolgin and Burnabbie, as well as assisting with some research in Warbla Cave and with time for a quick dip in Tommy Grahams. This time I have a slightly shorter trip planned, and the first half is focussed exclusively on the latest discovery in the Roe Plains.
In October last year, Paul Hosie from CEGWA did the first dive in a small, unpromising puddle. Two dives and two reels of line later the cave opened up to a large, borehole shaped tunnel heading off rapidly into the distance. Over the course of three days after the initial discovery, and a long weekend a few months back, 2.1kms of line have been laid into this previously unknown cave. As currently mapped there are two large leads 940m and 800m from the entrance that both need to be further pushed. Most importantly from my point of view, noone has yet taken underwater photos or video here.
Even with the first week of the trip dedicated to the new cave, the team have a lot of objectives to achieve. As the end gets further and further from home underwater logistics become more challenging. Luckily the cave follows the trend of the area and is staying shallow, reducing the number of tanks we need to carry. A particularly long entrance restriction means we’ll be using sidemounted tanks and scheduling dives so as not to run into another buddy pair transiting in the opposite direction. Nick from White Arrow has been kind enough to develop a cordura camera wrap to protect the camera as I squeeze into the cave.
In the second week we hope to dive in Murra-el-Elevyn, a Nullarbor Plains cave with scalloped pink and orange limestone walls. After hauling the gear out there are a few dry cave leads to check out, and then a long drive home across the continent.
For the next few weeks while I’m away I’ve scheduled posts covering my underwater adventures from the last month or so. Once I’m back to civilisation I hope to have some great shots to share. Until then, this post has a few pictures from the 2010 Roe Plains diving – enjoy!