Jul 232012

Ag's Dreamtime Tunnel

About the site

Unnamed Cave is the most recent major discovery in Australian cave diving. Out on the Roe Plains in the West Australian desert, the massive tunnels discovered so far are still going kilometres from the entrance, with teams going out over the coming months to continue exploration. The cave was first dived last October on a trip led by Paul Hosie of CEGWA. Discovered half way through the expedition, the group spent the last few days chucking in as much line as possible before they had to return to civilisation. One of those divers was Brian Kakuk of Bahamas Underground, who worked with Agnes during the National Geographic shoot in the Bahamas in 2010.

On his final dive, Brian entered a tunnel roughly parallel to the initial main passage, with white scalloped limestone walls. Impressed by the cave and the passage, Brian suggested naming it after Ag.

About the dive

These photos were taken on my last dive into Unnamed Cave. After a checkout dive, some delays during which we moved to video and photograph Olwolgin Cave, and an exploration dive without my camera, this final dive was a dedicated photographic expedition. I was keen to both get a look at and capture images of the tunnel named for Agnes. Living and diving in the beautiful Bahamian caves, Brian has seen some stunning underwater sites. So when he said this tunnel was special, I knew I was in for a treat.

Roof bubbles in Ag's Dreamtime Tunnel

Ag’s Dreamtime Tunnel starts with a swim through a small breakdown pile, where flat sheets of rock lie on the bottom. From there the tunnel widens out and the incredible wall formations start. As opposed to the larger formations I’d already seen in Unnamed Cave, the walls here had delicate limestone fingers twisting out into the water. Occasionally the tunnel would move back to flat sheets of limestone, again in the brilliant white.

About the photo

The photo above shows the typical decorated walls in this part of the cave. Swimming through a wide tunnel where every wall is riddled with holes like these was amazing. With the challenges of white walls with small details, and big passage with dark water, the photos don’t really do justice to the intricacy and scale of the rock formations here.

The second photo was taken in a portion of the tunnel where the walls and floor change suddenly to flat white rock. The bubble pattern on the roof makes this one of my favourite photos from the trip. When divers first break in to new cave they leave exhaust bubbles on the roof. Over time these bubbles accumulate in roof hollows, or drain away through cracks in the ceiling. When Ken and I swam down Ag’s Dreamtime Passage, less than 6 divers had been through here. As you can see from the bubble pattern, all of those had followed Brian’s line. The route down the centre of the wide passage is clearly identified by the bubble trail above, letting you know that you’re swimming in a cave a little off the beaten track.

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