We were back in Elk River Cave this weekend just gone, with big plans and lots of tasks on the to do list. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas with torrential rains from Thursday. We entered the cave on Saturday morning with a huge pile of gear to find the water level was only slightly raised in the first bit of the streamway – good news. After changing from dry caving gear into dive gear we headed off down the stream towards the first sump…only to find the first roof sniff had become a dive. The dry cavers left us at that point and the diving team of five continued to sump one.
From the second roof sniff to sump one is a crawl through the stream under a low roof. The stream then flows over a rimstone bank and there’s a great little pool to stand in while you put tanks back on before the sump one dive. Usually the water here comes up to my knees. Not today. Standing in chest deep, swirling brown water, we made a group decision that downstream exploration was not on the cards for today.
This gave us lots of time for a photo session, exploration and survey of the upstream section of cave, videography and a quick look at some cave fauna before heading out with half the bags. Up top, it had rained heavily throughout the day and the top half of the cave was overflowing. Each climb involved choosing which drips to avoid and there was a very large waterfall running down the main pitch. Wet and a little chilly, we still made it back to Homeleigh in time for tea. The Sunday gear retrieval and derig trip in wet caving gear was particularly character building, as Buchan is not known for being wet and our caving gear was not ideal.
Check out the very short video above for some views of the cave by Ken Smith, JDZ and myself with Ken’s excellent Contour camera and very bright light.