Aug 052014

Mud slide to the water

About the cave

This week we are practising a little bit of tropical cave exploration, in some (very) warm water. These photos are hot off the press from yesterday’s dives and taken in the same area as last year’s expedition to these very beautiful formations. The scenery was a little different though – instead of white rocks and blue water, we had squelchy brown mud and blue water. This particular cave was one which I previously dived through a very short sump to discover an internal air chamber but then ran out of time to check the other side. The rockpile had clean white rocks from 2m above the water line and I had hopes that if we continued far enough from the entrance the mud might give up and leave us some nice clean cave.

Cave exploration

About the dive

Ryan and I helped Steve carry his dive gear over the rockpile for a checkout dive before committing to bringing the rest over. The horseshoe shaped entrance pool was crystal clear but the mud banks meant getting in was going to be interesting. Ryan noticed the water was flowing on the left hand side, just enough to clear the mud out of the way. So Steve geared up in the “high flow” area and ducked under the rock lip to see what could be seen while Ryan and I waited patiently.

He returned after 40 minutes having laid 50m of line into virgin cave. Unfortunately said cave was showing minimal signs of changing from a small muddy cave to a large clean one, despite the persistant flow. And as enticing as the muddy brown water now looked, Ryan and I decided to pass.

About the photo

The top photo here was taken after Steve surfaced from that first dive, as he wriggled across the muddy centre of the horseshoe to check the lead on the other side. Safe to say our taxi driver was not totally impressed with the state of the gear we put back in his car at the end of the day. The second shot is Ryan inspecting a potential lead off the main entrance pool. To determine whether a rift is body sized or a bit too small means getting up close and looking quickly, before the mud implosion obscures the prospect. It also means I have to get up close and personal behind the diver and find some momentarily clear water to shoot through.

While this was not the cave we were hoping for, any day you get to lay some line is a good day. And today we’re off to another blue water prospect…can’t wait!

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