Sep 052011
Clay blocks in Iddlebiddy Cave

  About the site Iddlebiddy Cave is an Advanced Cave rated site located near Mt Gambier, South Australia. Initially discovered in the 1970s by locals Peter Blackmore and Phillip Earl, they were reluctant to report it to the newly formed Cave Diver’s Association of Australia (CDAA) because their lack of formal training under the new system would see them lose their right to dive here. The site was named Iddlebiddy as it follows a straight tunnel formation for a few hundred metres, and is reminiscent of the massive railway tunnel type cave formations found on the Nullarbor Plain such as Cocklebiddy Cave. While Advanced Cave sites are usually rated for their narrow single-file restrictions, Iddlebiddy is rated to protect the [read more…]

Aug 222011
Surveying in Mt Hypipamee Crater

About the site Mt Hypipamee Crater is located in the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, 25km from the town of Atherton. The crater is a volcanic vent, created by volcanic gases under pressure exploding out through weak points in the rock 100,000 years ago. Unlike the limestone caves created by the ground water in South Australia, Mt Hypipamee has walls of basalt which appear speckled pink underwater. Our week long expedition had taken several years to come together, requiring permits from the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management and permission from the Traditional Owners of the land, the Ngadjon people. A 1959 diving expedition had written up a report of dives to 61m in dark but clear water. The information [read more…]

Aug 012011
Haloclines in Olwolgin Cave

About the site I’ve already talked about a couple of photos I’ve taken of unique features in the Roe Plains caves, including the Black and White Raft Room and the hanging roots. Cave diving in the Roe Plains provided the biggest photographic challenge I’ve experienced thus far – taking clear pictures in a graduated halocline. Haloclines occur where salty and freshwater meet, creating a mixing layer. Unlike the Mexican caves on the Yucatan Peninsula, the halocline in the Roe Plains caves runs at every level of the water. This means it isn’t possible to swim above it, and any diver movement through the cave mixes water of different levels of salinity. For those who haven’t dived in these conditions before, [read more…]

Jul 182011
F tunnel in Tank Cave

About the dive Tank Cave is a labyrinthian maze of intersecting passages, located in the Mt Gambier region of South Australia. First dived in the 60s, the challenging narrow and silty entrance meant exploration didn’t truly begin until the 1980s. Today, the cave has approximately 11km of mapped passage. The main tunnels run on an approximate NW-SE trend, and the cave develops a distinct character in the different areas. The tunnels are named by letter and number, and tags are placed in the cave on the permanent lines at key points to aid navigation. Tank Cave is generally shallow, with most tunnels being between 10m and 20m deep, allowing for long dives. This photo was taken in F tunnel, which is [read more…]

Jun 272011
Hanging Roots in Olwolgin Cave

  About the dive Olwolgin Cave is located on the Roe Plain, Western Australia, not far from Burnabbie Cave. As I posted previously, the Roe Plains caves are quite different from the white walled, blue water, big tunnels of the better known Nullarbor Plain caves. The first thing you notice is the yellowish tint to the water (but not to the walls) and the narrow, twisting, multilevel nature of the cave. With the water level close to the surface, tree roots from the desert above intrude into areas of the cave. However, the Roe Plains cave also have unique salinity characteristics. Instead of a single halocline with a distinct mixing zone between layers of fresh and salty water, like might [read more…]