Monday, June 7, 2010

Zumbo 2

What doesn't come across in photos is the real size of things. When a person is in the photo, like in this one, it gives you some idea but what about the rest of the passage or room? With a small camera you can't light up and capture the whole scene.

So we kept going and going for hours into little cracks, scaling large stone "hills" and floating under things in the river.

I like these damn formations. They are helpful for walking too.

This part looked more like the Zumbo we knew...the part with the Dr. Seuss-like formations of bored out holes, scallops and polished rock with of course a river running 10 or 12 feet below. I felt like a storybook character tiptoeing on these pointy peeks...just give me the standard Dr. Seuss tall hat with the big balls and boingy things on it and I'd fit right in.

This section was the hard "arm" section for me since you need to span the corridor with both feet and arms to make sure you don't slip.

Then we got to some gentle flowstone areas.

Here Tom is doing some more climbing in the glass-like rock.

This section of rock looked to me like a mango wood bowl we have.The scalloped rock was just unreal.

There were also a couple really nice bacon formations...just the way I like it - crispy.

These were on the way back out when we could look around a bit more. We saw quite a few Dugong fossils we didn't notice on the way in including this partial skeleton with nice vertebrate and ribs (the dark things that look like sticks).

The best part for me of this trip was the discovery part - you didn't know what you would find next. We got to a spot where it opened into a room as large as our house that had as a chandelier/focal point a gigantic column/waterfall that had water spewing in from above. You could easily walk all the way around it. Very unexpected. I also enjoyed the physical challenge of it. Lots of climbing up steep spots that were scary! It was also our first rebelay (I had some trouble). We have never rebelayed before. We had to hook our rappelling gear onto one line, then go horizontal on another to get to another vertical line. We had never done this in daylight and now we were 40 feet up on a rock face inside a cave doing it in the dark! It was a bit of a challenge but mentally it was good to know I could think my way out of the little glitches I encountered. Going down was no problem, but going up I had some of the safety line and such on the wrong side so they were crisscrossed and difficult to undo. We all got out safely at around 7:30 pm and then hiked out by the light of our headlamps. Of course there was a light rain by now and the screechy bugs were doing their creepy noises. We headed to the cars and washed off the best we could, packed up, got the key, opened the gate and headed out for a bit of food. We ended up at home at midnight. We were really tired and the dirtiest we have ever been I think. Even though we were diving at 8:30am I HAD to shower. That shower felt really really good! We are going to come back to this cave to try to go further. It is a really long cave and when it is this physical it is hard to do more without getting sloppy. Now that we know what to expect in the first 5 hours or so I think we can go further the next time but will have to get an earlier start!

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