Caving in Tasmania – the prize for “stamina” is announced

Interestingly, all the caves in this small area are named after diamonds or precious gems.  I had given up my spot on the Marakoopa trip on the day before, but was looking forward to finishing the week of caving with a couple of minor sporty caves, with Janice M and David W-C leading the trips. 

We were all pretty much stuffed after caving pretty much every day, but these two caves would be relatively easy and David and Janice were doing a recce to see how appropriate they were to put on the 2019 ASF Conference program.  It had been a while since David had done both.  Eleanor, Janice’s young daughter joined us for the day.

Eleanor entering the cave.  Whoever made the gate to Diamond Cave was very creative, it’s made in the shape of a diamond.

Bit of a squeeze to get down.

Once down into the lower level, there was a little confusion about where to go next.  David seemed to think it was up this small climb at the end, although he thought it was quite dodgy when he got up it, leading him to think it wasn’t a cave to put on the 2019 Conference program.

Cathi’s looking up at another way up, it was slippery and you needed a handline to get up and then there was a squeeze to go through.

Mel actually went up the climb and found a less dodgy way, so half of us went up the climb and the other half did the squeeze.  I did the climb, by this time they’d put the hand line down to make it easier.  Now that David knew that the climb wasn’t as bad as he first thought and the way down was easy, it’s back on the Conference program.

We’re all up to the upper level now, here’s Janice coming through a squeeze.

A nice example of how a stalagmite is formed from the dripping of a formation above it (over thousands of years!).

This was the only photo shoot that Garry did in this cave, with Eleanor posing for him.  This was the most decorated part of the cave, which was really quite a small set of passages.

Eleanor in the squeeze going back to where we’d climb (or slide) back down.

More of the passage.  I elected to go down the slide to get out.

A rare good photo – me exiting Diamond Cave (Photo: Garry K Smith)

We were in and out of Diamond in about 1.5 hours.  Garry and Murray decided that they’d had enough and would head back to the cabin to clean up the van in preparation to returning it to the rental company the next day, so David was left with the girls!

Entering Kohinoor Cave.

Kohinoor was quite a large set of passages, and Janice was showing David different routes that she’d taken.

Lots of up and down climbs.

Not many formations but lots of evidence of roots finding their way into the cave from the trees above.  A bit of cave coral on the walls behind the straws.

More roots from above.

This was a really tricky climb down, you had good hand holds but the foot holds were few and far between.

A nice wall of shawls in the making.

More scrambling up and down, another tricky climb down.

This photo gives an indication of what I mean when I talk about a Rock Pile.  It can be either boulders like this or smaller ones the size of a golf cart.  The trick is to find the correct route through them.

Sometimes you go through feet first, other times, head first, just depends what’s on the other side.

Looking down to the bottom of the rock pile.

This is an area where there is a ridge along the fallen rocks.

At the top of this chamber was a “daylight hole” where you could see that there was another entrance (which would have required an abseil) into the chamber.  Janice and David W-C are discussing a route up to yet another chamber which involved some serious scrambling.

We exited the cave at about 4pm after exploring all the accessible areas.  The last cave for our big Tasmanian Adventure.

A big thank you from us all to Garry for organising the trip and to David and Janice, taking time out of their busy schedules to show us around some of the caves that we hadn’t done before.  And I’ve now decided on what caves I want to do at the Conference at the end of this year.

So, 10 days in Tasmania, 8 of them caving – and 38 hr 20 min underground!  Melissa did all 8 days caving – winning the prize for “stamina”.  However, I brought up the fact that she was the youngest of us all, closely followed by Andrew and that maybe there should be a handicap for her and Andrew’s youth.  So, when Garry and Murray were sitting at the cabin trying to figure out a handicap system, they cleverly came up with one which took into account age, and guess who won the prize – yours truly, closely followed by Garry!  They very kindly didn’t count my Marakoota day (cause I’d given up my place as the permit only allowed for 6)!  I may also have taken out the prize for “most bruises”!

Back on the mainland now, managed the 8 days of caving with no serious injury, only to go on a tourist walk 3 days later and fall off a retaining wall, have seriously damaged my knee so am out of action for a little while – my new mantra “I must be more cautious!”.

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9 Responses to Caving in Tasmania – the prize for “stamina” is announced

  1. David says:

    A wonderful summary of your time in Tassie. You’ve been treated to a great selection of caves in the North West.

    Ida Bay should be the next on your list!

    • marilyn says:

      Ah, not sure I’m ready for Ida Bay – or if I’ll ever be up for it, maybe Mystery Creek & Midnight Hole but the others are way, way out of my league!

  2. Eric rowlands says:

    Pretty good

  3. Kathy Leslie says:

    You are amazing, Marilyn. I totally enjoyed the photos and commentary!
    What an extraordinary experience! Sorry to hear about your bum knee.
    Hope it does not put you out of commission for too long.
    I was supposed to be arriving in Lima, Peru tonight on a trip to Machu Picchu.
    My sister fell and broke her shoulder which required a shoulder replacement.
    Needless to say we had to cancel the trip. Glad I can travel vicariously through you!

    • marilyn says:

      Hey Kathy, lovely to hear from you and so happy that you’re enjoying the blog, that’s what it’s there for to share with my overseas friends! Nah, shouldn’t be out of commission for too long, it’s a stretched ligament so should only take 4 weeks to heal – am already planning my next adventures. Sorry about Peru, maybe next year though, and sorry to hear about your sister!

  4. Janice March says:

    You’ve taken some great photos there Marilyn. It’s always fun going caving with mainlanders, so I’m looking forward to the conference in December/January.

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