2 weeks before Armageddon and Lockdown

CAVING in TASMANIA – Part 3 – MOLE CREEK – 10 – 11 March 2020
I’m struggling with writing this post.  As you can imagine, I write the post after the event, sometimes a couple of weeks after (in this case, 27th March).  A lot has happened in the past 16 days. The world is in chaos, and I’m in lockdown mode in an effort to protect myself and everyone else, to support the measures the government has put in place and in sympathy with all those people who have got the virus or lost their jobs over the last week. So, whilst it may be frivolous to write a post about how much fun I had, my only other alternative is more gardening and binge watching NETFLIX!

So, are you interested in what did we do for an encore after Kubla?  Are you in need of a little light reading? …

Day 7 – Cyclops & Baldocks Caves – so, we were all pretty tired after our big day in Kubla, Beth and David took the day off (David had the task of picking up a bigger hire care because the one we had just wasn’t going to fit four people plus our luggage). Marcia, Heather and I joined Cath H and David W-C to do some Karst Care at Cyclops Cave.

Fairly easy walk for 500m or so along a fence line and we were at the cave – easy walking and great weather.

We used a handline to drop down into the cave on a very muddy bank – lots of laughs as we slippery-slided down!.  It was then a short walk up a streamway to get to the area that needed cleaning.

There’s a foot washing station plus some plastic matting so that people don’t walk mud up over a small section of flow stone and into the cave (up a short incline).  We dismantled all the mats and then used a pool beside us to wash them.

Fortunately there was watering the pool, if there hadn’t been, we would have had to use some Goon bags to bring some water into the cave.  (Translation for those who aren’t Aussies – wine was sold in the early days in flagons, or “flagoons”.  When cast wine was invented – by Australians no less – replacing the big glass flagons, as Aussies do, they shortened the name of the silver bag inside to “goon” bags.) The mud was really thick in some of the mats, these mats had been in place for quite a few years.  The mats were unwieldy and it was back breaking work.

Then we had to maneuver the mats back into place, not easy – lots of laughs trying to get it back into place! Heather’s standing on the flow stone that had to be scrubbed.

After we had the mats in place we all trooped up to the part of the cave beyond the mats which has some formation in it, not that well decorated, but it’s an un-gated cave so anyone can come along to check it out, best to have the mats in place to protect the flow stone.

After that we went back to the vehicles for lunch and then went over to Baldocks Cave.  This cave is gated (we had the key), and in the early 1900s was tourist cave.  The owners of the land took people through the cave as it’s highly decorated.  In the entrance there’s an old tank for water which was used for the carbide lamps that they would have had for lighting.  There are still some old carbide lamp bases and reflector plates in place in the cave.  A lot of work had been done on the cave (lots of passages dug out so people could walk through without having to crawl), and there’s a myriad of passages to walk through.

To see this area here, you would have had to crawl along but now there’s a 1m x 50cm trench that’s been dug out so that you can just walk by it.  Not sure where they put all the tailings for the digging that they did (there aren’t piles of rock/dirt outside), maybe they dumped it in other passages.

The cave is highly decorated so you can understand why they made it into a tourist stop.

Nice rim pool, you can see the walkway (again 1m x 50cm) at the edge of the pool.

Heather, Cath and David did a small downclimb to go visit another chamber where David waned to photograph a straw that he’d watched growing for many years and he needed a recent photograph of it.  David didn’t make the downclimb sound easy so I decided to stay up the top whilst the others went down, plus I didn’t like the idea of wallowing in that muddy pool.

I waited around for half an hour and then they returned and we retraced our steps to get out.  By now it was mid afternoon, so we decided to call it a day, plus we had plans to visit the Marakoopa Cafe for dinner and a movie in their small cinema.  The food was great and the movie, Women of the Island was absolutely fabulous – 10 short films highlighting some outstanding women of Tasmania, was riveting and we were still talking about it 10 days later.

Day 8 – Westmoreland Cave – this was to be the day that we did Devils Hole,  but frankly, I wasn’t up for another big day, I was still getting over Kubla and self medicating with massive doses of Nurofen and Panadol.  So, we opted for Westmoreland, Cath H took Heather and me to the cave, the numbers were dropping!

The obligatory selfie at the start of the trip – great photo of you Heather (who’ll go anywhere with me). Me, Cath and Heather!

Park the car and a quick walk down to the creek and then upstream for a while.  Note the piece of steel in the middle of the pick, that’s what they used to divert the river away from going underground so that they could mine the area.

Entering the void! about a 20m abseil down into a big hole which involved one rebelay that Cath had set up for us.

Once down, there were passageways to the left and the right.  We spent a good deal of time in the streamways, finally, when it got to the crawling stage we decided we’d had enough.

Lots of evidence of glow worms!

Heather after the prussic out.  Was a good prussic, a bit muddy in places. We were all soon up the top after a good explore of the cave, had some lunch and then decided to do a side trip to Westmoreland Falls.

We did a bit of off track walking to get onto the tourist track to the Falls and hid our packs in the rainforest (no sense in carrying heavy packs up to the falls).  The track is well maintained and easy walking.

Finally the Falls, very pretty.

I waited at the base of the Falls and Heather and Cath decided to climb up to the top.  Good views, would be a nice waterfall to abseil!

Was a great day of adventuring, ended with an ice cream at the Honey Barn, pity I didn’t have a pocket full of money with me, and heaps of room in my suitcase because the products at the Honey Barn were “to die for”.  Thanks Cath for sharing Westmoreland with Heather and me, we had a great day and it was a perfect end to our trip to Mole Creek.

So, back at the cabin, we packed up, and Beth joined us for dinner when we pulled out all the “left overs” from the week.  We did group meals, one person cooking each night and we decided that the last night we’d clear out the fridge!

Was a bit sad leaving Mole Creek, I’ve been there 3 times now and it feels like home.  BUT, we were off the next day to Ida Bay and a whole lot of new caves.  Yaaaa!

Looking back, we were totally oblivious to what was happening in the rest of the world.



This entry was posted in Caving, MSS, Tasmania. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 2 weeks before Armageddon and Lockdown

  1. David says:

    Just because the rest of the nation is having a bad day…doesn’t mean that you have to have a bad day too! Rejoice in the fact that you were free to experience these wonders of nature, that you had the resources, the skills and the people around you.

    You didn’t cause Covid-19, neither did I.

    The dinner and movie night at Marakoopa Cafe was something else eh? Wow!

    • marilyn says:

      Yes, I get that, perhaps I have an over abundance of empathy though, felt the same way during the fires, felt I shouldn’t be having fun whilst everyone else was suffering, and thought I was being insensitive publicising the fun I was having! Possibly a bit “girly”! Yep, Marakoopa Café was great, I’d love to go back there for one of their music nights!

  2. Betty McCleary says:

    After all these adventures Marilyn how do you fill these quiet days? You must be having withdrawals! Keep well.

    • marilyn says:

      Haha, lots of gardening and housework, then quiet time watching NETFLIX and doing some counted cross stitch. Hope you are well and staying safe.

  3. Heather Da Silva says:

    Well if Marilyn isn’t having withdrawals yet, I am 🙂

    • marilyn says:

      A bit of withdrawal, but when you have to stay at home, there’s no point in bemoaning the fact, lots of gardening and housework, haha

  4. Kathy Leslie says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    Thanks for sharing your adventures. I am Bingewatching them tonight.
    Nice to live vicariously. Fun for me to see places I would never see otherwise.

    Experiencing a bit of cabin fever!, At least the weather here is getting nicer .
    Normally I would be On the North Shore, but that is shut down as is everything else.
    I am doing fine actually. The days seem to fly by.
    Stay healthy!!!

    • marilyn says:

      Yes Kathy, you stay healthy too, not hearing good things about US at the moment, have been keeping up with want Trump says, very interesting!

Leave a Reply to David Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.