Waitomo Caves

Trip Start May 08, 2006
Trip End May 06, 2007

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Saturday, July 8, 2006

"There is a cave, boy. A cave of wonders. Filled with treasures beyond your wildest dreams."

Well there was no magic lamp in Waitomo caves, but there were glow-worms, stalagtites, stalagmites, rubber tubes and clay. Lots of clay. Potholing is one of those things that I've always wanted to do and never got round to - as is the case with everything back home. So it was time to add that achievement to my list and start crawling around caves and through cracks that only a small insect should ever attempt to squeeze through. Armed with a wetsuit and my very own helmet and dodgy headtorch we marched down the hill in our wellies, feet squelching in booties, and a murmur of excitment and expectation filling the air.

We finally got to the hole and, like the world's greatest explorer, descended intrepidly down the ladder into the all-encompassing darkness. I couldn't see a thing thanks to my headtorch so John led the way to the marker and we waited while everyone else came to join us. The guides led us through the cave - meandering with the underground river that carved it - clambering over rocks and through holes, banging knees on unseen boulders, bashing heads on the ceiling. If I didn't have that helmet I would most likely be impaled on a stalagtite and hanging from the ceiling. The water was freezing, and when it came to swimming through a particularly deep section it would seep slowly through the wetsuit and run all the way down my chest when I stood up again. Argh.

Other cave pursuits included a mudfight with lovely soft gooey clay - I got a couple of good face shots in - and floating down the river on rubber tyres with our lights off, marvelling at the constellation of glow-worms on the ceiling.
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