Underground Caving Adventure

Trip Start Jan 20, 2007
Trip End May 06, 2007

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, March 26, 2007

Arrived at Waitomo in the afternoon and chilled out before waking up early the next morning for our Blackwater Rafting Trip!! We got all kitted up in wetsuits, helmets etc and after a quick abseiling tutorial we were taken to the entrance of a cave which was essentially a hole in the ground. So (after being attached to the cable in our harness) we hadto lean back and step off before slowly descending ourselves through the small hole opening and then tackling the 50 metre drop. Once you'd squeezed through the opening the underground cave opened out into a massive hall but it was pitch black! We had headtorches on but typically as I was coming down I hit my head on the rock and my light went out. Huh. I was now suspended god knows how far above the floor in a pitch black cave. Ummmm hellooo anybody there?! Thankfully managed to descend all the way down the rope where they could fix my light again. Phew!

Then we got to do a flying fox zip wire through another section but for this they made you turn off your lights to add thrill factor! Yeeehaaa pretty incredibly zipping through the pitch black underground until I got to the end and the man jumped right in my face and shouted BOO! Good job the wetsuit could hide the evidence of my fear...! Next we were each given a blow up ring to jump into the underground river with. Wooooo... ARGH thats freezing!!! And apparently there are eels and all sorts in there too. We then made a chain and floated along the river staring up at the rock above which was very enchanting- thousands of tiny glow worms lighting up the ceiling. They are in fact technically maggots though and make web like dangly bits from the roof and glow brightly to attract and catch their prey. Apparently its their poo that actually glows though. Nice. However after this larva stage, the maggots then turn into flies but are left without a mouth, so of course die after a day. Therefore their sole purpose is to light up the caves all twinkly for us!

We then ditched out rubber tubes and continued through the caves sometimes swimming, wading or climbing. Also a cool water slide randomly and a couple of very tight spaces to squeeze through. Finally in order to resurface at the end of the trip we had to navigate climbing up 2 underground waterfalls which was very tricky! The guide was pointing out the hand and foot holes for us which was going very well until he instructed me that my next foot hole was essentially by my shoulder. Hey?! I'm not that acrobatic! Somehow managed it after a bit of scuffling and then we emerged into the welcome sunlight and went back for some soup and a bagel. My toes eventually defrosted after a few hours.
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