Caving - the ultimate test

David Williams

Resident 'Bear Grylls' for Getfrank.

As far as outdoor pursuits go caving definitely is one of the ultimate tests. It enables you to push your mind and body to the limit in a unique environment that fosters life changing experiences. Caving has the potential to put you in a head space of total clarity and enlightenment where all the worries and stresses in your life appear to be ‘sweet as.’ I can almost guarantee you will catch your self saying ‘ah she’ll be right’ on a regular basis for some time after your caving experience. I mean when you’re a few hundred meters under the ground who cares that you have paper work piled so high that you can’t see your receptionist’s cleavage or that Barry didn’t invite you to poker night. 

Caving can cater for all different levels of experience with environments and challenges which are unique to each cave. The activities vary from a tire float trip through some scenic caves where you can get in a sneaky pash under the glowworms, to multi-day cave mapping expeditions where your organs spend most of the time pressed against your ribs. Even for the keenest adventurer caving can provide some uninspected surprises that even the great Jean Claude VD would stop and take a second look at. I have had the pleasure of experiencing a wide variety of caving challenges. Some resulted in a visit to the chiropractor for constantly rubber necking some of the most astounding natural sculptures in the world, and on the other side of the coin more extreme expeditions resulted in a trip to the chiropractor after maneuvering my mesomorphic frame through gaps you couldn’t throw a turd through. 

On a bright sunny day at Waitomo in October 2001, it then turned muggy and rained; five minutes later it was sunny again. We all put on our wetsuits and excitedly grabbed our tire tubes, and after taking time out to mock the people who put their wetsuits on backwards we headed off on the trail to the cave entrance. We were given our brief from the instructor then it was balls to the wall charge down the river. After 30 seconds of doggy paddle races we found ourselves lying paralytically facing the cave roof pointing in awe at the scenery. This ‘scenic float’ I had written off as not hardcore enough was absolutely blowing my mind and before I knew it I was at the glowworm section of the cave next to the girl I had been wooing all trip. It would have been rude not to try my chances as if there was ever a chance it was now.

It turns out there was never a chance.

I quickly got over that as the rapid section came up, which in the dark is quite an experience (plus she fell out of her tire). After some more breathtaking sights and one more doggy paddle race on the home stretch we were back on dry land with huge smiles on our faces and ready for a nice cold one to warm us up. 

 
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