23 December 2017

Bonus digging

This week Miles had a camera crew in his mine that needed looking after, so he couldn't go digging. But he clearly felt the loss of some progress, and rather unexpectedly I get a message on the Saturday asking if I could dig on Sunday. Eh, yes, I could! I figured I had deserved a proper weekend after the rather busy week I'd had. And the suggested time period fit nicely between being the call-out for one of our chaps who was going to go underground with a friend (it is generally a good idea if someone knows where you go and when you should be back), and attending the Christmas do a colleague had organised.

I drove down, walked up, and met Miles. Soon we were in the dig. I got up first and had a bit of a prod. The week before Miles had started trying to bring rocks down from above a nice protective rock that prevented anything falling on your head, and I picked up where he had left off. But I'm terrible at it! It's the unsupported waving of a metal rod at distant rocks and that's best done with strong arms and big hands. I have none of that! Miles does. So after I'd been at it for a while, not even doing all too bad, I asked if he would take over. And he did! But he was only there for a short while when the wall started moving again. Oh dear! It looked a bit bad. I figured he might need a quick way out, so I slid down to the largish cavity below to make space. Instead of reassured he felt abandoned. Oh dear again!

There were two issues; one was a block that was about to come down. It did, without hitting Miles. The other was the block that had been above that one, and which Miles had fixed with a sacrificial drill bit. But now the drill bit was the only thing keeping it up. That wasn't much! After a bit of pondering we decided to try bring it down from a bit of a distance. Miles fixed some surplus firing line to the block and pulled. It helped a bit, but then the line snapped. But now the gap between block and wall was so big I could fit my belay belt around, and pull with that. That worked!

We retrieved the drill bit which didn't even look bent, and threw both blocks down. I prodded the wall a bit more and a lot more came off. I had thought the wall had been supporting the rubble, but it turned out it had been the other way around. Weird! But now we have more room to manoeuvre. I'm sure next time we can get some big blocks down and who knows how much closer to a breakthrough that will get us!

By then it was time for me to go. I said goodbye to Miles who had more work to do on the Manager's office, and changed from my caving gear straight into a party dress. Off to Gerlan! Where Martin threw his annual Christmas do. A very nice day! 

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