14 November 2013

Back into Jenga

The river is down, the caves are dry! After weeks of doing some digging-for-the-sake-of-digging we could go back into our normal venue Jenga Pot, where we know the digging might actually get us somewhere. For some weeks, there had been so much water down there there was no way we could go down there. But now the coast was clear. Or at least clear-ish. What's prozaically known as "the slops" was still blocked; too much water had brought too much silt in. But we could at least get to it! And clear it out. So we did.
My first task was lie flat on my belly in a narrow tunnel, have drag buckets full of slop pushed in my direction, dragging these out (backwards) and attaching them to a rope. Others would then haul the bucket up and out, empty it, and send it back. But then tactics changed, and Laura tried to burrow straight though, and I became redundant. I went up the rift a bit, and found a new job; Chalky decided the rift was not deep enough and started to send buckets full of slop up on his own initiative. Now it became my job to get them off the rope at the top of the vertical bit, and hand them to Handshake who would send them in the direction of the exit. How many ropes, pulleys and people that took I don't even know; in a cave you rarely have an idea what's beyond the person behind and the person in front of you. But I was impressed by how much of a well-oiled war machine it was! If the place doesn't flood in the meantime we might be able to get through next week. I won't be there, but I keep my fingers crossed! And maybe by the time I get back, we can get all the way to the end again...
The big karabiner to from which I'd unhook the drag buckets

Looking down to where the buckets come from. It's not only foggy, it's also a bit smoky; not only because of the cigarette habits of some of the chaps, but possibly also because there was a fire outside, and some people think it's funny to chuck smoking embers down the shaft...

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