12 September 2017

Bungling in the dig

We had three nights in the dig in a row! A luxury. The previous time we had not had explosives, so we had had time to drill lots of holes. This time we did have explosives, so we could go and fill all these shot holes and have (literally) a blast!

We went in and got started. I had suggested Miles charge the shot holes while I take the drill up and drill some more holes higher up. If we would blast all shot holes Miles had made the week before, the vertical passage would be wide enough for him; then it would be time to make the ceiling-parallel passage big enough too. So I lugged the heavy thing up. I had a look; I decided the first tight bit would be sorted by one well-placed charge in a ceiling slab that had come down. I drilled the hole and moved on. Then there was a sticky-outy rock; this one did serve a purpose as a landmark and as a barrier for rocks I would throw out of the working end to slide down and clog the passage lower down. I put a shot hole at a level where I thought I would be able to get past easier without it losing its barrier function. Then I moved on again.

I went to the far end. There was one slab on the side there that stuck out a lot. I gave that a shot hole too! Then I went into the hole I was digging. One rock on the side was in the way. I started drilling it, but it started to move! It slid onto my foot. Oh dear. Another reminder of why it is important to make sure Miles can get here. I managed without though, and got it off my foot without dropping it on my hand. I proceeded carefully! I had another rock in mind for drilling. This one stayed put but split. Oh well, if I can take it apart with the hammer function then even better I suppose. But then I heard Miles call. I went down to talk to him.

He had been loading the shot holes but was running out of resin. He figured he might go and get some more; there should be some at lake level. In the meantime I would make my lowest shot hole a bit deeper (Miles handed me the longer drill bit) and fill up the shot holes higher up. He handed me the stuff and vanished. I deepened the first hole and set out to charge it. I had to first blow the drill dust out of it; Miles had handed me the blow tube. But it was blocked! Oh dear. I had a look; there was resin in both ends. Miles, what did you do to that thing? With a pointy bit of slate I managed to unblock the one end. The other end was more of an issue! This just wouldn't work. I went down. I knew we had a knife there; I would have to cut off the end!

I tried not to cut off too much; in the end I had an opening again. A narrowed one but maybe it was enough. I also brought some more charges up; I would need a really short one and Miles had not given those to me. I went back up and tried again. The blowing power wasn't enough yet. Oh dear! I blew out the first hole without the tube, charged it, and stemmed the hole with the last resin we had. The nozzle had clogged up so I had to use a new one. This wasn't going very efficiently.

Then I heard Miles return. He hadn't found any resin! He had found the other Thursdaynighters, though. That's nice too! And I remembered we had some stemming in Generator Chamber. Miles went to get it. And to unblock the tube. I spent my time trying to open out a passage at a right angle from the original one; there was a big open space I could see. Maybe it was cool to explore? And if stuff would go wrong, maybe it could be an emergency exit.

Miles came back and I was back on. I filled all the shot holes we had left, and then it was time to set them off. We would start at the top and work our way down! I couldn't link the two top ones (too far apart) so I had to do only the very top one. I clambered down and set it off. We then had a coffee. Then it was time to wire up the next one! It was tiny; I just went around the corner and shouted to Miles he could go and set it off. Nothing happened! Oh dear. I checked the wire. All good! WTF? Oh well, we had the whole lower batch to go so let's forget about that one and move on to those. Time was running out!

I wired up all the lower charges (only the ones in the vertical passage; the other one didn't reach either) and went out. Miles would set of this round. He checked the resistance; that was, as expected, a lot. Then he pressed 'fire'. Nothing! Of course not; he hadn't charged the detonator. What is that; Miles not being able to blast? I asked him if that was why the previous blast hadn't worked. A guilty grin appeared on his face. That was enough answer. He charged the detonator and tried again; success! Then we did a final round in the slab that had come out of the ceiling a few weeks ago. It was in the way. By then it was almost time to go; I stuck my head into the vertical passage and saw it was indeed nice and wide now. Good! We would have quite some tidying up to do though. Next time. When we could also set off the two left-over charges! But that wouldn't be in a while; Miles would go on holiday. And then when he would be back we could also finally bring down the dangly slabs at the entrance. If they haven't done it themselves by then!

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