Freesteel Blog » A kayak diving, then a bit of underground and not much in the air

A kayak diving, then a bit of underground and not much in the air

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 8:03 pm Written by:

Half way through June and it feels like I’ve already blown this summer. Got to get busy.

On Saturday the 1st of June in the afternoon, I did a kayak dive on the SS Editor (wrecked in 1887) on tide rip rock at Penrhyn Mawr where the sea kayaks like to play. A bunch of them came through while I was thinking about diving, and I should have filmed them for context. Otherwise, it’s a more watchable vid than most and could be popular with those paddlers curious about what’s on the sea bed.

For me, this dive was a collector’s item. I hadn’t expected to kayak dive such an extreme place, but the psychological boat cover from our club diving the Missouri nearby gave me the impetus to go for it. Odd to note, my quivering fear of these actions seems to have vanished and I just got on with it. I don’t know why.

On Sunday 2nd of June a cave diver friend came out to Anglesey for a dive, having spent all Friday night in Large Pot on a trip where they grabbed 400m of new cave passage without surveying it. This was extremely rude and thoughtless, but we forgave him. Sea conditions were ideal, and we headed over to the wreck of the Hermine. I couldn’t recharge the gopro, so there’s no movie of the dive in which every living sea creature was encountered in its proper place, from the conger in its hole, to the crayfish on a ledge as though in an aquarium. Becka played surface cover in a boring sea kayak. We took a second dive out to 20m from the Hermine (having juggled diving bottles between us) hoping for a drift dive, but there was no current. There were, however, scallops. And that was the weekend, where I got 5 dives and Becka only got 2, but our visitor got 2 as well so it wasn’t completely wasted.

Becka spent the whole of the week agonizing over the extensions in Large Pot and couldn’t wait to get me underground at the weekend on Saturday 8 June when we would survey all the passages the first explorers had trampled through, but not drawn up. Her plan was that we would go down on two consecutive days because there was too much to survey in one trip. I knew this was implausible because (a) the length of the new discoveries was grossly over-estimated, and (b) I become very grumpy when I do more than 6 hours of caving per week — particularly in a very grubby wetsuit that needs to be patched after every trip. The mud in one of the crawls was exactly like Philadelphia cream cheeze — soft and very sticky. You won’t forget it. Hopefully the passage of lots of visitors will eventually smear it out of the way so it becomes a dim distant bad memory.

There’s not a lot of point taking a gopro underground in big passage, even with the brightest light I have. The Olympus camera that would have worked is terminally broken again after being taken on its second trip. This video shows us putting down conservation tape into the fresh passage so that cavers can keep to one well trampled path and avoid trashing 100% of the cave floor with their muddy boots.

On Sunday we stomped around the hillside looking for evidence of our discoveries on the surface (eg where this huge tunnel would have intersected with the valley) but drew a blank. Then stomped up Whernside looking for a place I could potentially fly my glider sometime when there is an east wind and I have energy for an insane carry up.

Finally, on Monday, I did actually fly my glider with almost disastrous style. I’m not pleased with it, so here is a link to the unlisted YouTube video. Fasten your seatbelts. It rapidly turns sheep shaped.

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