This article was first published in SumpThink in May 2005
Saturday 20 February 2005
Waitoru Station, Mahoeuni
Barry, Jen, Tracy, Martin, Douglas, Kim, Scott, and Gavin, ably lead by Uncle Bob
Bloody good fun, and that was just getting to the cave. With 4 in our Mitsi 4WD van, and 5 in Douglas's 4WD Toyota Hilux, this caving crew wasn't about to walk anywhere they didn't have too. With the exception of Jen who decided that some of the rough stuff got just too rough for her liking and elected to well; walk.
But having said that, the roads on Waitoru station are as welcoming as the Management and getting about with a modicum of 4WD power wasn't a problem.
Best we don't mention the first bit of Maui cave because as it turned out it wasn't Maui but rather Two Tone so we will have to return to do a proper explore of that cave another day.
Still rather perplexed by this short interlude underground that didn't fit with the survey we soon enough latched onto Maui's Hook passage and all scrabbled up then down to have a look at the rather nice pretties.
After a stretch of nice open easy steam way named Widdley Passage we had the roof come down and the water come up such that those vertically challenged got more than just their delicate bits wet. This bit, marked on the survey as Runckle, was in hindsight a pittance of things to come.
Even more open and easier stream passage followed appropriately known as Big Boy Passage. Maybe those early explorers recognised that it would take a "Justrite Big Boy" carbide lamp to light up this rather large stream way, or maybe there leader was simply well hung. On reflection of cavers probably the latter.
Anyway, it was all too good to last and with "Baptist Bath" looming on the survey I had more than an inkling of what was coming. You see my parents were Baptists and I got dragged along enough times to cotton on those Baptists, baptise by total immersion. None of this namby-pamby Micky stuff of a few drops splashed on you as a babe in arms. No, for us Baptists it's a full and proper dunking as an adult.
And so again, the roof came down and the water came up. Except this time the water up bit didn't stop until it was only those born in 1954 with a star sign of Aquarius and over 6 foot tall that were in anyway comfortable in the passage. Or in other words only Bob and myself were still able to just bounce of the bottom to catch the odd breath.
So we dutifully spread ourselves along the passage and encouraged the swimmers or passed or pushed the bedraggled until they could put their little pinkies on terra firma again.
What fun, but inevitably the cold started to catch up this some so the not far distant exit through a short crawl was welcome relief as was the still shining sun. Yep you bet, I want to visit Maui again soon. Might pay to keep an eye on water levels though, as there is not much room for error.