Got up at the crack of dawn to drive to Waitomo in the [still] pouring rain for some cave adventures. OK, I know my usual reference for the "crack of dawn" on this trip has been when I haul my ass out of bed before 10 but today we got up at the ungodly hour of 6:15. And drove 2 hours to the middle of nowhere for The Black Water Rafting Company Black Abyss Cave Adventure. I know, it sounds cheesy.
Ah, but things can sound deceiving. It was great fun.
Let me explain just what is involved. First, they suit you up in 5mm thick wet suits and booties. They give you some abseiling equipment [harness and such] and a hard hat with a battery powered light. You are then driven about 5 Km away to a whole in the ground at the side of a cave. You are given 10 minutes of abseiling instruction and away you go down a large dark hole in the ground for about 70 feet. When you arrive at the bottom, you get to sit around for a few minutes with the others in your group and chat. We discovered everyone [except me and Bianca] was a consultant. Anyway, I digress. After removing some of the abseiling gear, you get hooked up to a line called a "flying fox" you then shoot down this rope and pulley deal for about 50 feet in pitch dark. Good Times! When you get to the bottom, you are deharnessed and everyone crawls through the cave a bit. At another spot overlooking the river at the bottom of the cave, you sit and have coffee, tea and little biscuits [very civilized]. After that, you squeeze your fat ass into an inner tube, jump butt first about 15 feet off a cliff into pitch black water. For a while, you float and swim along, bumping into the walls and looking up at the Glowworms, which are actually shitting carnivorous maggots sitting in a pile of snot waiting to breed. They are actually quite lovely to look at. To make them glow brighter, the guides will make loud noises in the water. They glow brighter because the noise quite literally scares them and the shit their pants.
Anyway, back to the tubing. Actually quite fun even though the water is about 50 degrees. After the tubing, there is some swimming through the caves, crawling through narrow passageways, swimming through narrow passageways [think 2 feet high in many places], trudging through water, crawling through passageways that are 2 feet wide, all sorts of fun wet stuff. In the middle, you break for juice and chocolate and try a game called "cup bouncing" where you try and make a plastic cup bounce, mouth down, in the water. I got it twice. Then there is more swimming and crawling. Then you climb up 3 waterfalls in order to get out of the cave.
All in all, you spend about 3 hours underground; you travel 1.5 kilomteres [about a mile] to end up 450 feet from where you started. It was a BLAST! Our guides where hysterical, the people were fun and the swimming and crawling was fascinating. The caves were very cool. And, I only hit my head 14 times!!!
We drove home, exhausted, and went to the Pig and Who Ha for some pub grub and a rugby match on the telly. Afterwards, we went to the Polynesian and soaked some more. Bedtime........
We were going to go zorbing [look it up at www.zorb.com] but it was still raining and we were a bit tired.