Sunday, 1 August 2010

Little Neath River Cave - Three Rescued From A Watery Fate

We take our job very seriously in the BRO. When word came to us of three Australians lost in the vicinity of Little Neath River Cave, the team of Brendan, Keith, Rachel and myself were quickly on the scene. Little Neath River Cave, an unpleasant looking hole in the river bank with a fine collection of large spiders and a significant amount of river pouring into it. The entrance to LNRC is loads of fun, mostly flat out crawling in the river, but also featuring a constricted duck which is so narrow we had to take our helmets off, and involves being neck deep in the river. That was followed by a rather nice waterfall to slide down, and then a long section of passage with a slippery flat floor along which it was easier to let the water push you, rather than trying to walk. Shortly after this we encountered the first of the missing Australians, happily still intact, and shortly afterwards we located the other two, battered and dented but otherwise unharmed.A little further along we stopped in a shallow part of the stream where we spotted three cave fish! They seemed quite unafraid of having visitors, one even letting Rachel pick it up. Alternatively, Brendan and Keith’s new lights may have been so bright that the fish were unable to see anything at all (and were possibly also lightly grilled).
We continued into the cave and visited the other end of the sump from Bridge Cave before the charming crawl through the canal, a couple of hundred metres of hands and knees crawl in water with just headroom between the water’s surface and the roof. From there we continued down the stream passage through some impressive caverns to sump two, and then returned to check out Genesis Gallery, a pretty area with some nice formations, particularly a set of well decorated avens.On the way back we opted for dry crawling rather than wet, so took the Canal Bypass past some more nice formations and up another pretty streamway. After rejoining the stream from the entrance we retrieved the three missing Aussies and made our way back out. Rachel got a surprise on the way as one of the Aussies escaped from Brendan, but she quickly regathered it as is floated into her hand. If possible, the duck was even more fun on the way back! After exiting, we wandered upstream to where a group were camping on the river bank to return their missing property. They seemed very impressed with the speed and efficiency of the Beer Rescue Organisation and vowed to call on us again if they lost a pack of Fosters again! Keith took video at various points, and has produced this classic memento of the trip:

Present: Keith Edwards, Rachel Dearden, Richard Dearden and Brendan Marris

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