Friday, 17 October 2014

Mallorca 2014 - Day 7 - Avenc De S'Embut - Magaluf

Friday was to be party night, so we headed off down country to Palma, golden sandy beaches on the south if the island, leaving Phil in bed to wrestle with the green snot monster. An hours drive brought us to Genova a little town on the outskirts of Palma that overlooked the beautiful harbour. Following the instructions in our trusty guidebook we hit a blank as the road to the mountain was now pedestrianised and covered in steps. A circuit of the town following the narrow twisting roads and hairpin bends eventually led us to the road and we started our ascent up the switchbacks on the side of the steep hill. We parked up below a tall monument where the party spilt into two. Those going for the day on the beach in Palma and those going off to cave. The four cavers kitted up, Mark, Chloe, Loz and Brendan headed up the hill towards the cave.


The gentle walk up the hill towards the cave - Photo by Brendan

The walk was one of the easier of the week, mostly along a rough track and with only 140m of ascent over the 2km walk in. Near the summit of the mountain, we took a 100m detour off the path to arrive at the entrance shakehole. Mark started rigging with the 80m rope, dropped down the entrance hole rigging the first free hanging pitch in a cave of the week, this dropped after 17m to the steeply sloping floor of the entrance chamber.

The head of the first pitch lies at the bottom of this shakehole - Photo by Brendan

Mark continued rigging the now typical Mallorcan sloping descent as Chloe now descended the entrance pitch. After a couple of minutes the standard “Rope Free” call came up from Chloe followed by the not so standard “Mind the SNAKE as you come down!!” This unsettled Loz a little who first requested an identification of the type of snake to which Chloe replied “You think I’am going to touch it? “ then a second request “well can you kill it then?” Chloe declined. Loz and Brendan both descended, the snake not to be seen again. The route down from the chamber was 60m of very loose spiralling descent which needed lots of space between each caver as any rocks dislodged bounced all the way to the bottom, and there were thousands to dislodge. We all met up at the bottom with Mark already taking photos. After a brief explore we made our way back up the cave taking photos including the 13m tall column that stood in the centre of the main chamber. The roof was spectacularly decorated, but the floor descended so steeply that it made it quite difficult to get good shots of the chamber. When the photo taking was completed we made our way to the surface looking out for the snake as we went.

Formations in the steeply sloping chamber at the bottom of the cave - Photo by Mark


The magnificent 13m tall column in the middle of the chamber - Photo by Mark


The magnificent 13m tall column in the middle of the chamber - Photo by Mark

Formations in the steeply sloping chamber at the bottom of the cave - Photo by Mark


Formations in the steeply sloping chamber at the bottom of the cave - Photo by Brendan


Formations in the steeply sloping chamber at the bottom of the cave - Photo by Brendan

Once back down the mountain to the carpark we then showered with bottled water, put on our glad rags and made ourselves ready for the big night out in Magaluf.

A free Parrot with every jug of Sangria - Photo by Mark


Caver's squeeze challenges in Magaluf bars! - Photo by Mark

Our last full caving day on Mallorca and I decided the best cave to visit would be the one with sand, sea and sun. Mark, Brendan, Chloe and Loz set off for a cave called S’Embut while Wal, Helen and I found the nearest beach and settled down for a hard day of sunbathing and swimming. Poor Phil stayed back at the villa as he had picked up a nasty bug, probably from the seawater the day before. In fact there was also a nasty strain of man-flu making its way through the group – Loz, Chloe and Mark had already succumbed and Helen was now feeling the effects too.
We all met up once the caving group resurfaced, with tales of snakes in the cave and an impossible floor (!) and after a quick wash and brush up we all descended on Magaluf, where I had promised the girls that A GOOD TIME WAS TO BE HAD. As we wandered round, Chloe pointed out that everyone we passed was at least octogenarian, and if that was my idea of a GOOD TIME then she wasn’t impressed. We picked a restaurant and whilst arguing with the waiter over the jug of Sangria he brought (half full of ice!) I enquired as to where the GOOD TIME was likely to be happening. It turned out that we were about half a mile away from the part of Magaluf I remembered (just) from girlie holidays in the past.
The rest of the evening passed in a bit of a blur as we only managed to get to three bars. They are generous to a fault with drinks in Magaluf! Proving that we are true cavers, we climbed and wriggled our way through every bit of the furniture and fittings in each bar that we could, finding this far more hilarious than the bartenders did… The rest of the night is best left to the imagination and thanks go to Brendan and Steve for staying sober and getting us back to the villa eventually.

Present Caving: Mark Burkey, Loz Appleby, Chloe Burney and Brendan Marris
Present Magaluf: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey, Steve Wal Wallis, Helen Nightingale, Loz Appleby, Chloe Burney and Brendan Marris
Reports: Caving: Brendan | Magaluf: Jess Burkey

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