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Tunnel Dive in Ontario

Tunnel Dive in Ontario - Ontario Caving

Tunnel Dive in Ontario – Ontario Caving – a bubbling resurgence

I took today off from my normal routine as of late (which is posting on the Edgehill Press site in support of my new book, “Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica“, it is a work of fiction about 3 unlikely heroes in Costa Rica who by various underhanded ways achieve some measure of success in the surfer town of Tamarindo). Instead I went out looking for caves so as to prepare for my usual summer of assorted caving explorations.

Our initial leads fell short today. We spent some time near Short Hills Provincial park investigating a rumor, as we were unsuccessful JC and I visited this spot out in the forest hoping to find other sinkholes. There are several other similar pools beside a river that runs along the edge of farmland. This spot was located by an associate who was using aerial photographs.

The pools bubble in the spring – and after a rainstorm they boil like a kettle. Though the nearby stream entirely sinks about 500 meters upstream and then resurges 50 meters away there is apparently no connection to the water that is bubbling out here.

Some years ago, in an effort to trace the source, two friends of mine dug out a fair bit of rock (the pool is about waist deep) and then one of them wiggled up a pheratic tube for about 200 feet. There was some obstruction at that point and he had to turn back. You will notice that the water is milky with the clayish soil from nearby fields. In exploring the underwater tunnel it was done entirely by feel, and I would imagine – pushing the tank along in front.

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Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of usĀ  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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This picture was taken on a recent exploration that JC and I did in an area that has long been suspected of being “cave rich”.

In Ongley’s long forgotten cave manuscript he relates the impression at the time of Ontario being a cave desert – a paucity of karst! not so! Theres lots of caves in Ontario you just gotta find them. Marcus Buck said that 90 -95% of Ontario’s caves are found beside a road or path – still true, its because of our rugged terrain and people’s unwillingness to hack through the bush. JC and I do that quite often and sometimes we hit lucky.

My book on Ontario’s cave geography “Rockwatching” is again available at Amazon. It appears that it had risen quite significantly in price while it was out of print – Teebooks1 – $156.13, The_Meirin_USA – $94.00, and any_book for – $56.46.

Rockwatching is back on at Amazon for $20.96 – buy it and stop e-mailing me for directions to caves, you’ll learn in the book how to figure those out for yourselves.

But for now, I hope to update you in the next month or so on our further explorations of Broken Rowboat cave – it all depends on whether the location is totally snowed in for the winter or not. It’s a hike of several kilometers through some pretty rugged terrain.

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A combined project between the Toronto Cave Group and Ontario Cave Divers

old pics 117, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Not bad for Ontario eh?

Beleive it or not this is a cave dig. The TCG and Ontario cave divers all worked on this project for a number of years. As you can see, it proogresed on through the winter. Generally speaking, at its lowest level the water was about knee deep when the pumps were running. As soon as the power stopped the pit began to quickly fill with icy water.

That tube that looks like a fire hose hanging into the pit was connected to a suction nozzle that sucked up gravel, clay and dirty water which were dumped out in the adjacent field.

Many believe that this is a tunnel that had formed before the ice age in an area known as “The roof of Ontario”. It would appear that the exposed rock in the area had once been an active karst but as it was buried under clay it stopped developing. We found numerous large bones in this pit (ice age caribou amongst them), but inexplicably the project ground to a halt shortly after we reached the source of the water – an underwater tunnel.

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Ontario cave with a scary past.

IMG_4403, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

The picture is a little blurry but I thought that I would post it today in memory of a time not so long ago when I was able to go outside without my nose almost freezing solid.

This is Donald of the SQS – a Quebec caving organization. Donald, Corneilie, Marc Andre and I had entered this Ontario cave and we followed it to its sump where there had been an especially harrowing diving accident some years ago. Two divers followed the underwater tunnels inward and only one returned. Fortunately the diver who came back went back to the surface for extra air tanks and then returned to rescue his buddy who had found an airpocket somewhere.

What was especially cool about this cave – aside from the dip at the entrance was the bats. They were fluttering around in the tunnels in significant numbers – possibly leaving the passages by an entrance other than the one we had used.

In reaching the furthest extent of the passages I was very interested to see the sandbars which seem re-worked each year. I cant be sure – maybe I was just confused by the map but in retrospect I think that maybe a passage; that is not mapped has been exposed from behind a sand bar. I hope to visit when the weather warms up to be certain. I was reluctant to probe further on my last visit as I did not want to disturb the sediment but with a map in hand I can seperate my confusion from reality. It’s probably just wishfull thinking though.

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IMG_4719, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Eleven kilometers of tunnel have been mapped beneath a large Ontario river. In places the passages stretch out across the bedding planes to nearly 90 feet in width. Some passages are still and cold, others have massive currents that threaten to sweep the unprepared off into blackness – one cave diver already lost his life there. The photo above shows an inland pool where one such tunnel breaks open close to the surface. Locals say that these places are great for fishing.

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