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Posts Tagged ‘caves of ontario’

Wasteland Waterway - an Ontario cave that just keeps on getting bigger

Wasteland Waterway - an Ontario cave that just keeps on getting bigger

Our aim today had been to reach the underside of a sink some 200 surface meters as the crow flies from the “Blue Barrel sink”.

The initial squeeze beyond the blue barrel sink seemed tighter than I remembered it last visit, but beyond that, as expected, the tunnels opened up well beyond our most hopeful expectations. The above picture was at the squeeze just beyond “Blue Barrel Sink”.

JC and I followed into a vadose trench where the roof was soon well above our heads. We left a decorated upper level behind (with it’s own exploration possibilities) and found ourselves following a zig zag course downward through sheets of rock and layers deeply pitted with scallops.

Today’s exploration ended in a shallow pool with 3 choices of tunnel moving forward. I suspect that a rightward leading tunnel could well underlie the sink for which we had been heading – but then it’s just purely speculation (well not entirely). We must already be quite deep beneath the surface and confirmation as to this passage’s eventual termination would require a stoop walk along the said passage which at first glance looks very jagged – though to it’s credit it is a little above the trunk passage in height so possibly a feeder passage leading from the suspected sink.

As an Ontario cave this one ranks up there with other more impressive local caves – who knows how big it will eventually get, it certainly blows a healthy draft. So far the formations have not quite matched those of Spanky’s Paradise, but they come a close second. This cave is certainly deeper than most Ontario caves (and I have been in most Ontario caves that are known to the caving community). As a straight line tunnel – thus far only branching now, it is definitely impressive for Ontario.

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IMGP0851, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

As possibly mentioned before I went to Mexico (Tulum) and having experienced some of their truly incredible caves I had said that JC and I were intending to dig out the blue barrel sink and enter Wasteland Water way partway along – in particular after the wet crawl through the elliptical wormhole. Admittedly we liked the idea of a bale-out spot in case we were trapped by flood. Further upstream the water reaches the roof when it rains and that was always on our mind while caving. This new entry way gives some peace of mind – we still have airspace at this point pictured above.

Worst case scenario, we are gonna survive a flash flood – that is important to the continuance of my caving enjoyment.

On the point of Mexico caves on the Yucatan, they are incredibly well decorated, but by my observations, the decorations seem to be composed of rough, puffy calcite and in cross section, multi colored as could be seen in broken stalactites. More exciting stuff on that and my disappointing trip to Rio Secreto (soon).

 

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IMG_8624, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This section of the Wasteland waterway is past the blue barrel sink, it is where the cave air is now from well below the surface, camera lenses fog and the water is noticeably colder than what is coming from the surface. We were refering to the wide expanse before this as the cobble beach.

Just beyond here a vadose trench cuts deeply into the floor and JC and I explored some short distance into the canyon. You can here rushing water somewhere up ahead so I wonder if this is water flowing in from the surface sinks along the forest edge, or if the downcutting is a result of a shaft somewhere on beyond.

I believe that we should get some significant distance from this tunnel and it is standing height once in the trench. sheets of rock cut inward from either side and the trench winds erratically to either side.

Crawling back was a lot harder than going forward. I struggled to keep the camera somewhat dry and finally it quit. When the batteries died I got the new batteries wet and then something went wrong inside.

We will continue our exploration over the next few weeks.

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Caving in Ontario - Wasteland waterway

Caving in Ontario - Wasteland waterway

Today’s push in Wasteland Waterway, a new cave that JC and I recently discovered has thus far exceeded our best imaginings. As you can see the entry crawl is wet and it gets wetter and more laborious as you go deeper in. We passed the blue barrel in the sink – our bailout route if the water level increases while we are in there. I must admit I began to suspect that it was rising as we were leaving.  At times the roof is almost touching the water and you must pick your path to keep yourself in air.

More pics and story to come.

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Ontario Cave - Down the rabbit Hole

Ontario Cave - Down the rabbit Hole - Wasteland Water Way

Though we were disappointed by the flooded entrance to Wasteland Waterway we decided to check a nearby sink and in hearing noise JC and I burrowed away and opened a karst window in the bottom of what looked like a meteor crater – the roar from within was encouraging.

The picture above shows what my camera picked up, a vadose passage that had airspace and was sucking more from the hole through which we peered. as we left we packed the sticky soil over a framework of sticks to keep our tunnel safe till we return next week. Hopefully the water will have dropped by then and we can push the cave.

From the guy who bought you the book Rockwatching, stay posted for the release of my new book about 2-3 months from now on caving in Ontario it will feature some 38 good Ontario solution caves (some possibly unknown even to experienced local cavers), along with details of their exploration and formation, lots of pics (no locations). Check out my last book –  Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica here.

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New Ontario Cave - Flooded out

New Ontario Cave - Flooded out

It rained all night last night so JC and I slogged through the marshy forest – clumps of gooey clay sticking to our boots, only to find the entrance to Wasteland Waterway completely submerged, though it was taking everything that was washed in to it there was no airspace for a caver.

Important point – rainfall on clay surface above karst equals death trap for those who are caving down below.

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