The dry weather of the last couple of weeks had lifted hopes of a Tucks Rift dive this weekend but a call from Bernie (the farmer and caver who owns Jo the sheepdog) asking us to help with a cabling project in Dan Yr Ogof changed our plans. As a result Andy and I found ourselves in a very sunny DYO car park on Saturday morning preparing for a trip into Lake 3 and a dive through Pot Sump.
A few weeks ago a pair of cavers were trapped by rising floodwater forcing them to wait at a rescue dump for the water to drop before they could exit. No-one was hurt but the story did receive attention from the gentlemen of the press and the owner of the show cave was not impressed with what they said. As a result of this incident the owner (Ashford) has requested that the cavers’ access committee installs improved communications between surface and the point above the flood level where the cavers waited out the water and also provide a cable for a 110v power supply. Two drums of cable have already been taken into the cave and the route the cables will take through the dry passage has been selected. The only obstacle remaining is Pot Sump which connects Lake 3 with the rescue dump via the shortest route. To get the cable through the sump the committee wanted to use a haling rope. Andy and I had the job of swimming the rope through the 12 m long sump.
After the walk through the show cave and hopping over both barriers a team of about six arrived at Lake 3. Bernie stayed to feed the rope to us in the water and the others went round through the longer dry route to the ladder that drops down the Pot and into the water. Once we were in the water the visibility was very poor and we spent some time phaffing about with the wrong line before finally getting through Pot Sump and handing the rope to the waiting cavers. The return through the sump was also interesting. Although the sump is shallow and straight with plenty of room for most of its length the presents of a loose dive line (from the incident), the old telephone cable and the hale rope we had added made getting tangled a distinct possibility. A cautious exit was made by both divers. The thanks we received for completing this task seemed excessive for the 12 m of travel we had achieved.
After de-kitting and exiting the cave (thanks to Bernie for the carry) we changed and had a chat with Ashford about what had been done with the rope and the cave in general. He was pleased with the efforts thus far and asked us to return to have a look at a section of passages called The Battle of Britain, which lies beyond a sump. He wants this done because the hydrology of the cave has changed recently leading to unusual floods in some passages beyond the show cave. Ashford thinks the passages in Battle of Britain may be involved. It looks like we will be back in DYO soon.