Jul 13 31
Over a late breakfast we noticed another brush fire, maybe they are quite common out here at this time of year? Anyway it wasn’t between us and the cave so off we went. Today’s journey in was easy after doing all the carrying yesterday. We arrived at dive base in good time kitted up and got on with it. The plan was for Jim to go into Elephant sump and survey as much of the line as possible. I was going to look for more passage in the damn bypass area, along Buttermere and around the downstream end of Eely Mud Eye chamber.
With the viz not fully recovered from the previous day the journey through to AGM Bypass was pleasant but not as picturesque as the previous day. Unfortunately things did not improve in Buttermere suggesting that the poor viz may have been caused by some other factor. Luckily at the damn bypass things improved and as Jim swam off to survey Elephant Sump I got on with searching for ongoing passage. We have always hoped that we would find a lead off to the west where there is a large blank area on the survey. Underwater all the good leads seemed to go off to the east so that is where I looked. Every single one went to an alcove so I reeled my line back in. While doing so the viz (which I had totally trashed rummaging around in silt banks) improved – perhaps indicating flow. Continuing to reel in the line the silt cloud was again met; maybe there is an active inlet on the west wall at that point? Both sides and the floor of Buttermere were then searched as well as the end wall of Eely Mud Eye chamber but everywhere went to alcoves.
Having completed most of my plan I headed out. Jim caught up with me at the AGM Bypass having completed the survey of Elephant Sump in one go. He also noted that a passage previously spotted in Upstream Whitworth sump most likely links through to Elephant Sump. It should also be noted that a considerable amount of water was flowing over the cascade in Whitworth stream passage. We shifted all the dive gear through the breakthrough window and swam out. We had used most of our air so we had to remove cylinders for filling. Thankfully that didn’t slow us down too much. Back at the van we bumped into Tim W which was very sociable.
Series - Matienzo Caving
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