Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Whats this feeling?



There is a guy at work who has been taking a group of new staff caving. I started it by taking them to Goatchurch, but he took over taking them to harder more technical caves.

Very quickly they progressed to Sumping: Now sumping is a bit like ducking, only far more scary for me. Ducking requires a caver to enter into a small water filled hole, normally with a breathing space. Sometimes you can get away with just putting your chin in the water, sometimes you have to put your mouth in the water and breath your nose. In the worse case you have to lie on your back with your nose in the roof. I once took on a duck in a cave called Water Wheel Swallet. The first duck I passed with just my chin in the water. The second duck required me to go lower, I took my helmet off but still I couldn't get my head through without putting my face fully in the water, it would of only lasted a second but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, in effect I froze. Now water is ten times more heat conductive than air, I am sitting in a water filled hole getting colder and colder with my partner shouting at me to come out, it took me two days to feel warm again!


Now the sump or to give it tis correct name sump1 in Swildons hole is a short under water section-a sump is a gap that is completely full of water, so you have to take a deep breath and go under the water and pull a guide rope to bring you up the other side- I looked at the sump closely but just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I'm just too scared, when somebody runs out of air underwater, there bodies enter a trace like state you feel warm and safe. After a while your body takes a breath, this is an action you cant control, it just happens. You suck in water and either your throat closes up to protect your lungs or the water enters your lungs and destroys the small sacks which aids breathing either way you die. Ive got every right to be scared, but you do need to be underwater for a long time and sump1 only last a few seconds.


So this guy has taken these 6 people, they have never done any caving before until they came to work and within 4 weeks they are caving at a higher level than me. Because they can do the sump and I cant.

So what is this feeling: jealously! my inability to push myself beyond my own safety limits, me laughing at myself because I am such a complete and utter failure, a realisation and I cant control my fears and that maybe I ve picked the wrong sport or maybe I am not actually a caver and Ive been joking myself all along. On the plus note my data loggers are already in the cave and they will come out on Saturday then will see if my experiment will work or if I'm barking up the wrong tree.


1 comment:

Rake said...

Sam!! You are the best caver I know! And I think as well is crazy to go in there with such a few trainig!
I hope they'll be fine! :)