Dylan Kocher , Cameron Macdonald 

With SMMC open again and LL breathable I wanted to get into the master cave properly since only popped in last Thursday to change the dye detectors with Rob and Chris. I love bringing new people into caving as seeing the glares and awes of an exciting new experience is great and reminds me of why I love it so much throughout my experiences today. So, in the spirit of both, I called Cam. Why Cam because he is nuts like me and willing to do anything. I have previously taken Cam to Giants a very beginner cave and this is a pretty big difference. Of course, this is not a very “smart” decision to make as Cussey holds very tight and wet caving that even most cavers find unpleasant and somewhat daunting. There are a select few that absolutely thrive and love this environment who are comfortable with being uncomfortable. Cam is one of these people at heart and is the reason we get on so well. Arriving at the car park to gear up cam shows me his foot. A broken toe. But there are more also massive scrapes up his arms both sustained in a tree-climbing accident due to “letting go”(arm scrapes). But retaining the can-do attitude we laughed and carried on.

A broken toe, perfect way to start a caving trip


At the lid, Cam lowers himself down onto the first entrance pitch. Oh, and have I mentioned that this is his first-ever pitch albeit some light practice in a tree? Once down we had a gander at Nomenca rift then through coconut cavern arriving at the second pitch. Once talked through the second pitch we arrive at the fun stuff. LL is nice and open and although Cam went head under anyway, knew that my judgement of character was spot on and we would have a fun trip. Talking all the way about the area and surrounding sections of passage we make our way to race against time. I had been avoiding the conversation of the free dive as you never know how someone will react until under the gun but with boil up ahead I give Cam the lowdown and the kid doesn’t blink an eye. In I go surfacing and give three tugs. A minute passes while I analyze the movement of water, the sound of the splashing against the roof with the movement of the rope. I gathered he put himself in the water and positioned himself at the dive. Just like fishing the instant hit of the line signals the beginning of an experience that will always be remembered. Bursting out of the sump I ask how it was and the reply was “extremely committing”. Spot on. In the master cave, we take an intimate look throughout and discuss the features of the walls and boulders and make our way to sphincter aven. Once in we made our way out but I thought it was good to state out loud that any injuries sustained at this point if rendering any of us immovable (broken leg ect..). You would probably die of hyperthermia before help arrived and with this, we kept a lid on some of our more light-hearted free-climbing tendencies continuing back. To keep this s, it was a great trip and some of the most fun caving I have done, offering a lot of experience in one go and how Awesome it is that an absolute novice got to see what others may never, even in this great circle of cavers. I’m sure Cam will be back and right with me when I come up with some more on-the-day ideas.