ON A 10-DAY EX­PE­DI­TION TO WEEBUBBIE CAVE

Scuba Diver Australasia - - Contents - By Joseph Bi­canic

Like most avid divers, I use any ex­cuse to be un­der­wa­ter. Af­ter count­less reef dives, muck dives, wreck dives and the like, I be­came dis­sat­is­fied, look­ing for a dif­fer­ent un­der­wa­ter ad­ven­ture to ful­fil the ex­plorer in me. That’s when I was in­tro­duced to cave div­ing.

Div­ing the caves of Aus­tralia’s Nullar­bor Plain is no div­ing va­ca­tion. The 10-day ex­pe­di­tion in­volves sig­nif­i­cant ef­fort to reach the wa­ters, as well as a truck­load of equip­ment and lo­gis­tics

– a stark dif­fer­ence com­pared to the easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the caves in Mex­ico, Florida, and Sar­dinia. How­ever, the re­ward of step­ping into the un­der­world of the cave and de­scend­ing into the clear wa­ters makes all the ef­fort worth it.

THE SINKHOLE

It is an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney to the wa­ter. A sinkhole ly­ing 90 me­tres above the wa­ter (equiv­a­lent to a 30-storey build­ing) acts as a por­tal to the cave. It takes two full days for the team to setup camp, haul the equip­ment down the sinkhole, and carry it into the cave.

We de­scend over the edge of the sinkhole via a six-me­tre lad­der, shim­my­ing down a gen­tle slope to a sec­ond 12-me­tre lad­der, fol­lowed by an­other round of care­ful shim­my­ing to the en­trance of the cave, where a wooden lad­der awaits. From there, it is a short walk to the en­trance of the cave. Once in­side, we fol­low the marked path to Weebubbie Lake.

Div­ing the caves of Aus­tralia’s Nullar­bor Plain is no div­ing va­ca­tion

WEEBUBBIE

Weebubbie is an im­pres­sive lime­stone cave with crys­tal-clear wa­ter and pow­dery white walls, dec­o­rated with mas­sive white slabs of rock that ap­pear cut to shape – one would think that the pas­sages were mined rather than be­ing nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring open­ings. The dive site is more like a cave sys­tem rather than a whole cave, re­quir­ing sev­eral dives to ex­plore all the pas­sages.

The main dive is through the Rail­way Tun­nel – a wide chan­nel with a high ceiling that leads to an al­gae-cov­ered sec­tion known as the Snot Room. The depth here reaches 45 me­tres, so closed­cir­cuit re­breather (CCR) div­ing is rec­om­mended to min­imise deco times. To the right of the

Snot Room is an­other pas­sage with two tun­nels nar­row­ing to a low flat­tener that can only be ac­cessed by side­mount. We had to be mind­ful of trim and buoy­ancy to avoid white-outs in the nar­rower pas­sages.

The Dome Room is an­other tun­nel off to the right of Rail­way Tun­nel, with an ex­tremely large, breath­able cham­ber. Form­ing a per­fectly cir­cu­lar lake, the room is im­pres­sive in it­self. As we con­tin­ued swim­ming to the back of this sec­tion, we found some good holes to ex­plore that dropped down to about 30 me­tres deep.

Weebubbie Cave it­self has a 26-me­tre sinkhole sit­u­ated one me­tre away from

Weebubbie Lake, sep­a­rated by a nat­u­ral lime­stone for­ma­tion. The sinkhole makes for an easy, short no-deco dive and can be fully ex­plored in half an hour. On the other hand, Weebubbie Lake stretches out for around 150 me­tres un­til it dis­ap­pears into the cave sys­tem. The lake area is pre­dom­i­nantly shal­low, but the outer edges drop to over 30 me­tres in cer­tain ar­eas. The lake is best ex­plored at the end of a dive, giv­ing divers time to in­ves­ti­gate dur­ing their de­com­pres­sion stop.

Www.di­vead­dic­tion.me.

Joseph Bi­canic is the owner of Dive Ad­dic­tion. His first dive was in 1999 on Heron Is­land, and since then, he has been hooked on the sport. From sin­gle tank div­ing to tech­ni­cal div­ing, Joseph has trav­elled ex­ten­sively around Aus­tralia and abroad, en­joy­ing both easy dives and tech­ni­cal dives. Find out more about div­ing in Nullar­bor Plain at

Joseph caters to groups of six to 10, and trips run based on the avail­abil­ity of clients and site ac­cess.

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