Having re-cut the route it was time to recruit a team to help carry the drills, rope, camera and camping kit we would need over the following few days, and so Dave, Frank, Tim, Toby, Rachel and myself headed off with heavy packs to again do the long walk to Blue Moonlight Bay.
At the head of the first pitch Dave and Frank turned to have a more relaxed amble back to camp whilst the rest of us went in search of the next pitch. Unfortunately, we missed the way on and wound up seeing more of the cave than we’d bargained for. Time was pushing on and so after eventually finding the head of the 2nd pitch we dumped kit and headed back to camp ourselves.
A day of rest to rest my weary legs, catch up on washing and pack personal camping kit
We had hoped to recruit more people for the Blue Moonlight Bay camp, but only managed Tim, Rachel, Mark S and myself. This would mean that on top of the personal camping kit we needed to take we would also need to shoe horn in all the kit the previous team of 6 had dropped at the head of the second pitch. The 11km walk felt good with the lighter packs and we made good time. The 2nd pitch was soon rigged, dropped and we got to camp without any further navigational issues. After an early lunch and with our camp unpacked, we headed off with Tim to take a look at a lead further in. After dropping the pitch which required 50m of rope Tim found a mere hundred meters or so of passage before reaching sumped areas. On our return to camp a racer snake guarded the route and so I couldn’t help myself and called Mark S back up to help take a few photos.
It may not look much but such a welcome relief from the bitey things!
What a charmer
Today our objective would be a bolt climb at the far reaches of the cave. A really interesting route climbing phreatic tubes covered in calcite coral until we were finally looking down into a chamber below. A rope was rigged and I began setting up camera gear whilst Mark S and Tim headed up climbs across the chamber to begin the bolt climb. Rachel kindly helped with further photographs before the traverse was stopped by a wall of hollow calcite and an unfortunate retreat back to camp with a couple of further photos on the way.
Rachel makes her way in to the chamber with Tim just a dot in the ceiling
A welcome reprieve from the heat at this shower inlet
We broke camp with very heavy packs. As we made our way out my Petzl transporter could take it no longer and the shoulder strap failed. From this point onward it was a struggle to keep up with the others and I was certainly glad when we paused to grab a picture of the Terikan at the lowest level of the cave.
The journey back down the cliff face and across the jungle floor was no easier with the weight of the pack on one shoulder and I was massively grateful when Si appeared just before Lubang Cina and took some of the weight from me. Mark W had also walked the 8 kilometres of the Head Hunter trail to help lighten our loads and so the rest of the walk back to camp 5 was almost pleasant…..almost. Back at the camp we broke out the beers and had a fabulous final night at the camp stargazing and reminiscing over the past couple of weeks.
The team at camp 5
After the past couple of weeks treks the 9 km walk back to the boats was a breeze. Back at HQ the last of the gear was fettled, though Si, Mark W, Di and Frank had already taken care of the lion’s share. A delicious BBQ was hosted by Vino and Rambli
And I thought my pack was a pain
Vino and Rambli hard at work
Mulu 2020 sponsored by Tiger
Bye Bye to Mulu, all that was left was to use up the last of our Ringgits at Ming’s on G&T’s and Jager Bombs!
Sorry Si.....Couldn't resist
January 21st…..My Birthday…..Leptospirosis......I go all the way to Mulu to get a virus I could have got for half the price in the UK!!!