So after Abdamame, I went to the other side of Abdamame (the name alludes me, Zarour?). It was a long walk away. So we went in Norris, it was a bumpy sickly ride. There was much groping on Alys’s part. I also remember losing the feeling in my legs. Got quite far along the track and soon it was time to walk. There seemed to be a cave behind every shadow but we set off for our GPS target. Brendan & Henry went to cap a cave entrance, me, Mackrill and Sam went along to drop a couple of holes, got underground which provided a cool relief. More holes were explored – there were many to look at. One of note was a cave that had been explored by previous expeditions – we only know so due to the horrific bolts placed there.
The area seemed to be full of caves but many seemed not to go on – many entrances were logged. It was sweaty, really sweaty. I remember laughing at Ed Blows but I can’t think exactly why (perhaps it was the sight of him actually going caving). There was more prospecting but my memory fails me, so I’ll move onto ‘Nam and the recce. *Read the following in a gravely voice!*
It was a cool day. Change was in the air. We’d heard rumours of big caves – sixty second shafts, you name it. The shepherds had made the claim, we could only wait and see. We piled into the back of the van. Sweaty bodies fought for space, the sand and dirt giving colour to the exhausted frames. I parked alongside the road, we waited for our guide. We were quickly noticed and the farmer came to meet us. Tariq spoke to him, I spoke to Tariq and we went up the path. The clouds were grey, an usual sight.
We got to the hole, Ali and Ellie went to rig. Glen was overheating and slept by a tree for a bit, as did Sema. I, always the diplomat, spoke to Tariq and Mohammed (the farmer). I gleaned some dubious facts about the French, and how they had done a load of stuff maybe 15, 20 years ago. No-one was sure and the numbers kept changing. Ellie went down, Ali went down and I joined them. We got to a ledge with many deceased creatures.
The silver snake skin caused Tariq some morbid amusement. The joke translated by expression rather than word. Now that’s what I call black humour (what a racist!). We carried on down the cave, landing at the bottom faced by a mountain of muddy boulders, with going leads at the top. Excited, we continued to explore. The terrain was forbidding, as I was to find to my detriment. Ali came back (with Tom2?) after exploring a lead and we headed back down to a pitch head. They were clear, I waited for the last few to walk across before I began the perilous descent. The handhold I had been holding oto with my right hand for the previous minute powdered.
I fell. I hit a boulder. I fell. I hit a boulder. In the slow motion my mind took what could be loosely called control. Absorb the impact. Contour to the boulders. Doing so allowed me to land on a boulder and regain control. The only real injury I had sustained was grazing my thigh, groin to knee cap. I tottered along, fighting back the pulses of pain. I held my breath and calmed down. The objective was to get out of that Hell Hole.
Prussacking is difficult in that situation. With each step, I could see ooze emanating from my right limb. My mind thought of the healing processes at hand, my heart kept pumping. I heared rumbling, various sphincters tightened. Fortunately it was lightning rather than the cave collapsing. As I neared the entrance, the searing heat hit me. I swung about, getting clear and sought my water. I poured it onto the wound. It burned. The water was too hot to drink, to clean but the right temperature to throw over Ellie. Using Ali’s first aid kit, my leg was bandaged. I hobbled to the car. The exped for me was over.
After the war
The battle was lost. Maimed and useless (some things never change!), I joined the recce team. Henry, Matt Wire, Me and Mackrill, set off in the Landy, to a far off destination. We picked up a hitch hiker who was very grateful and understood nothing of mine and Matt’s conversation, much to his loss – the world was truly understood. We drove to Mamoon’s (house?) and waited. It was hot. Mamoon appeared, we washed and set off. I can’t remember what we did that afternoon – perhaps that merits a trip report by one of the other members?
We went to see the 9 cumac resurgence, it was impressive. We went back up along the valley and explored an inlet. The feeding plain was interesting. There were no rivers. We were taken to see Giant’s knee print (I think I’ve got the wrong name…). It was a big collapsed chamber, indicavtive of what could lie beneath the plain. There was a shaft to drop, this was done – from what I remember being told it went 25-30m and connected into old fossil passage to its active parallel shaft which crapped out. A very good idea which came from Katie which is to go back there when it snows and look for blow holes in the snow. That evening I went with Mamoon and his son (who speaks very good English) to watch the football (Portugal vs Spain, an absolutely cracking game), thus committing heresy in the caving world.
Mackrill gained a good insight into the Moroccan caving scene and I think some of the politics involved. Cave of the Monster was good – we got to the end and the immortal words were uttered: ‘This would be a good dig if in the UK’. As for a recce, we enjoyed it but it was not perhaps as useful as it should have been… It did highlight the fact that the way to go caving in Morocco is in an air conditioned 4×4.
Then we drove back. I asked Peachey to teach me all of Geology. It was surprisingly interesting! Then I went to Scotland.
Addendum: I had a meagre 14 Nosebleeds compared to Henry’s 21. It is very important that this is noted.