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Jan 29, 2004

BELLY-FULL CAVE


Position: WGS84 - 18 22' 46.8" N, 77 51' 59.3" W, +/- 5 m

Field notes: R. S. STEWART

Cavers: R. S. Stewart, M. Taylor, S. McCall

Time in: 16:00 EST, Time out: 16:30 EST

THREAT VULNERABILITY: Intermediate

After leaving Mafoota River Cave, we had returned Steven Durie, a local helper, to his yard. While dropping him off, he mentioned that there was another cave close-by. I'd printed out the known cave positions onto the topo section before I'd started the expedition, using the dbf and Arcview, and knew that this would be a new/unlisted one. This was very good.

Mr. Durie led on, and less than 15 m from the road, on the west side, we found a promising entrance. At the head of a seasonal streambed, now dry, an opening about 3 m wide, and 2 high, leads into a stream-passage cave. The entrance faces 145 deg true and is in a cut-away section of the pasture land to the west.

The others of the crew had changed out of their caving gear, as had I, so I decided to just have a quick look for potential, get a position, and then we would return at a later date. Wearing only cheap sandals, and shorts, t-shirt and helmet, I headed in alone. The passage carried on at the same size, trending 325 deg. This looked good, so I continued forward. After about 30 m, I hit some breakdown stuff that offered a couple of routes through, (above and below). Just past this, another passage joined from the south. The main passage carried on and so did I. After about 30 m more, with the passage beginning to step down somewhat, I decided to turn around. I had no flagging tape, my sandals kept falling off, and I had stubbed my toe. Heading back out, when I hit the breakdown boulders and the joining passage, I was temporarily confused as to which way to go. I gave a shout, knowing that Malibu was at the entrance, no great distance away, and when he had heard me and shouted back, I was able to spot my route and head out.

I got a good GPS position that plots perfectly on the map, (at a small crossroads), and we will most definitely return to finish the exploration and do a survey. This cave has potential.

Steven told us that the local name is Belly-Full Cave, so that is how it is being listed.

The morphology was much like the other caves towards Roehampton, strongly-bedded, but not as hard as the R. School Cave. I heard an Eleuth just inside the entrance.

N.B. (May 26/04) - We have posted the position for the entrance, but we would like to advise all other cavers who read these notes that we have priority on this cave and would like people to stay out of it for another few weeks, (until after the June expedition).

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