Jamaican Caving Notes
Feb 4, 2004
Field notes: I. C. CONOLLEY
Cavers: I. C. Conolley, R. S. Stewart, M. Taylor, D. Williams, L. Bolt
(Continued from Hutchinson's Hole, Feb 1, 2004).
I knew it was not the end on the previous Sunday, for Inspector Jackson had made it clear that he wanted us to get the body up. We were not inclined to go back down. It was not a picnic. I could not imagine he had intended now. That must have been just my tired brain imaginings.
Then when in Kingston there was voice mail for me to call Superintendent Palmer. Then I knew that the matter had not ended. He was less pressuring but the idea was the same. He wanted us to retrieve the body. We debated. Stef said Wednesday. I had classes. I sighed. I hoped this would not be interpreted as some frivolous enterprise I was on thereby missing classes. I asked a classmate to tender my excuse and headed down early Tuesday morning for discussions and preparation. Stef cancelled his planned caving on Tuesday and we spent the day in planning and discussions with the authorities for equipment and co-ordination.
We would leave from Windsor, Trelawny and get to the hole by 10:00 am and start rigging.
We were grateful that it ended well but communication is a hell of a thing. We say "face masks" not the Styrofoam jobs and imagined the industrial chemical face masks. We get surgical face masks. We are not in open air. We are in a cave. There is no breeze to blow away the air. We get one shovel. Two would have been helpful. The body bag had no straps to make tying it easy and so less handling of the bag with the remains.
But too late for complaints. We are doing this thing. Letís get on with it. It was already decided I would go down first. The equipment is lowered and then I am on rope and down. As I get down I start dousing the body with chemicals. I am thinking of the gloves only when I begin to use the shovel. I do not realise that chemicals/disinfectant of this concentration may burn and it is in hindsight, a day after that I realise that I have been burnt. I use one gallon. When Stef comes down we set up the body bag to take the remains. The shovel is there. But before I started the shovelling.... I had not planned it. I stood poised with shovel in hand at the head and it occurred to me that there could be some disrespect here. I recognised Godís presence and addressed Carlton telling him that we were here to help him to his final resting place; and to help him to be at rest. I then started.. I shovelled it in and zipped the bag- stones in four corners on which to tie the webbing and the rope to pull it up. Stef ties it.
Stef gets on rope and is off. He gets up pretty quickly and I am after him.
I make no mistakes with food this time. For breakfast I have eaten a good portion of chicken and yam, courtesy of Miss Lily. I have my water boots this time. I am up easily and am what I call normal tired, not by any means exhausted. The crew - Malibu really assists in removing my gear - big thanks man.
Have to big up Stef for Rigging and big up the crew for crowd control and support. Being on top is of critical importance. To me it does not make sense going down if thereís nobody up top to take care of your interests up there. Dire consequences man.
So peace and love.
Big up Miss Mac and Mass Leslie Morrison and their courtesies to us.
This is Ivor Reporting.
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