Herault 2014 - Here we come!
We gave last year a miss, due to a haphazard team and being fairly disorganised re not at all ready, ourselves.
We're back this year to take a look at the end of the caves we pushed in 2012 and to maybe take a peek at some new ones the French cavers are promising us.
Our team has disintegrated - owing mainly to half of them doing responsible things like getting jobs and going to university - and Rich and I buying a house together, which meant that I wasn't exactly forthcoming on getting the trip 'out there'.
It matters not however, as Rich and I are owed some quality time. The fact that quality time will be underwater and covered in mud, is by the by.......
We'll be met by the usual French suspects and I am very much looking forward to catching up with Jean and the gang - they always greet us like long lost friends.
Preparation began yesterday when I did a 9.5 hour round trip (not even a whole ambulance shift!!) to the Peak District to collect the CDG Derbyshire Section compressor. Last years comrade Tim Webber thankfully showed up to help me carry it up the hill to my van.
Rich is conveniently abroad and will not show up until the day of our departure....
So today, I spent a lot of time in the garage trying to find things and make them work.
First off was the 'exploratory box'. This is a very important box.
It contains line reels, complete with knotted line which magically knots itself all afternoon at 3m intervals and has tags every 10m. It also has snoopy loops, line markers, compasses, wetnotes, waterproof pencils and so on.
Now, nobody likes a floppy helmet. Least of all Rich, who has been moaning and whining about his floppy red helmet for over a year now.
So I bought him a new one.
Well, I actually first of all tried to glue the offending part where the cradle had snapped off, but I was concerned that after a week or so of sump bashing it may go back to how it was before = more whinging.
So, I took to the drill, made some holes - and some mistakes - but got there in the end.
One shiny new helmet. Anything for a quiet life.......