Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jenolan Caves and More

We woke up early today to get an early start to get to the Jenolan caves. It took an hour to drive there, but what a trip! We got there just in time to sign up for the Caves of Baal, and the guide took us into a big cave, complete with stalactites, stalagmites, and lighting meant to set them off for best viewing. Well, not only that, they had music playing and the lighting fixtures timed to the music so you would see pieces fade in and out. It sounds really cheesy, but it was so well executed I had a great time despite my natural cynicism about such tourist traps.

Then we had a quick lunch and our second cave tour, the adventure "plug-hole" tour. They suited us up in safety gear, but unlike the Bridge Climb, we would actually need the gear. We first abseiled down to the cave entrance --- when I first saw the pictures I thought it was like rappelling, but you're supposed to walk down, not push your feet against the wall and bounce along the wall. This took quite a bit of doing. Then we were led into the caves proper, and talked through the various maneuvers needed to get ourselves through it. The guides did so with such natural humor that everyone did it and had great fun, crawling through spaces (some headfirst, some on the side, and many on our butts).

Then we took a self-guided tour of the huge caves at the entrance, then went to see the Kanaga Walls. This was where I made the mistake of putting my naked camera in the backseat along with the tripod. While driving along the unpaved road, Lisa heard a loud noise, and I moved the camera to the front seat but it was too late --- the screen of my DSLR is now cracked! My experience with Canon is that they will fix it under warranty at no charge, but since the camera is still operational, that will have to wait until I get back to the U.S. I've done this lots of times with my film SLRs with no problems, but I forgot that the DSLRs have a vulnerable component on their bodies. Ah well... If I leave the camera at home I'd never get any good pictures, even if it was kept pristine.
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