With our family divided over weekend activities I took the opportunity to organise a social caving trip to Bungonia National Park for SES members and their families. As participants swelled to 20+ some of us made an early start to the weekend by heading out Friday night to setup camp and get a head-start on the others. It didn’t take long to soak up the atmosphere of bush camping with all the worries of city life behind us.
Saturday dawned early for many of us, either due to the nagging birds and first rays of light or for the others who had to leave home early simply so they could be ready for our first cave. After an exhaustive gear check and obligatory photo we headed off to tackle B4-5 cave. This wasn’t our first choice of cave but due to a bat increase in Grill cave the authorities had closed the cave to the public.
With such a large group, which contained 6 children and a varying range of skill we were always going to take a long time in the cave. Each child had to be belayed over the difficult sections while adults sometimes struggled to fit through various holes and squeezes. However after 4 long hours we finally popped out at the other end safe and well. A number of us commenting on how physically demanding but satisfying it was to lead such a large group through what is a sometimes challenging cave.
Our weary bones set the tempo for the remainder of the day. We hung by the campsite predominantly building various activities to entertain the kids. At one point we had a flying fox, a slack-line anchored off, Frisbee games and a football being kicked around so needless to say as dinner approached there were plenty of tired people around, but what is turning into to be a bit of a tradition we all migrated to the cam kitchen for a night of laughter, card games and the odd tall story.Sunday started a little slow after what turned out to be a pretty big night, too much alcohol was consumed and a lack of enthusiasm took its toll but by mid-morning we off to do some more activities. Some of us took the little kids abseiling while the more experienced cavers went exploring new depths. I think the abseilers proved that not all the fun has to be below ground with many of the kids showing no fear as they abseiled off a 30m pitch. By mid-afternoon many of us were making plans to head for home after another successful weekend at Bungonia Caves.