Maz, Rhod, Tom, Yolanda
Four folks who’d never visited Black Reef turned up, buttered up with tales of discomfort and the need for wetsuits. And most worryingly, Jason had got in touch to express that it was one of his favourites! It did actually turn out to be a lovely little trip being fairly warm weather, and doesn’t deserve its reputation.
After kitting up we wandered down to the approximate area and found it right away. First we made a quick trip downstream from the entrance, with a loop round an oxbow. We then gritted our teeth for the fearsome entrance canal upstream. It reached chest high on some of the shorter cavers but was over in about 3 minutes. With the wetsuits it was nowt but a quick dip.
We headed upstream in the main passage, enjoying the relatively nice formations. The black reefs themselves showed up, creating a few fun little waterfall scrambles and some paddling pools. Rhod led the way further into the upper reaches of the main streamway, getting lower and lower (and more wetsuit-tearing) until we reached that usual point: ‘it does go on, but….’. Where we all happily agreed to an about turn and made our way back down.
On the way back Yolanda led us up a waterfall into the long crawl of North Inlet passage. Again, we reached a point where Yolanda wanted to press on to see what was just around the next corner, while the rest of us were happy to wait and hear about it rather than experience it first-hand. Her comments when she returned seemed to suggest we hadn’t missed out. Back downstream for a quick wash of the suits in the entrance canal, and back out to a muggy evening and a daylight car-change!