When Matt got back from Africa, as you might expect, he told us all about his adventures. One or two activities really stood out for me as things that had obviously been very exciting/enjoyable for Matt – today’s entry is about one of those events. I’m not sure if the group had been told what to expect when they went into the cave, but even if they had I don’t think that Matt had realised what the full spectacle would be like until it actually happened. It must have been an amazing sight …
Day 22 – 6th August
On day 4 I wrote that porridge was going to get old eventually. Today I was proven right; if I smell either porridge or chapattis now I feel ready to throw up.
I was in a sour mood this morning as Chris ripped one of the zips off our tent door and spent an hour and a half trying to fix it while I wrote my journal and swallowed my frustration. Gavan, Sim and Josh were late getting up yesterday, so Craig made them stand outside in the rain, fog and cold at 5 this morning as punishment. They then went back to bed and were late again. Worse still, Josh was leader!
Today started with a steep incline up the bank of the valley before reverting to the undulations of yesterday. We seem to be forever going uphill – the downhill sections go much faster. The terrain is starting to get more difficult again as we descend; holes, branches and fallen logs are becoming the norm. The ground is also extremely slippy and people were dropping like flies. The main thing keeping many of us going is the thought of popcorn chicken and spicy wings when we get back.
At one point we saw the silhouette of a monkey until half of it moved and we realised it was two large birds at just the right angle.
After about 5 hours of progressively thicker jungle we suddenly came across the landmark of our campsite: Tutan Caves. The mouth of the cave was enormous, marked in the centre by a waterfall.
We chose to explore the caves for a little bit, and slowly walked into the deepening darkness as the sound of squeaking slowly increased.
Suddenly there was a shout of “watch out” as Alex the guide shone his powerful torch at the ceiling and the roof of the cave erupted. Within seconds thousands of bats were screeching and flying as fast as they could in all directions.
Apart from being terrifying, it was an incredible experience that is really indescribable.
We left the cave and had a short hop to our campsite.
We are under the rainforest in thick mud. Tonight is my turn to share with Josh and Sim, so we set up the tent as quick as we could before the rain started. After a quick lunch of biscuits half of the group took a nap and the other half piled into our tent (Me, Matt H, Sim, Callum and Josh). It was a tight fit with 5 but we managed.
We played cards and then I read my journal out loud for people to remember the early days. We have been out here for so long that it doesn’t seem real.
Dinner was lentils, rice and ugali, but no one could stomach the ugali so we distracted the cook while Matt H shoved it down the toilet. A good tip to remember is chili sauce can really help make bland food more bearable.
We are still dreaming of popcorn chicken.