Changes and uncertainty in business have delayed the production of newsletters, hence the big gap between them! The good news is that in spite of the public liability insurance crisis, and licensing changes, I am still in business!
Now that I am aware of how I can operate for the summer season ahead, I have made the necessary changes to the web site. Apologies to any who may have been inconvenienced due to changes to the tours during this period.
THE CAVES ARE BEAUTIFUL!
After two dry summers in a row- my own house was threatened with bushfire last Christmas- we have had a good wet winter. Tours in Honeycomb Cave have greatly pleased visitors, who have loved the boisterous waterfalls and the wet drippy formations. The animals appear to be recovering from the big “dry”, with many of the large cave spiders breeding this year. Several males have been seen involved in their delicate, dangerous and complex courtship ritual. For those who haven’t been on my tours, don’t let the thought of these spiders put you off! They are so timid with humans you would not know they were there if I did not take you and show you. And their fearsome size betrays their non-aggressive manner. They are magnificent animals!
The glow-worms have been turning more of their lights on now that spring is advancing and food is more abundant. After all, they need their lights on to attract food in the dark. It will be a while before the large blind shrimps are seen- maybe late November if there is not too much rain.
As I write, there are still waterfalls in Honeycomb, but as the season dries towards summer, the water levels drop. More passages will be safe to explore and the waterfalls will vanish till the next really big rain.
THE CHANGES TO WILD CAVE TOURS.
The Mole Creek Karst National Park is now 7 years old, and its Management Plan is finally about to be released. There have been changes, and in some cases restrictions, in cave access arrangements. I have been adapting the tours to suit those changes. For those who, in the past, have enjoyed a taste of two different caves in the one half day tour, I am sorry to say that is no longer feasible due to the greater time needed to walk and/or drive to caves other than Honeycomb Cave.
Another change has been my decision to no longer offer full day tours. This is because as much as I love taking the tours, I needed other work as the tours alone do not provide enough. I am now manager in residence nearby at the most perfect bush retreat, Mountainside Accommodation. Half day tours get me back in time for cleaning up and evening check-ins. Check out Mountainside a bush retreat with self contained cabins.
I have had many commendations from clients enjoying a half day tour at Honeycomb Cave: it is the finest introductory cave at Mole Creek, and the tour seems more cohesive, not rushing around from place to place. We explore further than we could before, when Honeycomb usually formed the second part of the half day tour.
Over the next few weeks, new access arrangements are being finalised to other caves I have previously been licensed to conduct tours in. These will again be available as an alternative to Honeycomb or as second time tours: Baldocks, My and Cyclops.
I have been unsuccessful in appealing to the Premier over the withdrawal of my licence to Croesus Cave. Treasure your photographs if you have been there in the past, or join a caving club to get access in the future. Croesus Cave has long been a “Limited Access” cave, that is, normally only available to caving clubs. My licence has been withdrawn on this principal only as there have been no complaints about my conduct and no evidence of negative environmental impact of my tours.
Other news relating to the new Management Plan is that sooner or later, we will be able to visit once more Westmorland, Wet and Sassafras Caves. Access routes to these caves are still under negotiation with adjoining land owners. For those who are interested and may not know, largely because of the public liability crisis, caves which previously were accessed by convenient routes which partly crossed private land have been closed to access while legal public access is negotiated.
SEE YOU UNDERGROUND!