Bucket-list 2013 – Caving: Plughole Adventure in Jenolan Caves

Hello My Fellow Bloggers,

I am trying to do things in my bucket list as you know and my apology not to be regular with writing due to being involved in a few things in my list that are taking a lot of my time and also I am trying to fit some travelling into it. Here is a link for my bucket list if you haven’t read it yet and I have brought some exciting new adventures that I have been involved recently.

My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it.

My Fears

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Item #6: Try caving – Jenolan Caves in Sydney

I was a bit nervous and could feel butterflies in my stomach that day. My friend gave me some confidence by saying that I would be alright but  I think waiting for something like this was making me utterly nervous and also I had discussed this with my other girl friends and they were not quiet sure how strenuous it might be actually. So my latest adventure was caving. I recently did ‘Plughole Adventure’ caving in Jenolan caves – One of the oldest caves in the world and one of the most amazing place in New South Wales that also had got bulb installed in the area for the first time. It was a warm and sunny day but still I packed my backpack with warm clothes thinking that it might be very cold inside the cave and I was a bit worried about getting injured there due to all the crawling and sliding. As this was the first time I was trying this activity hence I seemed to be quiet naive obviously. And when I realized it involved some abseiling as well that I haven’t done before then my heartbeat was over the roof. But soon the abseiling part was done surprisingly and guess what I did pretty ok actually. I am going for canyoning soon and this was a good practice I must say. So here we were at our first hole in the cave that looked very small but surprisingly after following the instruction from the guides we were able to pass that easily by crawling, squeezing and sliding. Next part was easy and touristic as we just walked few meters to get to the root of a very old tree that was there for couple of hundred years. Its amazing to see the underground part of the nature as well at times. And next was the rocks where we saw the signatures of all the people who had been there, including a lady in  early 1800. We did get to hear a number of stories about people who had been here and explored the various routes in the cave. It was only later when we got a chance to switch off our torch and experienced pitch black darkness.

It was overall a refreshing and self awareness activity I felt after having finished it successfully and also sometimes we don’t realize how much potential we have got and we are capable of doing lot more than we actually think we can do 🙂 That’s what I find out when I overcome my fears and try to do something new.

Time to Slow down? Wait one more day to go before that – Part 3 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days)

I am back 🙂 I know you have enjoyed the last two posts and hope I can share as much as possible in this post with you as well. I didn’t intent to make it a series here but had so many pics and so many incidents to share that turned out that can’t be written in one post. So after last two posts here comes some adventure and more relaxing way to travel in third post 😉

Here is the link to last two posts in case you haven’t read them already or want to read again 😉 Although to be clear there is not much dependency so you can go ahead and read this only as well.

Part 1: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Part 2: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/go-go-go-rest-of-sri-lanka-is-waiting-part-2-travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Now that I was done with Sigiriya, I took another bus to get to Dambulla, city famous for cave temple. It takes almost 40 minutes to get there. But to be honest I felt its more over a stop over for few hours and better to continue to next destination after this if you don’t want to spend time in one place only. I checked out the Cave Temple.

Now that I had seen the temple it was time to go to another city where I could be more comfortable staying and might get a chance to go out. Kandy, my next stop, was like a town in India (Nainital – near my home town Almora). Its main attraction is the lake in the center of the town. It has got a feel of hill station to it. And I really felt glad that this is where I planned to stay finally.

 

It was this feeling that made me more energetic after already been to two towns before getting here. Now the next task ahead was to find a place to live. It was close to 4 PM so not much time in hand but still enough. So I stated walking around the lake. I saw a road going uphill and started walking on it with my backpack. It was a rough walk after a tiring day but then I was not going to settle down with just any Auto-rickshaw telling me where I can stay as they always quote a higher price. And by now I was in the country for 4 days so felt like I am already an expert (which was a mistake really to be this over confident). I kept walking and then I realized the higher you go the more expensive the hotels were. I talked to few locals and they pointed out to few directions I could go and I finally went to a home-stay but at this height, not even home stay was cheap. I gave up and as directed by one of the locals, I finally took an Auto-rickshaw and went to find a better and cheap place to stay that can fit in my backpacker’s budget. Note: You don’t have backpackers much in countries like this (other than Colombo). But it’s still cheaper to get a room at your own.

I finally found a really nice place and that too very cheap in a hotel. And it was time to get some food as my physical strength was giving up by now. I got fresh and headed to the town now. Got some local food like last time – Kottu (roti made with various vegetables). I loved it and was eating it almost everyday. This time I was really brave and determined to at least try few Sri Lanka dishes and one fruit, one sweet-dish and if possible one local drink. And guess what – I tried them all. And you know what now I am already feeling hungry talking about it 🙂 So after food and some desert, I was ready to go out for a drink. I met a polish guy who was also willing to see some nice club in the town. The more the merrier and we headed to a nice place and I tried the local drink called Arrack. Also spelled arak, it is a distilled alcoholic drink made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain (e.g. red rice) or fruit, depending upon the country of origin. It was really strong and I felt right to order just once. And was happy enough that I could still remember the way to home..lol. Don’ t worry I am never that drunk as directions are like my sixth sense and if I know the  way then I can always get my way no matter what.

Next morning was so beautiful that I could not complain to get up early. I had inquired the last evening where I wanted to go today – ‘Bahirawakanda Viharaya’. Its a 88 feet high Buddha temple on top of a hill and provide a bird’s eye view of the town.

I was already on my way to this place as I was missing some exercise so I planned to walk to this place. It’s an hour walk at max and very pleasant if you start first thing in the morning, although I started around 10 AM. But it was fine anyways. I made sure that I keep my sandals with me in my bag (just in case I loose it as I could not afford walking back barefoot). It was a treat for eyes to see this very big statue of Buddha. It has got a little museum with different wall cravings on it. It was a nice and refreshing walk back to the town.

Now it was time to head to the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya. It is located in the hill country of the central province in Sri Lanka. Its name means – City of Light. If you ever go to Sri Lanka then the train ride is a must. So you better get ready for one of the most amazing train ride through a very beautiful breathtaking scenery.

Fiji – Another name for ‘Freedom to Live’ (Part 3)

Next day another adventure was waiting for me. Being a naive to sea and swimming I was having a ball with all the water activities. Now it was time for some cave diving. It sounded so exciting that I could not stop myself from booking next day trip to another island to do the Cave Diving. Although many questions started bothering me after I booked for it – Will I have to stay underwater too long, do I need to be a good swimmer to be able to do that, will it be scary, will I be ok after doing it. But I was rest assured that I will be fine as there were two guides and all the fellow travellers knew how to swim so to be honest I had more trust on others than myself.
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Next morning I was even more thrilled thinking – here I was in the middle of this big island with strangers doing stuff that is another name of peak adventure. Best thing ever, I told myself. We were all geared with the swim suit and a life jacket after boarding the boat that was going to take us to this another island. We arrived at our destination. The water was crystal blue and the view was breathtaking. It made me feel envious of the people who were living there, thinking that they are able to live in paradise every day.
Quara ni Bukete  Cave
Finally we climbed the steps towards the Qara ni Bukete (Pregnancy Cave), named so because it does not allow any woman who is trying to hide she is pregnant. It was a bit dark in the cave but we could see some light coming through the slits. I jumped into the water in the cave after a little bit of hesitation with my life jacket on of course. I thought maybe this is it? It was easy. But nope there was another cave through this bigger cave where we could only go through a narrow passage under water.
Two guys went in with the guide. We did not have any proper equipment for diving so we had to hold our breath for at least 30 seconds and the guide was supposed pull us underwater towards the other cave. Once on the other side the guide will go back and bring another person. Now it was the test as I could not go under water without my life jacket. Guide was back and wanted one of us to go with him. Everyone in the group started staring at each other as no one was sure how risky it is in the dark. I was scared but excited and didn’t realise when I got voice and said ‘I will come’ to guide. He stared at my life jacket and asked me to take it off. I told him that I am not a good swimmer and he smiled (maybe he was thinking I must be joking as I had come for a cave diving after all) and assured me that I will be fine. I took off my life jacket and the guide took my hand and asked me to take a deep breath. I followed his instruction and he pulled me under water and I felt all I can do is trust him. I could feel my body moving through this narrow tunnel, touching the walls of it. Soon when I was still in dazed state I was on the other side of the cave. He looked at me and smiled again and asked me where I am from. He must have sensed my fear. I told him that I am from India, living in Australia for few months and have just started to learn swimming. He looked amazed but asked me to leave his hand as he had to go to bring other people now. I was scared again as I was in this cave in dark and with no floating device to hold on to. I quickly swam across the cave with my breast stroke techniques and tried to hold the holes in the wall like a lizard.
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Other girls also came to this side after seeing me. They must have thought that when a non-swimmer can do it then they can as well. After few moments when my eyes got adjusted then I realised most of the people in the group who chose to come were here and we had to swim to the other side where the guide was taking us. There was a small area where there was some light coming from a slit and it felt very nice to see few rays of light as they were like rays of hope. It was an amazing experience of my life. We came back and I was still dazed with the whole day adventure. Next day I had to leave the island and head back to home. I was overwhelmed by the welcoming behaviour of the people in Fiji. I left but the memories stayed with me forever.