It's always interesting meeting someone from the net for the first time, you never know what they are going to be like, and when you plan on going underground into a dark hole with them the first time you meet, it sort of gives you pause for thought.
The plan was to meet up with NIOU and CT later in the evening and I was going to have a reccy round the city until a new person I had organized to meet showed up.
Aydun phoned and said he was 15 minutes out from our designated meeting spot near the entrance to Toadie. I had lost track of time tracing Dsanktuary flows and looking for entry points was now the other side of the city.
I hightailed it back, and made it in good time. Walking up the road in the dark, I saw a figure wondering slowly towards me. It kinda looked like the photo of Aydun, so I figured what the hell and said hey.
We stood there backpacks on chatting for about 15 minutes on the side of the street, exchanging info and generally talking shop.
The conversation regarding various Brisbane drains and their entrances sputtered out and it became obvious we were both here for the same reason, so I suggested perhaps we should go take a peak before the others arrived? Chatter resumed and we marched off with purpose to the entry for Toadie.
A short climb later we were immersed in the darkness around us. Torches switched to high beam, we took off down stream yapping away at each other about the interesting features and odd anemic eels we passed.
There is something rather unique about people that hold this interest, it's almost as if we are aware that it's rather absurd, and so the thought of holding any pretense is even more absurd. So I find myself oohing, ahhing, exclaiming awesomeness and wowing without regard, like a child. All the while in the company of strangers only just acquainted.
As we progressed down, I recounted some of the paths entered by on a previous visit and the comparisons of wet muddy crawls versus nice clean step irons.
We arrived at the old underground bridge, and it's a unique sight to behold. Bent backs straighten and the cavern opens up into the wonderful underside of a large stone bridge, buried an unknown time in the past and seemingly all but forgotten.
Having come here for a reason, cameras emerged and lighting implements presented. The footfalls and chatter of busy snapping, echoes and reverberates around the cavern in strange ways, and it makes conversation further than about a meter away challenging.
Having snapped away happily for a while, we decided to go have a look at the slide down the system a ways.
After some walking and discussion of exit pipes at intervals we arrived at the slide. It's a fun looking concrete construction about 2 - 3 meters high, in a tempting play park like shape. Shame about the disgusting collection of water at the bottom.
A large ladder was in the vicinity reaching high above to a manhole cover. Climbing it seemed like a nice photo idea. Unfortunately lack of any though for lighting the foreground pre ascension, meant my quick climb before my 10 shutter timer expired meant a less than satisfactory result. Oh well, another reason to return again.
At this point we headed all the way back to the exit, all the while making bad jokes about helicopters and squads of public servants waiting for our arrival.
At the top of the ladder, I paused listening for any movement nearby. It was dark and quiet, not a peep. I climbed out and waited for Aydun to follow, we started to leave the area, and I heard Aydun mumble something about guy and bushes, looking a tad, like he wasn't kidding.
We both picked up our pace dramatically and after several meters of eyes front and center without being pounced on from behind, I risked a look and said, your kidding right? No I'm serious, the was some guy at the exit, he looked like he was taking a leak!
Drain rape averted, we took off up the street and made some distance from the loon that chose that spot to go for his whizz.
It was still early and ages before the others arrived. What now? hung in the air unsaid. We could hardly go from that to wondering round the city trying to find entries. Especially seeing as I knew thanks to NIOU and CT where a rather terrific one was just going begging.
I suggested perhaps we could have a peak at Aquacave while we waited as well? We were both agreed it would bed rather cool.
Off we went, stopping for some refreshments and to eyeball some outfalls on the way. I was a tad worried about the entry for Aquacave as I didn't fancy ending the night prematurely being seen trying to get in. I had only been the once before with NIOU and CT, but knew well enough where it was.
We arrived, and there were no unsavory characters in attendance. I fact the whole area was quiet as a mouse. Which made the thought of seeing anyone else even less pleasing.
We made our way in as quickly as possible, and were greeted with the warm waft of decay and damp.
A few obstacles negotiated and the odd guest book celebrity noted, we rounded into Aquacave proper. We made our way down stream, having done some snaps of the entry area last trip, i wanted to see what lay further in.
Some dipstick had spray painted NDC right on the head wall stones above Aydun's head, I ranted on for a while and wondered if it would be possible to paint stripper it off... Editing would have to do for now ;)
We were surprised to see all the changes in the drain shape, and Aydun kindly let me fire off a few shots before urging us onwards to see more and more.
I restrained my self and pulled out a cell phone camera in desperation. There was so much to photograph, so much to see.
After making our way down the the rock blasted section, I suggested we head back to the surface as I was expecting a call from the others.
Lesson learnt, cellphone cameras and drains just don't mix! Oh well more reason to come back and do it properly.
We made our way to the exit and paused at the end, listening in the dark for a moment, all sounded quiet. We piled out and just then I heard a noise, turning round there was a security guard locking a door across the street, his back still to us. I whispered, walk fast and we took off up the street. We were walking briskly up the road as he crossed back to our side of the street and went towards the buildings in the dark some distance from where we emerged, presumably thinking we had come from there.
We rounded the corner and kept a steady pace down the street, laughing at our unfortunate luck tonight. Two for two, it was time to call it quits I thought to myself.
I called NIOU and he was burned in work waiting for a call from CT. I suggested we catch up another night as it was getting late already.
Aydun dropped me on his way out of the city and I headed home happy. It was a good night, and I had met yet another cool person and had a blast exploring under the city.