Limestone Rim Pools

Rim pools (image by Dai)

Tom's voice came through excitedly, ‘This is a good passage. It heads in just the right direction and, better still, I slipped on wet rock. We've found water at last. Just wait a moment until I position Possum and look at the view.’

Karl quickly sat back down and returned to his screen. Mary noticed that he'd chosen the only spot where they could sit together and, since he had his back to the wall, she had to sit beside him to see the screen. She sat and he tilted the screen so she could see better.

The view wasn't like anything she could possibly have expected. The immediate association was with the paddy fields of the mainland she'd seen on a holiday trip many years ago. There were no crops or people in view just a terracing of ponds across a gently sloping rocky plain.

Her sense of scale was suddenly confronted by the appearance of Tom's hand coming into view and taking a sample of the water. In an instant, metres shrank to centimetres, but the view was still enchanting and even more intriguing. ‘It's beautiful,’ were the only words that came to her mind and straight to her lips.

‘Rimstone pools,’ said Karl.

Tom rotated the camera to show the full extent of the terracing. ‘Great, isn't it?’ The excitement in his voice was infectious. She sat and surveyed the scene as Clare and Tom discussed the placement of transducers. She now saw that the flat roof above the terracing was only about half a metre high. She judged the whole area to be less than fifteen square metres.

Tom and Clare moved beyond the paddy fields and worked slowly through this new branch of the cave for over an hour before Tom announced that they had completed the mapping for today. He and Clare started to make their way back and Karl went back to the small chamber to assist their climb. An hour later they were all together again.