In the Graveyard (PPE Trauma)

August 28, 2013 | Posted in 4Gas, crowcon, CSO, gas detector, mines, ppe, tetra 3 | By

Reached for the4Gas the other day as we were due to snort round a CSO and it’s always a useful thing to have clipped to your shoulder strap but found it had suffered life threatening damage on the last mine trip and embarrassingly I hadn’t noticed :-/Funnily enough though it starts up and does its job properly, you just cannot see anything on the display as it’s shattered….Meh

Methinks it might be an expensive repair job though so time to get a repair estimate 🙁

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Stargate

April 16, 2012 | Posted in 4Gas, flooded, mines, Stargate, Thrunite, wad0rs | By

Someone once said patience is a virtue and maybe they were right, there were some wise words written in The Battle for the Soul of Man…anyway, we have been waiting for over a year to go through the Stargate and many failed attempts have cost dearly in equipment, not to mention getting sick because of the atmosphere.

I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that we would never get close to it, even after some tantalising glimpses but karma was on our side and we even managed to recover some equipment lost months ago (more on that in a future post). The Stargate was reached….and we went through…to new worlds…

Someone shooting me , shooting the Stargate

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Nemesis & The Resurrection

February 21, 2012 | Posted in Canon, DSLR, EOS, flashlights, flooded, GEO E-540, Lenser, Thrunite, Tripod, Underground, wad0rs, waders | By

If you follow this blog you might be aware of an incident that caused me an amount of problems, sadly the upshot of that day has since had even worse fallout and has been the reason for radio silence on this blog…

The place is really my nemesis, we’ve been going there for a long time and it doesn’t reveal its secrets easily, hard work and an often dangerous environment are required to get any payoff. We have found really neat stuff in far flung corners that makes all the slog worth the effort. In fact certain things, that have become obsessional, still elude me and it was just this said ‘thing’ that was on the menu when karma dealt me a sucker punch.

Its true my wad0rs split and I dropped a few quids worth of Lensers into the murky depths but the damage was far far worse as I was to find out. The Thrunite is now working, although it took several days for it to dry out, the ‘sinking tripod’ issues turned out to be the column clamp failing on my Velbon E-540 of which I am waiting to get a spares/repair price for.

The icing on the cake was when my 40D stopped working….yep…d-e-a-d. All of the buttons apart from the shutter had stopped working, the display had gone and the camera just sat there with the autofocus chattering away to itself trying to focus on an invisible/imaginary subject in the distance….FUBAR!!

It was left to dry for a week or so but still refused to play so it got shipped off to the camera doctors while I started searching for a new Canon body (just in case). Two weeks later and several hundred pounds worse off it got couriered back to me having been totally stripped, lovingly rebuilt (with several new parts) and calibrated to Canon factory standards, oh and they cleaned all the mine gunk off it for me too 🙂

The repair slip said my camera had suffered ‘contamination and corrosion’ LOLZ

So, I’m nearly back in the game…stand by for updates in the coming weeks 🙂

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Mines #47 – End of an era

December 27, 2011 | Posted in Ironstone, mines, sealed | By

One of the local playgrounds has been sealed with several tonnes of rock in the last few days, quite unfortunate really as we had unfinished business there……oh well !!

I wonder of anyone was inside when it got sealed? If so its now their watery grave.

Camera phone shit pix:

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Mines #46 – Time We Left

December 5, 2011 | Posted in Ironstone, mine, mines, Thrunite, Tokina | By

There are some trips when you wonder why you are lugging round4kgs of camera gear and probably another4kg of lighting when you get home having taken only one photo, well this weekend was one of those trips.To be fair it was an exploration instead of a exploration/photo trip, were up in the extreme top north west corner of a location looking for a straight run though to the south but after 4 1/2 hours of trying 9 different roads, most with several feet of water in, and god knows how many headings we were defeated by roof collapses at every single occasion apart from one (this will be checked on a revisit). There was evidence of previous visitors 15 years earlier in some places, others hadn’t been touched for much longer.It seems a combination of a dip in Strata and a fault line are causing all the dead ends….how frustrating but a brilliant learning experience at the same time.

Mishap of the day had me as ‘victim’ (again) as I stepped into a deep sump while already in 2 feet of water….the result was over the chest waders before, in a split second, I levitated out in fear of a wet camera (note to self: Take the Ortleib next time!!

Clocked off and never came back?

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Mines #45 – Arch Rivals

September 13, 2011 | Posted in arches, cogs, flooded, Ironstone, mines, Underground, water | By

We’ve been hitting this place up for six months now and despite making great progress elsewhere in the mine these pesky arches have been just out of my reach for ages. First time I tried to reach them there was around eight feet of water and they just sat there in the distance teasing me (Picture 1 below), then a few months later the water level had dropped four feet and I was able to get quite close but had to abandon when water was lapping at the top of my tripod (Pic 2 below).

We’ve not been here for a while but on last weekends visit we were amazed to see the water level had dropped totally by the arches and we could walk right past them into virgin territory.

Now we could get down there we shocked as to their purpose…..the mine ceiling was supported on massive wooden cogs built on top of the arches and was at least 8-10 feet above the now buckling steelwork!

If you look at the third shot below you can make out the first two cogs above the steelwork.

Apologies for no more photo’s from this trip, the rest of the day was spent negotiating truly giant, unstable roof falls and getting stuck in three foot deep mud in a very low heading way out in the west. We did find several more Plant Rooms and some curious ‘dams’ that I need to find out more about…

May
June

September

 

 

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Too Orangey For Crows

August 19, 2011 | Posted in Crows, Ironstone, Kia-Ora, mines, Orange, Underground, vent shaft | By

This one has been on the To-Do list for ages, so long in fact that someone else beat us too it, c’est la vie!, you win some, lose some…

The truth is we were elsewhere frying bigger fish and were beaten by worthy opponents I know only thru the Interweb. Sloppy Seconds is never ideal but it had to be done as it was still a neat trip to make. The 4Gas had a spazz before we had broken a sweat and had to be shut down as it was blatantly lying about the 02 content and making a hell of a racket. This was far from ideal as there was a bunch of noxious primordial ooze right down there amongst that “Just for me and my dog” orange gloop and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was enough to get the h2s sensor squawking.

The trip involved walking through just over a mile of heavily flooded galleries and crosscuts, gingerly picking our way through a couple of truly unstable & massive roof collapses before we got to the payoff. Water was on average four feet deep with submerged roof collapses, random lumps of twisted, underwater, narrow gauge rail to negotiate and hidden sumps in the mine floor. Two of us had hilarious over wader moments, one resulting in blood loss and my waders sprang a leak within seconds of leaving the dry part of the mine. Other random weirdness was an anemic looking lizard 150ft from the surface amongst corn growing underground and being able to send SMS messages from the base of the shaft.

“Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus”

Next…!!!

Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere very orange. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

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Mines #42 – Mmmmmm rich 02

June 30, 2011 | Posted in 02, 4Gas, elsan, flooded, Ironstone, mines, Underground | By

Meteorological Perfection is not something you would normally associate with underground exploration but on our latest project a specific type of weather is the difference between rapid extraction, knackering 02 levels or a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Weather Fronts were due to collide which meant a day of fantastic oxygen levels for us due to the high pressure and we enjoyed more than + 3% more 02 than had been experienced on many previous visits. Also in our favour were water levels so going chest deep got me to places I hadn’t previously been able to reach before without a boat.


Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

May have been a tub…
Reflections
Random Elsan Chemical Toilet
Water level drops of over 2ft allowed me to finally get some shots of these steel arches. I would have gone through them but wandering around in 4ft of stinking, murky water,stumbling over rocks and hidden debris with $$$ camera gear makes me twitchy…
Totally submerged tripod shot from a few weeks ago…
Same shot, same depth, this week..progress!!
Boats in here for the next stage…

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Mines #41

June 8, 2011 | Posted in 4Gas, cog, Ironstone, mines, o2, sump, texolex, Underground | By

More underground fun this week….apologies to Cold War fans (there will be something nice for you next week, watch this space….).

We avoided the water for a change and instead had to contend with knackering 02 levels, panting like a marathon runner for four hours gets a bit tedious and if that wasn’t annoying enough, false floors too!!

The false floor I would have in fact have fallen through had it not been for the discovery of something interesting just a few feet away which delayed my progress. They aren’t that rare in mines but they certainly are in this type of mine, this one was about 20ft long x 16ft wide by 10ft deep and half full of water so crashing through would have been ‘interesting’ to say the least. Other notable items included some of the most bodged ceiling supports I have seen for a long while, a case of ‘use whatever is laying around’, one of the strangest was a Cog made from what looked like snapped concrete fence posts!!

It was nice to get out to 02 rich air to be honest, but we’ll be back…

Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

In Your Arches
Poor Workmanship

False Floors and ‘floating’ brick Piers

Concrete Cogs
Texolex
Plant Room II
Don’t Touch

Sumps

Lights

Poor Workmanship Part 2

Rat Hole

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Mines #40

June 3, 2011 | Posted in flooded, Ironstone, mines, roof collapse, roof fall, Underground | By

More water filled fun this week which ended up in a near ‘over (chest) wader’ moment in which my tripod disappeared and I nearly played submarines with my Canon. From here its likely to be Inflatable Tenders all the way on another trip to this area to get any deeper though…

(Once the tripod was drained though it seemed happy enough so its passed the test in my book.)

When Roof Supports go wrong
Wonky Props
Don’t ask…
Giant Jenga
Prop Fest
 
Giant Jenga Remix
Jenga Blah…
Watersports
 

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