It was a long, long time for most of us with no caving, so to start properly the summer caving season we decided to pick up something quite and easy to warm up our bodies (Arun's ankle, Hans' arm and my knee) and to 'liven' our spelunking skills. Grotte Sainte Anne was planned by our ordinary team: Arun, Bram, Ewa, Hans and Renaud.
We decided to meet on friday evening at Spekul. While we were waiting with Arun for others we discovered toilet in the back, where you can lock person inside:D Then Bram and Hans showed up. While waiting for Renaud guys started climbing a wall above the Spekul doors and try to sit on the highly situated cornice. When Renaud arrived we packed all the stuff into Hans' car and we were ready to leave Leuven.
While it was my first time to visit Sainte Anne, most of them had already been there, so they knew pretty well the locaction of the cave, and our way in. Sainte Anne was considered as an easy cave with no rigging, but with some nice formation, fossils, river inside etc.
We reached our desination when it was still bright. Soon I realized that the cave is situated just next to the busy road, but we already got used to that, so it was not a problem. We dressed up very fast, I couldn't exactly follow. We sent a message with the information about our activity, and we started climbing some hill in order to get into the entrance. Next to it there were some big rocks meant for climbing sport. According to the origin of the cave it was my first grotte in my caving career, I tried many 'trou caves' , where the entrance looks like a sinkhole and the water comes inside, but this time entrance did not look like that, St Anne was a grotto with the big open arch rock entrance.
I cannot recall the UBS gate, or any specific details about the cave. Don't know way, maybe after two months break I lost my ability to create representation about each cave in my head, but also I was quite anxious to enter the cave after so long period. Anyway what I remember is that the cave was pretty wide, not so complicated, sometimes some boulders, sometimes limestones, most of the time you could also choose the upper way on the rocks, or the lower one with the river, if you wanted to get wet. I remember that it was very hot that day even in the cave, so to cool down we were lying/ planking;) on the rocks for a moment. There was also a minute, where I strained my arm muscle a bit, because I was trying to be careful with me knee:D but I received a professional help from strong hands of Arun followed by softer Hans.
I don't remember where we stopped in the cave considering it as the end of the cave...but I know that we went back the same way. In one place guys decided to try some oppose between the rocks which would lead them to pool with the water. I did not try that, so I landed at the top of the rocks where I could see them at the bottom next to the water. It was my first time to see such a big and deep pool in the cave. The view was great, you could also see the reflex of the rocks from above. Really pleasant impressions, but no ropes needed, so also no gear which means no sjakos, no camera and no pictures this time;)
To enjoy it even more, Bram and Hans decided to try some swimming in the pool conected with diving below some rock, where the rope was set to guide you. First try- Bram, he got into the water he dive, but then he came up and decided to leave the water as it was really cold. He felt even some pain in more sensitive parts of man's body;) Next one, bold Hans. He tried same as Bram, but no result, the rope couldn't have been found. Not feeling cold, he tried from the other side of the rock, if he could reach the rope, and yes, it was successful, he did it, he dove and appeared on the other side of rocks. But straight after he surfeced the water, he said his leg got stuck somewhere between the rocks, the moment which most of people know only from the movies or stories. I got really nervous sitting there above, but it was just a short while after which he released himself.
There was also one place on our way back, where you could swim too, so Renuad and Hans did it ( you can see how it looked like here: http://vimeo.com/9385781, posted by Dennis Verbruggen on Vimeo), then actual run to the exit begun. I was staying with Bram, I was quite careful and slow, I haven't even noticed when others outrun us. We all made it safe and sound to the exit. So high five for us!!! We were happy to wear some dry clothes after all and to celebrated the evening with some beers and chips, thanks to Arun. The time to drive home came. Bram as usually was sleeping in the car, Arun for the first time also tried. About 2am we reached Leuven, said goodbye and went in our own's way. Hand and Renaud still had to drive more to reach their places. Next day we exchanged some few emails to check if everyone is fine with no injuries or allergies after bath in the river which collects all (polluted) water from the "Chawresse-valley", according to Avalon website. Thanks Guys for a great time!
And I have to say it's really good feeling to be back in harness!