RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 34 Number 1 Article 2
April 1997

Su Palau

When we went to Sardinia for a holiday, it was mainly for caving and walking. Unfortunately it was too hot for walking so we went caving instead. One of the caves we went down was called Su-Palau and this is where the story begins.

After a 10 minute walk from the campsite we got to the entrance but in order to get in we had to rearrange it. Finally when we got in it was a small tight passage that went under a pile of stacked rocks then it opened into a km flat sprawl along a tilted slope that led down to a 6 foot (2 metre) drop. After a while this opened up slightly to reveal a very steep slope but not quite a pitch.

The slope had a rope down so you could hold on. I was going to climb dawn but Lizzie stopped me and said that I had better wait for my dad, so we waited and everybody overtook us. Then dad carne, went down, and shouted up that it would be best for me to put on a figure-of-eight to go down. But the problem was that I didn't have a sit-harness so dad said that I could connect it to my battery belt. So I set off but suddenly my belt came undone. I was about 1/5 of the way down so I began to struggle up. Then Liz realised what had happened so she grabbed on to me and helped me up and screamed at me for not tying my belt so she tied it property and I got dawn the rest of it fire.

At the bottom of the first pitch we came out into a chamber full of boulders and it was very easy to get lost but to help cavers some people had gone down and put bits of fluorescent police tape that headed us in the right direction. When we reached the bottom of the boulder chamber there was a small stream. As we walked down the stream you could look on one side and see jagged granite and on the other side see cascades of beautiful flowstone and at this part if you looked above your head you could see a bunch of red stalactites that looked liked carrots.

The stream kept on going down with jagged rocks sticking out the sides then we turned a comer and the passage came to a dead end, it was just then I realised that the water had gone into a small hole at the side with a diving line through, well a cord to show you which way to go. Hugh went first, then I went. At first it was OK then the passage got lower which forced me to slither along on my tummy. This I didn't mind but when the water began to run down my neck and seep through the zip and run down my arms I did mind!

When I got out the other side I was gasping for breath and letting the water drain away whilst I was waiting for my parents. The passage on was too low for me to stand up but too high to crawl but still it continued to be jagged granite on one side and this time jagged limestone on the other side. This continued then it opened up into a small chamber and from then on it was a matter of climbing flowstone going round in circles coming to dead ends slithering round bars of stone scrambling up boulders and realising the other side was a 5 metre (15 foot) drop and trying to find bits of the police tape on rocks and after all that ending up at the starting point again.

After a while we found our way and we came to the most beautiful gour pools I had ever seen and a gour pool full of cave pearls as big as a big walnut. A man called Buster filmed the gout pools and he even filmed me walking across the rim of one but I did have to practice a couple of times to get it right.

After the gour pools we went down a very steep bit of flowstone into a massive boulder choke and some of the boulders were as big as houses. After going through the big boulder choke we came to a stream and we followed it through flowstone and curtains and beautiful stalactites then the water got deeper and faster then it came to a small steep cliff into a really deep pool so instead of going through it we went over it but I was afraid I would fall and so I wanted to turn back but everybody encouraged me on so I went. Liz, had stretched from one side to another so I could walk across her and nearly everybody helped me over.

On the other side I waited to go down a (40 foot) 15 metre pitch. I had the choice of going down a ladder or abseiling, I chose abseiling. As I stood on the edge of the cliff I was wondering if I should go back or not but it was a bit late now so held on to the rope and swung off. I started to go down. I could hear and feel big droplets of water pounding on my helmet, I could see the water thundering down into the deep pool below me and shimmering lights above and below me. I was helped into the side, I got the rope off and waited for my mum and dad.

Heading out, we got lost in the chamber but we were all right. If I have not said thank you to anyone who helped me on that trip I will say it now... Thank You!

Anthony Stevenson

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