We met up in town at the usual spot, then sallied forth to the first drain of the day. This one was Schweppervescence, so named because it starts near the Schweppes soft drink factory. Schweppervescence is a short (approx 400m) but very historic and picturesque drain with a bunch of interesting features. To access it we scrambled down a 45-degree concrete embankment, which led to a rectangular concrete opening.
This pic shows Moss, Elfen and Durgin lurking in the initial concrete section of Schweppervescence - if you continue in the direction the camera is pointing, you'll wind up the older, more picturesque section. A bit of cursory poking around the side-tunnel showed it to be pretty much impassable without getting much wetter than any of us felt like getting - it was round pipe that was filled knee-deep or more with water, the stream far too wide to straddle with one foot on either side of the pipe. Apparently the pipe got wider as one went further down, but I declined to find this out firsthand. So we continued on into the second section of the drain, which was much prettier.
This pic shows the lovely red brick section and the nifty little ledges along the sides that the drain builders so helpfully provided for the comfort of intrepid drainers. Other parts of the drain were made of sandstone rather than red brick, but this stretch was delightfully picturesque. I was particularly impressed seeing how it was the first old drain I'd seen, and the first not made of concrete pipe.
The drain exited into a canal, and when I looked back I saw a second opening beside the one we had come out of. We investigated that a short way, but we didn't go very far because the thundering roar of rushing water was quite intimidating, and it didn't take long to see where that was coming from. We agreed that we'd really need boats to investigate that properly, so it would have to be left for another day.
Having finished with Schweppervescence, we piled in our cars and headed northward toward TTP Darkie. This is a drain that starts near a big shopping mall (Tea Tree Plaza) and runs underneath the shopping centre and its carparks. The plan was that we would meet up with PizzyQ in the park, and then head into TTP Darkie for a spot of bowling. Yes, bowling. See, this drain had been sussed out previously as being an ideal location for an underground bowling tournament, due to its shape and lighting. So there we were, with a bowling ball that someone had acquired from a secondhand store for not-very-much, and a set of cheap plastic bowling pins in nice bright plastic colours. Waiting for Pizzy. And waiting. And waiting. Someone called him on his cellphone and announced that he was "on his way", so we amused ourselves playing Dumb Bowling Ball Games up and down the hill nearby, making bizarre jokes about Cave Clan members smashing illegal balloon rings, and tossing pebbles into the creek in interesting patterns.
Here's Eli getting his feet wet in the entrance to the TTP Darkie. :-)
While we were waitng for PizzyQ, I poked around a bit more in the drain, and took a few pics, including this one. I took it without using a flash, and I rather like the lighting effects here.
A scoreboard was constructed some way down the drain using spray paint. Unfortunately the paint was rather prone to running, and our names became rather unrecognisable... sadly, my bowling score will be recorded for posterity as "Tool" rather than Teal. *big sigh* It was also determined that hollow plastic bowling pins fall over when set up in running water, so they were half-filled with water in order to give them the required stability.
Fun with sparklers. The more astute reader may notice our scoreboard behind Moss.
Eventually, after waiting for over an hour for the continuing-to-be-absent PizzyQ, we said "the hell with it" and got started with the bowling tournament. We'd just started the first round of bowling, when who should rock up but Pizzy? Luckily he hadn't missed anything critical, so we continued on with things quite happily, now with everyone here.
You know, bowling in drains is a very different experience to bowling in a proper bowling alley (or whatever it is that they call those places one goes bowling). For one thing, the surface was irregular and lumpy, and had a nice natural gutter down the middle. The water gently flowing toward us added an extra bit of interest, and we discovered that we could add a billiards-like flavour by bouncing the ball off the walls toward the pins. The nett result of all this was distinctly random, and made the game charmingly unpredictable. Not that it helped (or hindered) me much - I discovered that I'm *terrible* at bowling. I wound up having to have a massive handicap just to be able to get the ball anywhere near the pins at all, and even with that, I still came second-to-last when we added up the final scores! Not that it particularly mattered, since we had a ball *cough* anyway... so much so that a couple of kiddies in the park were attracted by the noise emanating from the drain, and kept looking in to see if they could figure out what was going on. So in fine Cave Clan tradition we all pretended to be trolls and made horrible growling noises while calling out "we're going to eat you up, little children!" (The kids didn't seem to be particularly perturbed by this, but we were highly amused by it.)
We had originally intended to do ten rounds, but we were all so so bloody cold after five rounds that we decided to chuck it in then instead. After totting up the scores, it turned out that the eventual winner was Eli, and he was presented with a splendid trophy depicting a bowler (which we all then critiqued for its artistic merit and the bowler's dress sense). After posing for the obligatory group photos while Eli showed off his prize, we stomped out of the drain and into the shopping mall, where we had refreshments (mmm, coffee!).
At this point I decided to head off home, since it was getting late and I had a party to attend that evening. I left the others planning the evening's activities, which involved checking out some old WW2 bunkers on the other side of town then retiring back to DurgiN's place for a viewing of Cave Clan videos (which I'm sure I'll get to see one day).
All in all, it was a most excellent day's draining!