Oxford University Cave Club

1989 "Juracao " Expedition Final Report

Picos de Europa, Spain


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Camping Underground - Logistics

Underground trips in 2/7 generally lasted 4 days for each team of three involving one day arriving at the present dry, sandy campsite with all food and tackle necessary, two days spent variably completing scientific, exploration, survey, and photographic projects, and exiting on the fourth day.

Typically underground days started at about 8 o'clock; breakfast consisted of golden-syrup sweetened porridge sometimes supplemented by bread and cheese spread. High energy snacks such as tinned fruit, peanuts, chocolate, biscuits, and tinned fish were packed for the day, before donning full gear. Trips generally left camp at about 10.30am. The average "working'' day was 10 hours. On return to camp dinner was often reconstituted dried vegetable stew with potato /rice /pasta. Days began with a clock-alarm and a light being put on, and only ended when the light was snuffed out! Water was left on a stove with a light nearby for firing up in the morning from a sleeping bag. Sufficient sleeping bags (comprising inner fibre pile and outer bivvi bags) for 9 people were retained at camp. Dry thermal underwear was also worn for sleeping. A good routine was to put the damp furry suit on over the thermals while active at camp, and then sleeping on it (putting the furry suit between outer and inner bags). This kept the furry suit fairly dry and fairly warm. Water was supplied from a clean inlet at the camp; washing up was also done here. No fried foods were used, so washing-up liquid was not necessary. Other bodily needs were attended to near the stream downstream of the camp; excrement was sealed into plastic bags and taken out of the cave in BDH containers. All rubbish and spent carbide was also taken out. The "nasty'' bags were dumped in a deep shaft near the Ario camp, and rubbish and carbide was taken to Los Lagos for removal by Asturian dustmen. Only considerable help allowed this expedition to march on its feet and stomach to obtain its substantial results, our very grateful thanks therefore to our sponsors, listed under "Acknowledgments''.