The Olwolgin cave, located some 1400 miles from Melborne, AU offers many challenges for scuba divers on all fronts.
The preparation as well as travel to a campsite which is itself about a mile from the cave offers numerous challenges. The amount of gear involved as well as the challenge of transporting all of this gear by foot from the campsite to the cave entrance is not to be overlooked.
The Olwolgin cave is classified as an advanced dive site. Its entrance is a small depression located below a cliff line. The water is is a mixture of salt and freshwater which produces a fuzzy whirling effect as it is mixed. The cave is remarkable with many tunnels and structures and tree roots that have made their way down into the cave system.
Read on for more details about this amazing dive site below:
The entrance to Olwolgin Cave is just under a mile from our campsite. After initial trips walking tanks between camp and cave in backpacks, some bright spark pointed out that the sandy walking track had become quite fat. The next trip out saw an explosion of wheelbarrows. The key to correct wheelbarrowing of dive gear is to move most of the weight over the front wheel, reducing stress on the arms. Of course, if you move all of the gear to the front, the wheelbarrow is almost impossible to steer and will tip over uncontrollably. Like many things in life, it’s a balance.
A FUZZY FRONTIER
Because we are down below the cliff line and close to the water table, the entrance to Olwolgin is a small depression rather than a massive doline. A rocky overhang shields two pools of water from the midday sun. Both were first dived in early 2002; the more promising-looking pool was declared a no-go — too small, with no way on. The smaller, harder-to-climb-into pool did the opposite — it opened up to a maze of shallow tunnels. Over the course of a few years and a lot of trips, the known extent of the tunnels was festooned with orange guideline, and the map rapidly expanded.
Unlike the clear-blue water and huge tunnels of the deep caves above the cliff line, Olwolgin features dark-green water. In some underwater caves elsewhere on the planet, divers can see a halocline — a clearly visible layer where heavier salt water and the overlying fresh water mix. In Olwolgin, this layer is dispersed through the tunnel, with the different salinity concentrations blending smoothly into each other. When we unavoidably swim through the mix, the disturbance creates a blurry layer of water that bends and traps light. I watch my buddy, Tim Muscat, swim past, seeing the wake of his gentle fin kicks in whirling fuzzy water behind him.