Rafting the Drop-Off Tunnel

One night I got a call from Melancholy that he and some of the other explorers were planning an aquatic expedition, did I want to join them... Oh, and could they borrow some of my gear?  Yeah, that's the way it always works, doesn't it?  Anyway, after talking about hitting another, more boring tunnel I'd already seen, I suggested we try out the Drop-Off Tunnel since none of these guys had seen it yet.

The raft in the foreground is mine as is the inflatable kayak on the far right... plus the pumps, some of the oars, etc.

The water level was pretty good for rafting.  At times, the river completely submerges the mouth of this tunnel, so short of scuba gear, you're out of luck.

I swear we didn't have any beer on this trip, but you'd think this was a summer tubing trip from this shot.

This was taken just as we were passing one of the rooms with a shaft up to the surface.

Mel and I were in the kayak and could take our time if we liked since it was the fastest (i.e., most hydrodynamically shaped) craft and we could easily catch up and leave the others behind if we wanted.

Just to give you an idea how much trash collects in these things...

Last time we were here, we were in a solid hull canoe (i.e., nothing inflatable) and the water was a couple feet higher, so we passed right over this concrete section...

...which you can see better here.  It wasn't much longer than it was wide.  I have no idea what it's for.  We just pulled the rafts and kayak over it and continued on our way upstream...

...until we reached the Drop-Off itself.  Yeah, I know I'm being lazy and not rotating my pics, but this is the first good shot I've gotten of this tunnel since it has previously either been too foggy or I had a camera with a poor flash.

Here's a view from the top.  Mel and I reached the incline way before the other guys, and he raced to the top and got this shot. 

The water was shallow enough to park the boats at the bottom, although it appears (in this shot; I didn't test it empirically while we were there) to drop off just past the Drop-Off itself.

Here's a better view across.  You can also see the rungs in here...

...which we used to climb up to the top.

Here's yet another shot that gives a better sense of the total height of the Drop-Off.

And here's the tunnel at the top.  On this particular night, we didn't go very far into the distance before doubling back.

This little froggie (toad, specifically*) was at the bottom of the Drop-Off.

*For the record, toads are a type of frog.  You can't say, "That's a toad, not a frog."  Or you could, but you'd reveal yourself as an ignoramus.

Coming back, Mel and I once again easily outpaced the other guys and had a chance to set up and get this shot of them catching up.

Alexplored 8/18/06.
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