CAVING IN RONDA – CUEVA EXCENTRICA
CUEVA EXCENTRICA, RONDA
Sunday another activity day, this time it was something entirely different but very exciting… Caving! I’ve never done caving before, so I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was very happy to go with the flow. It was a good thing nobody told me beforehand what I had to endure. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t frightening, for most people, but if you’re suffering with claustrophobia, you will be challenged and you have to push your limits.
This is a small cave, for beginners, the temperature inside is the same summer and winter, and this was mid September and the weather was hot, way up in the 30ºC, but we were still told to wear wet suits and shoes. That was hurdle nº1, trying to get the suit on, but challenge nº1 hit me straight in the face, the entrance to the cave was a belly crawl through a 3 meter opening, that raised the heartbeat. Once inside, it’s beautiful, there were some bats, which I personally think are cute, but there was someone else in the group who didn’t care for them. You see, we all have our demons to overcome.
We descended in a part of the cave and were waist high in the water, boy was I glad to wear this very flattering wetsuit, the water was ice cold. We had to swim under rocks with just half our head above the water to go to the other side. That was all fun, but when you go down, you have to get back up. As my upper body strength is still in development mode, pulling myself up, feet at 90º, that needed all my concentration. When I was almost at the top, my foot slipped and I was hanging on the rope trying to get some footing. After some very unflattering moves, I managed to get myself half upright. Our guide thought he’ll give me a little push to help me up through the hole, but unbeknown to him, I was still trying to get a good grip, so what happened next was in real slo-mo, at least in my mind. I tippled forward, hands not on the rock, one foot firm, the other doing a balancing act and my face hit the side of the rock with all the force that my body could give it. I managed to get through the hole so I was quite level. I had tears in my eyes, my lip was bleeding.. the pain excruciating. I actually managed to bite completely through my lip.. or shall I rephrase that the rock managed to push my teeth through my lip. OUCH. But I’m a big girl and I had my big girl panties on, and did I tell you that giving up isn’t part of my vocabulary?
After catching my breath, and biting through the pain..haha..funny, I was ready to continue the journey of this cave.
We descended into another part of the cave, I know I had to get back up, but this one wasn’t as steep and we ended up at a dead-end. Well, that’s what I thought as there was only solid rock around us. If I thought that I had my ordeal of the day, I was badly mistaken, the worst was to come.
The guide explained that behind that wall is the most beautiful part of the cave, and I kept on thinking how do you know? Then she explained we had to go through this ‘ring’ manhole, with our arms stretched out in front of us, if not we would get stuck and on the other side we’ll find water, so we’ll end up head down in the water. Holy Cow! No, not the water bit, I can handle that. Remember, claustrophobia? So, I pulled my big girlie pants up and was going first, I wasn’t going to show anybody my weakness, especially after the previous incident.
Here I am, arms in front, on my belly, wiggling my butt, to get through this opening, I can feel my butt touching the top and my pelvis is on the floor.. And there it came, without warning, the all-time viscous panick attack, my brain went in short-circuit-mode, hyperventilating, body fighting to get out, tears streaming over my face.. I had to get out, I couldn’t breath anymore. My erratic movements, got me back out. That was it for me, I couldn’t, wouldn’t go on. I just wanted to get out.
I have to give our organiser and guide all credit, for staying with me, calming me down. They didn’t push me to give it another go, they just talked me through it and asked, after I was completely my composed self again, if I wanted to try, but going through feet first. I gave that a thought, and decided as my head would be the last to go through, I had a lot of space in front of me, that yes indeed I would give it a go. Guess what? I damn well did it, didn’t I! I managed to get through that god-awful hole and land in the water, which was awarded by cheering from my fellow cavemen. My mind at that time, didn’t want to process I had to go back through if I ever wanted to go home again. Anyway, I did manage to go through again and not fall over anymore. This one was definitely under the heading..Pushing your limits and removing bounderies. I have a nice souvenir to always remind me of my 1st caving experience, inside my lip I have al little ball from biting through it. Would I do it again, damn right I would.
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