Hit the road early with the rain still going strong. Many of the roads were actually flooded and it was touch and go at times. Stopped for a trail walk on our way, through some caves. Arrived at the Kiwi Paka hostel, really nice place. Rhona and I got a wee private twin room, always a treat not to be sharing with 8 others. Had very little time after arrival before we were picked up for activities we had signed up for. I got involved in the 5 hour Black Abyss trail into the glow worm caves. Picked up around 2pm, sadly left Rhona behind as she didn't do it but Evelyn and Catherine were coming to play. Arrived at the caves and got kitted out; wet suits, wet socks, jackets, gummy shoes, helmet and abseiling gear. Putting on a soaking wet wet suit is one of the most uncomfortable experiences, ever. Once it's on though, you're laughing. Hopped in the van up to the cave start point. The first bit was an abseil 35m down into the cave, so we had a wee practice and went through the technique before the real deal. Going down into the cave got really really narrow where you had to move down on your knees because you couldn't stretch out your legs. Lynnie, you would have been disgusted. Once down it opened up quite wide and we admired the shiny bright worms along with the stalagtytes and stalagmytes, crazy looking formations. From there, anticipated some rocks, zip lined into the pitch black then had some hot chocolate :). Got our rings and front flipped down into the water. Oh my the temperature was a shock...like take your breath away freezing. Moved deeper into the cave, with the glowworms lighting our way. They are pretty amazing to see and you can spot lots of shapes in the patterns on the walls and roof. Such as a Viking ship. Seen Gandalf made out of limestone.
Glow worms are not actually worms, they are maggots. The bioluminescence you see is the result of a chemical reaction between an enzyme in their poop and oxygen. So, basically paid to see shiny maggot s***, excellent advertisement on their part. They have these tiny thin threads hanging down from their bodies like little fishing lines, which they use to catch their prey. When the eventually cacoon up and then hatch, they become a gnat fly. This wee fly quickly realises he doesn't have a mouth and will in time starve to death. Not the best. So he is feeling pretty depressed and negative about life but then he realises 50% of his body weight is made up of his genitals....What to do? Make the best of his short time on earth having lots of sex with anyone he can find before falling into a crumpled, starved, nackered but generally satisfied heap. There you go, the life of the glow worm/maggot. Hope you enjoyed learning about that today.
We ventured through the caves futher, stumbling over rocks, crawling through spaces. Had to dance alot to keep warm as the water was super chilly. Pulled out some decent moves as per. At the end we climbed up two waterfalls which was pretty epic, scrambling for hand and foot holes as the water teamed down. No equipment involved. Heath and safety here just isn't the same! They are pretty laid back. Scrambled up to safety, back into the sunlight. Got cleaned up before munching some much needed soup and bagel and walking back to the hostel. Done some internet stuff, caught up with Campbell, missed her face! Had some dinner and then called it a night, nackered.