Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Using Joules in Jewel (Caves)

October 2, 2006

We actually headed north on 250 (back the way we came to catch up with the road east to Pemberton. Our next stop was Jewel cave.

Pictures can not convey the way one is enclosed and surrounded by the beauty of the formations, nor give the sense of darkness, but that does not mean I did not try to capture these things.

This tour was full of annoyingly clever descriptions of things and stories about wedding cakes with one figure (spelling doom for the bride who decided to get married in the cave.)

We were also commanded to look for images in the flows and formatrions. Trees, emus, mother-in-law jaws etc.

None of these are worth dignifying with pictures, so I will simply post the images in the order that I took them so that the viewer can draw his or her own conclusions about what he or she sees.

Jewel cave is probably the largest cave in Western Australia and they believe it may actually hook up with Mammoth cave (a cave a bit farther North on Caves Road.) There were thousands of stalagtites on the ceiling (and I could only get a few in a shot.)

This was a particularly impressive flow formation.

There were many unusual formations including helictites ( explasins, "Helictites are contorted depositional speleothems which grow in any direction, seemingly defying gravity. They occur in many forms from tiny filaments ... to thick, antler-like forms . Most helictites are formed from calcite.)" These went sideways and in unexpected directions and were one of the best features of the cave. We also saw pendulites that looked like pendula.

Mom managed the entire tour even the narrow places and the steep stairs.

Getting back up after the descent was the hardest, but we were glad we had gone. Nobody got left in the cave, although I think Mom tried to ditch me on one of the longer curves!

We stopped in Beedleup National Park and walked around a bit and saw some gorgeous wildflowers.

The trees were big and majestic...

...grey and proud ...

...and there was one particular pea flower (kennedia coccinea) that twined around the trees and blossomed prolifically.

The whole side of this tree is an ant bed full of the orangy-yellow sand of the region.

The flowers came in a wide variety of colors...

and sizes... (That is my sneaker at the edge of the photo).

There were multiple colors in a single area. This white clematis really sets off the other flowers around it.

And although we saw these in gardens, they really do grow in the wild.

I keep returning to the beauty of the trees. These were nothing like the giant trees we were soon to see,...

but still entrancing because they were so different and offered such relief from the bright sun.

We drove east on Bushby road and hooked up with Brockman Highway and as soon as we turned, the landscape changed drastically.


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