by Del Robinson & Wookey
So an early Gatwick December morning saw a lucky (?) 13 run away to Flesh Pot, Majorca, once again. A charmingly mindless guide produced a typical hotel in the outskirts of Palma, where people rapidly paired off into rooms in to a predictable manner (Del & Wook, Jeremy & Mark, Keith & Ian etc), much to Julian's chagrin as he was left with William for the second year running.
Early foraging revealed an 'English Style Pub' which was to be the focus for the week's drinking. It even served 'Real English Beer' - brewed right here on the island! William impressed all by taking Mark, Del & Jeremy out on a major sesh on the first night. The next morning we found ourselves some Seat Marbellas (Fiat Pandas to you) - the tackiest, and thus the cheapest, cars known to man.
And so the attempt to break the silliness barrier commenced. Umm, what shall we do this year? How about exactly the same things as last year? Only more so. See last year's journal for Torrent de Pareis, Cuevas del Drach (still spectacular, even if the music is extremely naff second time round), Cuevas de sa Campana, and La Fosca write-ups.
La Fosca ('The Gorge'), provided much amusement in terms of winding up those stupid enough to try it again. Team 1, in fact, enjoyed themselves hugely, (well, it was only awful a bit this time) and even managed a BCRA Grade Digital Watch survey (elsewhere in this erudite tome).
Team 2 did the trip slightly quicker and with considerably more style, a Thermos (from the Greek for flask) of coffee was found to warm the soul in what is still an intimidating environment. Er, yes it was a stainless steel flask and only had one dent to show for the experience, rather than several billion pieces of glass.
In a rather half hearted attempt to do something slightly different from last year we drove across the island en masse (to about 5 miles from last year's hotel) to try & find 'Cuevas dcl Pirates', supposedly one of the best trips on the island. Clutching our appallingly translated description we drove down lots of private roads in search of someone who had a vague idea where the cave was, and eventually resorted to trekking hopefully along the cliffs.
Juliette resigned due to a terminal case of flu, and then we lost William once the trespassing started to get really obvious. A good hour's wandering about produced lots of hot sweaty cavers & almost exactly no caves at all, so we trogged down to the sea to see what we could find - a million tons of rubbish and a cave! It went for all of twenty metres down a slope to a big pool & low roof extending off into the gloom.
Wookey: "Hmm... very pretty sump"
Mark F: "Maybe it isn't a sump?"
Wookey: "Course it is - look, it's full of water"
Mark: "Nah - look over there, it might go. Have a look"
Wookey: "But I'll get wet"
Mark: "Not if you take all your clothes off"
Wookey: "Ah, yes - hadn't thought of that"
Thus was the CUCC Naked Caving Trip born. Wookey, resplendent in belay belt, FX2, helmet & walkman, set off across the low-roofed pool, complaining loudly about the cold (where it was, in fact, quite warm). There was, of course, lots of cave the other side so everyone else came through in various states of undress (although they managed to do it without going swimming) and much fun and photography was had by all, especially Animal, who left a sizeable portion of one bum cheek on a particularly slippery bit of limestone.
Back at the hotel 56 renditions a night of the birdie song for the benefit of incredibly pissed german wrinklies was more than enough to drive us out to the pub, where mucho booze was drunk by all and sundry. Particularly assorted colourful and curiously bubbling liquids were served for remarkably little money by our friendly bar staff at the local, which led to much wanton removing of clothes, morals etc. down by the sea (twice!). Attempts to elicit similar festive behaviour in our 6th floor geriatric neighbours met with little success.
Typical scene - 5 very pissed cavers stagger back from another heavy sesh down the pub (no chucking out at 11pm here!). Two of them are keen on getting their own beds to sleep in tonight so the other three are locked out in the corridor - five mins of frenzied banging on the door eventually elicits a vitriolic "Fuck Off" so the homeless three look for somehwhere else to fester. "I know, my room", says Wook - there's only Del in there. The three slither down the corridor (to much Teutonic abuse from an irate granny) but Wook finds his door locked! More knocking merely elicits yet another "Fuck Off". A simple deduction allows the three to ascertain that Juliette's room must be free so they weeble down there to get a key & then argue about who gets the bed. (Julian loses - again. Poor guy)
Other activities included a bit of expo rigging in an intimidating (well I was intimidated) 40m shaft by the gorge path and we found a new show cave where all the formations are in cages to stop them escaping.
A new discovery was a sea cliff walk/scramble with some 200-300m drops to peer over in the North East corner of the island - Formentor or something (we haven't got a map here to check with).
Some final comments: It was even sunnier than last year which explains why so little actaul caving was done. The waves are much more playworthy on the West coast. It's a good job Julian took his fins swimming. It was noticeable that although only one bed had bedbugs, there were many bitten bodies to be seen. Jenny suffered a bit from culture shock, having been exposed to the real world too long "ugh, I'd forgotten how smelly cavers were", although she did dish out a mean haircut.
Looks like no shortage of subscriptions for next year's Majorca trip - rapidly becomming a CUCC institution, and by far the best holiday most of us have been on for years.
Those lucky non-ougiees present: Keith Millar, Mark Fearon, Tina White, Jeremy Rodgers, Ian Miller, Tanya Savage, Julian Todd, Juliette Kelly, William Stead, Jenny Moss, Mike Richardson, and Del Robinson & Wookey (the authors - you guess who did which bit!).
Many thanks to Ian (& Keith) for organising another ace trip (maybe they should become travel agents).