A long 7 hour drive took us to the majestic Selmah Plateau, Oman. A remote place where at night the Milky Way resurrects all fairy-tales.
Thursday morning, Toufic and I headed to Arch Cave along with two new cavers: Islam and Karim.
I started rigging (setting ropes) and Toufic followed correcting any mistake I might have done. Karim and Islam followed to watch how rigging is done.
Meanwhile next to the campsite, Dan and Will were rigging 7th Hole where three teams are to descend the next day. After we finished from Arch, we found ourselves at the campsite again, where Pike had taken a batch of newbies down the first drop at 7th Hole and were already on their way up. I got the urge to drop into 7th Hole and check the water levels in the cave.
On the way down I crossed ways with Will who had just finished rigging. As expected, the water levels were higher than any previous trips, so with no further delays I headed back to top.
Back on surface we had a mouth-watering supper, discussed logistics and rested on the sound of strong winds.
The next day, the first team dropped down at 7AM led by Daniel & Qais with Ryan, Vicky, Islam and Elias on board. Next was Thoby & Douglas’ team at 8:30AM, along with Jana, Karim, Ramy and Amr. Third team dropped at 9:30 led by Toufic, Rayan and I with 4 team members: Simon, Fadi, Ahmed and Fei. The Spartans Team composed of Will, Pike, Leslie and Nadine dropped down through the other side of the system. After a while, a decision was made not to go through the cave but rather explore the chambers before the water pools.
It was such a nice scenery to see the sun beam penetrating the drop above you while several lights dance in the dark underneath.
By the time my team reached the bottom, the first team was getting ready to go back up. We explored around squeezing in the dungeons and then had to wait for people to get out of the cave. Rayan, Toufic and I were the last to go up at 11 P.M. spending a total of 13 hours inside. Once on top, everyone was already around the campfire, so the cave was clear. Toufic, Rayan and I decided to drop down and de-rig 7th Hole, which means dropping 250 meters and going back up AGAIN! In a heartbeat we were back on ropes and on our way. Moving fast and efficiently we managed to de-rig the cave in a record time of an hour and a half.
The last day, new cavers learned how to coil ropes and pack the communal gear. On our way out of the Plateau, we encountered a beautiful convocation of eagles (group of eagles). Toufic and I managed to approach and snap some pictures.