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by Gary MacDonald (VL Sorrento)
(as published in Australian Scout, December 2005, Page 11)
Who wants to come caving? "I'm there", said Nick. Deathly silence from the rest of the Unit.
"OK looks like it's just you and me Nick".
As the weekend got closer and closer I tried to encourage a few more but no luck. Until the word spread to another Unit that we were going and two of their Venturers asked the question, "can we come?" My response, "sure there's room why not."
The news that two girls from another Venturer Unit were coming inspired a couple more from our Unit to put their hands up and commit to the caving weekend. So there we were, five Venturers from two Units, one Venturer Leader and one very active Group Leader who wasn't going to be left behind on this one.
We set off at about 9.30 on Friday morning from Sorrento via Mornington and on to Mt Eccles National Park, just a stones throw from the coast line between Portland and Port Fairy. Six hours later we arrived at the camp site.
Arrival time was critical in our planning and we timed it perfectly. Red Hill Venturers had arrived about one hour ahead of us and had already set up the camp for us. (Thanks guys) Later that evening Units from Gisbone, Macedon and Hamilton arrived.
Next morning the Venturers were briefed on the activities of the weekend, divided into two groups and introduced to the many caves at Byaduk, about a 15 minute drive from camp.
Some of the Venturers were a little nervous at first and others just couldn't wait to get down and dirty. And that they did.
All day Saturday the Venturers were having a ball exploring the caves and bonding with Venturers from other Units. most of whom they had not met before.
That night they sat around the camp fire for hours exchanging stories about the days caving experiences.
Sunday morning after a hot breakfast we set out to explore the caves near our camp. These were a lot smaller in size and a little more challenging. In one of the caves I'm sure we heard Elvis singing a caving song.
The exit of the last cave was a little testing with a very small opening, but with some encouragement from Tony and the caving team the Venturers came through with flying colours, a sense of achievement and huge smiles.
This was a fantastic weekend where the Venturers were challenged in unfamiliar surroundings and they kicked butt!
They made great new friends and came away with a burning desire to try new and challenging things. Many thanks to Tony, Brett and all the Victorian Scout Caving Team for their knowledge and expertise in all matters of caving and for running such a fantastic weekend.
We'll be back!