OK the photos are not gonna be good for this but I dont care it was all about the experience.
Our journey begins with the first images of COTS (Colossus of the South) by Sub Urban looking through them everyone was immediately drawn to the image of Eddies Vortex (named after writing on the wall saying this). I personally had to see it for myself; the sheer size of this plug hole dwarfed all others. Fast forward a year and a half and I am turning a corner noise surrounds me water flows beneath me and I am confronted with one of the scariest and most awesome architectural features I have seen in my life. Huge plug hole water rushing over the sides of it and falling 100ft to the bottom where it crashes into Lower COTS. The noise the water splashing everywhere the whole experience overwhelms me and I am hooked on draining. This image of the whole turns peoples stomachs as they see what is basically a hole to certain death with slippery sides and fast flowing water looking to almost suck you into it.
Every person who sees Eddies Vortex always jokes about how awesome it would be to abseil down into the vortex. Fast forward to February 2008.
I am not a man for heights so unfortunately I cannot accept any congratulations for the following story as I did not partake but was there to witness.
There are many things I have seen people do that have astounded me; bungee jumping, free climbing, base jumping, to name a few today I will add a new one and raise it to the top of my list of respect.
It all began with a phone call saying Lower COTS Tuesday night trust me it will be good. So I arrive in Brighton waiting for the others to arrive slowly I am joined by
), Dsankt (www.sleepycity.org
), Zero (www.silentuk.com
), Loops (no one has ever seen one of his photos.com) and Little Elvis (www.dereliction.org
). The mood is jovial but tense with various inappropriate jokes and laughter as we head for the entrance into Lower COTS. We climb down the 100 ft to Lower COTS and sort our shit out. Walkie-talkies are handed out and much immature fun is had. Over. Me Little Elvis and Loops hang at the western end of the drain as the others head of east to find the base of Eddies Vortex.
I take some arty photos of the tunnel using pretentious lighting and in my mind I have already photoshopped the hell out of them. Then we begin the walk to meet the others. Along the wall are markers saying how far along the tunnel you have travelled in meters as we reach just over 3000 meters we see a glimmer of light ahead. Out of the darkness an almighty thundering of water can be heard, we walk up some steps off the main Lower COTS tunnel to be confronted with the base of Eddies Vortex, which is equally as scary as the top. We immediately can hear voices above us and spot the ladder behind the base of the vortex. Up I climb first up a ladder and then a spiral staircase that goes around the vortex giving it an almost NASA feel and look as though we are climbing to the top of a rocket. As I climb up a final ladder to where Dsankt, JD and Zero are I walk over and look over the edge, I am stood about 30 foot above Eddies Vortex mouth.
This is possibly one of the scariest sites I have ever seen, and then I look to my left. Climbing over the edge of the barrier is the Ninja known as Dsankt. Fully kitted up and for once looking rather serious he is hanging over Eddies Vortex suspended.
This site brings both a huge smile to my face and sweat to my palms; it is both amazing and scary at the same time. He descends to the level of Eddies Vortex mouth where he sits on the edge checks his kit is all secured properly then does something I think I shall never erase from my memory, he goes into the mouth of eddies vortex. Descending slowly he is constantly being pummelled by freezing cold water, thankfully he has fashioned a waterproof cape to kinda keep him dry. As he descends further the water surrounding him starts to obstruct him from our view slightly as he descends into what can only be described as the bowels of Brighton. It is an amazing site and one that I am privileged to say I witnessed.
Next over the edge is Zero he is nervous as he is fairly inexperienced but with the expert advice from JD and Stoop he slowly lets go of the railing and heads down with incredible control and concentration. With his trademark silly poses and superman styleeees he makes his way to the bottom.
Then its JDâ€™s turn over the side he goes, posing for photos as he goes down even helping to light some of them. Controlled and professional is the way I would describe JDâ€™s decent, also damn quick at the end as he started to become engulfed in torrents of water as it all converges at the bottom of the vortex.
Then Zero decided he wanted to go again. As he went over the side I turned to partake in the ancient art of conversation with JD and we are interrupted by screaming, we both rush to see what is wrong, Zero is hanging half way down Eddies Vortex in what seems to be a lot of pain, we shout down but the thundering water muffles our shouts so they are inaudible to Zeros ears. Slowly Zero makes it to the bottom and we all wait to find out what went wrong. As he climbs the last ladder he reveals that the rope had chaffed really badly on his groin and he now had red rope burn marks, nothing serious then.
We then checked the time 4am right time to pack up our shit and leave, the rope was derigged and packed away, cameras went away and everything was secured into our bags. Then up into the real world everyone with smug faces we began the 45 minute walk back to the car which was parked next to the entrance of Lower COTS then back home by train (or car if you are JD).
As I sit here typing this trying to hold my eye lids open I keep thinking I must have imagined what I witnessed tonight but then I look at the pictures and I realise what the guys did today was set a whole new bar, one that I feel with not be touched by anyone for a long time. My utmost respect to JD, Dsankt and Zero for doing it, it was incredibly controlled and professional with every bit of equipment plus more checked and checked again. I shall leave you with some more random pictures from this amazing night:
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