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Friends of the Wetmules

The Wetmules are fortunate to have dived wrecks and caves all around the world, and in the process have made many great friends. This page is dedicated to those people with whom we dive, cave, learn from and enjoy a good laugh with...all linked by our passion for adventure and exploration.










Grant Pearce runs Pine Tank Dive Lodge near Mt Gambier and also AquiferTec, an online divestore. A veteran Aussie cave diver, he has been involved in numerous projects in the Mt Gambier region, the Nullarbor, Tasmania and New Zealand.









                 GRANT PEARCE


Jim Arundale is a proper cave diver, trained in the cold and muddy swamps of Blighty. Now he enjoys the warm and clear waters of Australia and has even joined the ranks of the rebreather divers with his new rEVO. But Jim is still happiest wearing his Wellies and with a couple of 3L steelies bungied under his arms!







                                                            JIM ARUNDALE





Speaking of Pommies, one of the world's leading cave explorers Rick Stanton has spent more than his fair share of time diving with the Wetmules in Australia and in the old country. He has been a great source of info and practical guidance for some of our more challenging dives.

               




               RICK STANTON




One of the truly great friends and supporters of the Wetmules has been Nelson caver "Oz" Patterson of the Nelson Speleo Group, New Zealand. Oz feeds, clothes and shelters the Mules on their annual trip to immerse themselves in the Pearse Resurgence, and was helping cavers and divers long before we started to visit.






                 
                                                                                                                  OZ PATTERSON




Under that duckweed is a very fine cave photographer called Liz Rogers. Apart from her tendency to scream when leeches or eels approach, she is very good company, a great diver and an exceptional photographer. Check out her website and see what she looks like without duck weed at Photography Under Pressure.




                                  LIZ ROGERS






Formerly of SA, brothers Samuel and Joel Vermey now live in Cairns and are starting to poke into every nook and cranny up there they can find. These lads could not do enough for the team when seven other cave divers came up to help them explore the volcanic Hypipamee Crater in August 2011. I am sure we'll be doing a lot more cave diving with these guys!                                                               
 
                                   
                                                                                                                        SAMUEL AND JOEL VERMEY



Forrest Wilson
is a very well known US cave diver who's been at it since before some of the Mules were probably born! Ken Smith made friends with Forrest many years ago and we were privileged to dive with FW out on the Nullarbor last year on Forrest's big Aussie visit. Image below stolen from
Barbara am Ende's website...it's a classic!


              
                       FORREST WILSON (and mule)








Originally from the USA, Brian Kakuk has been living and breathing Bahamian cave diving for over 20 years now. As founder of the Bahamas Caves Research Foundation, Brian is dedicated to exploring, conserving and better understanding everything to do with what are arguably the world's most beautiful flooded caves. Brian recently spent a few weeks diving in Australia and some of the Wetmules were very fortunate to show him around Mt Gambier, the Nullarbor and the Roe Plain. A real gentleman, an awesome diver and a fine Mule.

Want to dive caves in the Bahamas?...see Brian's website here.

                          BRIAN KAKUK




The Toilet Bird is a gentle soul who lives in the NZ bush. He likes to follow the Wet Mules everywhere they go, especially when they visit the toilet! When having a private moment squatting in the bush, a glance to the side will reveal our little friend watching you intently less than a metre away. He will walk between your feet and flush a worm out of the soil that has been disturbed underfoot. And when you finally set fire to the toilet paper, he will excitedly bite at the embers as they drift skyward.

Here he is posing on the shovel just before we boarded the final chopper out of the Pearse in 2012.


            
                                                                                                                      THE TOILET BIRD




In cave country, Northern Florida, there exists quite simply the best dive shop I have ever been to. Amigos, owned and run by Wayne Kinnard is a drive through, self serve gas station where you can not only buy the cheapest gear around, but get some nitrox or trimix by running one of his long whips to the cylinders in the back of your car! The number of litres of gas the man pumps every month is mind boggling! The shop is also a good spot to meet the local divers of just chew the fat with Wayne who is THE nicest bloke you'll ever meet.

Wayne also manages some really nice (and cheap) rental properties if you are staying around for some diving.










             WAYNE KINNARD AT AMIGOS











If you think you have a nice fill bank at home ...check this out!!!












One thing New Zealand does not lack, is talented and experienced dry cavers. Andrew Smith lives close to the Mt Arthur and Takaka hills that host many of NZ's deepest and most exciting dry caves. He has provided invaluable support to our caving efforts helping get Dave and Sandy to the sumps in Nettlebed in 2014, and performing important dye tracing for us in 2012. He has a wealth of knowledge about surveying (under and above the ground), blasting and all sorts of other useful fields of endeavour! Andrew and his partner Dawn also live close to the Moutere Inn...NZ's oldest pub and home to some very fine real ales!






                     ANDREW SMITH








Not that the Wetmules are a superstitious bunch, but it is said that it is a good omen to see the Blue Duck when you dive the Pearse Resurgence! And the endangered Blue ducks have never let us down, so we feel they are indeed friends of the Mules.

                                                              



 




What happens when you need a custom rebreather part at short notice? You need a teenager who knows AutoCAD, a 3D printer and pair of vernier callipers! Charlie Harris is our tame teenager and his CAD skills are sufficient to sketch up a few P-ports and other critical home-builder bits and bobs. Well done Chaz, and if you keep working hard maybe we'll shout you a haircut.


                                CHARLIE HARRIS










Andy Pitkin is an anaesthesiologist from the UK who now resides in Gainsville, Florida. Part of a science and exploration team called Karst Underwater Research, Andy and his crew have laid thousands of metres of line in some of Florida's most exciting caves. The Twin Dees - Weeki Wachee connection made recently was an extraordinary demonstration of skill and mule-like persistence! Anyway Andy came all the way out to Australia to spend some time with Colin on the Nullarbor. He and Col had a blast diving the third sump of Cocklebiddy. Now Colin wants to come stay with you Andy!


                                                                                                                DR ANDREW PITKIN



















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