I arrived at the general location of this new, unexplored tidal drain to find a waste water treatment work crew in full force and to top it off, they were being escorted by a police cruiser. I stood at a bus stop and observe the crew as they popped a few manholes and after some time they move on down the street. Once they were out of sight I made my way down to the river banks.
Drain search by GEЯV, on Flickr
All is quite, not a soul anywhere to be found. I relax a bit and breath in the cool summer air as i unpack my camera and gear up. I am a bit early, the tide is at its lowest point in 45 minutes. I give a look around and find that the drain is accessible, as most of the water has receded. But on closer inspection I see that the drain floor in covered in what looks like solid silt. A few feet of silt, making it a bit more crunched as far as the drain hight go’s. Looks like for this explore I will be hunch over for most of it.
Enter by GEЯV, on Flickr
Gervs Death Drain by GEЯV, on Flickr
Once I enter, I find that the silt is a think sludge like clay mud. Some spots are hard, well others I sink up to my knees. Still I push on, stopping to take a few shots at the entrance. The longer I stay still, the more I sink into the clay. Now a red flag pops up in my mind. Maybe I should abort; What if I get stuck in this mud and then high tide rolls back in. The fact I am alone in this drain and it will be under the sea water in about 3 hours kinda freaks me out for a minute. But for some reason, I decide to ignore my inner voice and push forward.
I shine my light down the tube and spot what looks like a brick wall. Is this a dead-end? It can’t be? Now my attention is drawn on the distant wall, when all the sudden the next step I take, I sink 4 feet into the silt clay floor. I panic for a minute and try and stop myself from sinking any further. My camera and tripod go under the mud with me. I try using my tripod to disperse my weight and gain some leverage. But it’s not working. I keep on sinking. The thought of being traped in here when the tide rolls in, untill I drown, crosses my mind and that thought scares the shit out of me. I start digging out the clay all around me. The more I dig, the quicker i sink. I stop, I tell myself to calm down and focus. So there I am; alone, submerged in 4 feet of cement like clay. My headlamp burning bright and covered in silt. I sit still for several minutes, untill I catch my breath. strangely I become relaxed. I listen to the sounds of the passing water. Once again I use my tripod to attempt to pull my self out and this time it works. To my amazement my rubber boots stay on. I thought for sure that I would lose them and be exiting this drain in my bare feet. First I get one leg and then the other free and then I crawl to more solid ground. I rest for a bit, the only thought I have is "Shit, there go’s my camera" My camera is totally covered in mud and dripping wet. I laugh for a brief second and thank my Manfrotto tripod for saving my life.
Death Drain by GEЯV, on Flickr
After that, I worked my way out as fast as I could. Once out, with my adrenaline running high, I take a seat and drink some much needed water. Looking at my camera, I was thinking "it has to be broken?" I test it out and she still fires off several shots. I realise that the protection body armor I had on her may of saved her all together. Quickly the wet mud turns to dried cracked clay, baked by the hot sun shinning down. I am releaved, I am alive and my camera is in tact. That’s all that matters. I dubbed this drain "Death Drain" as that’s what it is, a death trap!
Nikon D5000 survives by GEЯV, on Flickr
After a bit of rest I pushed on to a second drain not to far away. As I walked down the suburban streets covered in what must of looked like shit, I get a few odd ball stares and I just smile back and say hello, as if today is the greatest day of my life. Laughing to my self, thinking how funny it must be to see some guy strolling down the street, covered in shit, yet he is smiling ear to ear and is as happy as can be. I use my phones GPS to navigate my way through the back roads of this neighborhood untill I reach the edge of the marsh. To my surprise, I find a large sign by the waste water company that gives a lot of info on the nearby drain system and even has a map!!! I can’t beleave my eyes, A MAP of all the drains lol. I snap a shot with my phone and use it to guide me to the closes drain.
After trekking threw some think brush, I finally spot it, to only find that it is all barred up. sealed up with think metal bars. There’s no way in at all, unless you cut your way in. So I move on to the next closes drain, not able to locate it after about 20 minutes, I say "fuck it" I begin to tire and decide to call it a day. With no luck finding any other drains located on the map, I begin to wonder if the waste water company is messing with me. I will be back another day soon to continue the explore.
Lessen learned, be careful when exploring drains with heavy silt floors.