Back in 1968, an auspicious meeting was held in a Takaka Hill woolshed between Van Watson, an impetuous young Waitomo caver, and ex-British caver Julia James, 'a lady tornado', who was lecturing in chemistry at the University of Sydney. Van and Jules discovered a mutual interest in a quest to find the deepest hole (cave) in the world. Australia had nothing really deep in the 60s, so their quest focussed on the marble massifs of Mt Arthur and Mt Owen, in the South Island of NZ, with a series of recces and annual Xmas expeditions. The very early 70s were a time of transitioning from laborious ladder and rope belay descents, to a radical new technique involving abseiling(descending) on a single rope then prusiking (ascending) on that same single rope. Much faster.