We should’ve thought twice after Dark Cave, but Paradise Cave was so nice we go back to it on Day 2 for the longer, full-day, 7 km tour. We didn’t have our bathing suits because the brochure called swimming “an opportunity,” like “a photo opportunity.” Plus the day before our guide called it a “dry cave.” This is a mistake. As soon as we’re dropped off in the jungle the guide tells us there’s a swim. Fortunately Jane brought some extra running shorts. The swim will turn out to be only the first of many surprises.

We march up 500 steps, then back through the well-lit section. Then we put on miner-style hats and head down to the unlit portion.

Our guide has a twisted sense of humor. When we get to a narrow passage, wet underneath, maybe 2 feet wide, our guide says “You have to crawl through.” So we do, on our stomachs. Then he appears, walking, around the side of a rock and says “haha joke.”

We also play games like turn off our lights and attempt to walk forward into darkness. First one to a random point wins. Wins what? It’s unclear. Then there’s darkness congo-line. Eventually we put our lights back on and admire the cave through the dust that speckles in our lights.

We make it to the underground river. There’s a boat, but now I’m determined to swim like everyone else. We slip and slide over rocks. Then we learn there’s a surprise bouldering part of this “level 1 ok for anyone” adventure.  We eat lunch on some cliffs near underground rapids, light streaming in through a medium-size hole way above us.

During lunch we hear the Australians in our group say “This seems very unsafe. It would never be allowed in Australia.” Given my (limited) knowledge of Australia, this seems like a bad sign. After lunch we trek back the way we came. We eventually make it home safely, plus or minus some bruises and scrapes. Jane says this is the new most dangerous thing she’s ever done.