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Dirty Confession:

When I'm moving painfully slowly through an area of cave which is heavily restricted and heavily decorated - such as if I am following a diver who is picking their way through carefully or gets stuck or is one of those people who has to stop moving to pee...

I sometimes try to match up cracked and fallen stalagmites with their bases. The more seamlessly the better.

In the hopes that the next person through knocks it over and thinks they broke it.

Not because I want to stress them out over damaging the cave. Every cave diver alive, whether they want to admit it or not... hell, whether they know it or not, has broken some formation way bigger than they wish they had.

3 times for me. 3 times (in thousands of cave dives) I have heard that horrible, smashing glass sound of a formation cracking because I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time or had moved just wrong. The memory of that sound makes my skin crawl.

Truth is that most divers probably won't ever notice they've knocked over one of my little stacked rocks. They might feel their knee graze something? But in small cave light contact is frequently unavoidable and usually dismissible if one is moving very slowly and cautiously.

So I'm not trying to traumatize people.

The puzzleagmites are there for the people who do notice and probably already know that horrible fucking sound. And they notice they don't hear it when the top of an already broken formation falls over.

It's half practical joke. Gotcha!

And half anonymous check-in on just how carefully you are moving through that area. Why did you not notice you were grabbing something that was broken?

What else might you be grabbing that you shouldn't?

Something you might break?

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