After a very long day yesterday, I took the opportunity to sleep in today. I woke up at 10:45 feeling refreshed for the first time in a couple days. I caught a bus from my hotel to the Swan River where I boarded a ship that would take me downriver to Fremantle.
Once in Fremantle I ate a quick lunch and made my way to the city’s famous prison. Fremantle Prison is the most famous in all of Australia as it was open from the days of English convicts and finally closed in the early 1990s. Because of it’s relatively recent closure, it is still perfectly intact thus allowing visitors to truly experience it. But my main interest was not the prison itself, it was what lied underneath the prison.
In 2006 I was watching the Amazing Race and in leg 9 teams raced through Perth. They visited the Fremantle Prison and after finding their clues in various cells, they were given a challenge to submerge themselves in the tunnels underneath the prison. These tunnels, many of which have filled with water, were dug by hand by the convicts who were imprisoned here. They were not trying to escape but instead were excavating the tunnels for sewage. Anyway the Amazing Race teams had to climb down 40 meters of ladders and then hop in a small rowboat where they would row their way through these tunnels trying to find their next clue. Whilst watching this I thought it was immensely cool and said that I wanted to do that one day; well, today I got that opportunity.
After getting suited up harnesses and life vests I climbed onto one of the ladders descending into the ground. After a few minutes of climbing I reached the bottom and found nothing but darkness. Without our headlamps we literally could not see our hands in front of our faces. After exploring the un-submerged tunnels on foot I climbed into the small rowboat. Then using a paddle I could push off the walls attempting to navigate myself through the darkness. After about an hour and a half underground we climbed back up the ladders to ground level. It truly was one of the most unique experience I’ve ever partaken in and I recommend it to everyone visiting Perth (unless you fear heights, confined spaces, or the dark).