National Geographic : 1984 Jan
ENTLE BEAUTIES beckon in Ewens Ponds, a trio of shal low sinkholes west of Piccaninnie that require no cave-diving permits. The larg est measures 30 meters (100 feet) wide and 10 meters deep. Mounted policeman Thomas Ewens is said to have tumbled into one while crossing the ter ritory in the 1860s and recovered his dignity by chris tening the ponds in return. Eight Mile Creek flows south to the sea through the ponds and forms connecting channels called races. Each day roughly 52 million gallons of water-nearly three times the intake in Piccaninnie Ponds-stream into Ewens from the underlying aquifer. The aquifer fissures are scat tered across the pond bottoms, so the water appears calm in spite of this massive influx. But as the water sweeps through the races, 36,000 gallons a min ute accelerate into a current Rodney Fox strains to swim against (right). The relentless flow sculp tures neat hedgerows from stalks of Lilaeopsis, a relative of celery. As we let the current take us on a gentle flight through these green corridors that appear so carefully plant ed and manicured, David Dou bilet thought of them as an underwater English garden. I imagined myself awash in a great salad bowl as I gathered clumps of watercress. Back on shore we laced our sandwiches with the tender greens.