Dirty Jobs Episode Guide
Dirty Jobs Summary :
Mike Rowe works with a cave biologist in Kentucky.
Today Mike visits Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave, Kentucky. Raw sewage once seeped into the underwater river inside this cave. It has since been cleaned up and scientists monitor the cave regularly to make sure it stays clean. We meet Jerry and Selisa, the biologists that study this cave. Today they’re doing an inventory on the living things (primarily bugs) in the cave.
They show Mike a jar that they left in the cave ten days ago. It contains rotten cheese to attract bugs. They call these jars "pitfall traps" because the bugs fall right into it. The first jar contains about fifteen cave crickets. The crickets leave the cave at night to eat and come back to the cave to poo. Their poo feeds other inhabitants of the cave. Mike gets to place fresh jars of bait in the cave. Jerry tells Mike that the other type of bait they use here is human feces.
Next they take a hike to Sunset Dome. They go off the boardwalk trail provided for tourists of the cave. Mike nearly starts a riot with the rest of the biologists when he asks if they are caving or spelunking. Apparently there is a bit of a rivalry between cavers and spelunkers. Cavers are serious about exploring caves while spelunkers only do it as a hobby. Cavers map out unexplored territory and sometimes need to rescue lost spelunkers.
They go deep down into the muddy cave. Mike slips and falls right after Jerry makes a comment that this could be Mike’s final episode. Sunset Dome is the largest room of the cave. They think it came to be from a large collapse of the ceiling - which they are now standing upon. Mike is given the task of tying the safety guide rope around a rock. No one thinks his knots will hold. The crew makes its way down and Jerry discusses his near misses. Once he fell twenty feet into a pit which gave him a concussion. He still had to climb out of the pit on his own.
They make it to what appears to be a dead end, but they will be going down even deeper. Hidden River Cave was a huge tourist attraction in the early 1900s. However, by 1940, pollution from septic tanks and other waste sites seeped into the cave’s underground river system creating a stinky hazardous mess. In the 1990s, a new sewage treatment plant was built nearby which helped restore the condition of the cave.
Jerry shows Mike a cave crawfish which is white and eyeless. It has completely adapted to its dark environment. Their other sensory organs are more developed and they have bigger jaws and more teeth than the normal crawfish. Apparently it’s raining on the surface and the water is starting to rise in their narrow passageway. This makes Mike nervous.
They are going to have Mike try and catch a completely new species of beetle that they think is in this part of the cave. They are in a wetter part of the cave that has mud full of microscopic worms, poo and heavy metals. Mike crawls on his belly and snags some bugs with a tweezers. He puts them into a vial. These specimens will be sent to a lab in Nashville, TN.
Their job is done and they make their way out of the cave. However, they discover a large fissure and decide to have Mike crawl inside and check it out. He crawls in with a small camera and measuring tape. He gets stuck, but manages to slide over a bit so he can keep going. He makes it through to a larger area which appears to be a hidden lagoon. After taking a measurement, Mike crawls back out and this time he does get to finally exit the cave.