December - 2018

Under the leadership of Mulu veteran Dick Willis (standing in for Andy after his malaria scare) the advance team has arrived in the Park and started exploration. According to Dick the weather in Mulu is ‘wet’.

Work has started on this year’s objectives. The boulder-choke in Lagan’s Dream Pool was a monster and blocking what should be a big passage heading into the hill. Early prodding found a way down to a small but fast flowing stream but upstream the air space was too small. The following day Mike Bertenshaw and Les Williams made an attempt to bolt up alongside the choke and find a way over the top. Using the Makita drills that have been provided for the trip (thanks Makita) they accessed a chamber but this again was blocked by boulders… However, they had already undertaken a bolting trip in Mayday Cave and now have a pitch to drop into open passage – so that’s something to go back to, tomorrow.

Elsewhere, after relocating the entrance to Stonehorse Cave (helped by a substantial wooden stairway that has been built up the slope) a team went through and found the route through Paris’ Cave and into Fern Rock.

Science work is well underway with Jason Lin commencing a detailed study of sediments in Lagan’s Cave, the location of Bellpits being mapped in several caves by Julia James whilst Pete Smart and Chris Smith have started to identify suitable stals, muds and quartz crystals for sampling for dating studies.

Unfortunately, after a day without rain, it has just restarted. At the moment the Paku river is high, which makes accessing many of our objectives difficult as there is a risk of being cut off on the far side; hopefully the weather will improve soon.

More updates later (if the bandwidth will cope with it)