February - 2019

During 1990 another British team visited the Park under the title the ‘Gunung Api Connection’ expedition. Working on information provided by the ’Mulu Caves’ group significant work was carried out in Racer Cave.

The Mezzanine, Racer Cave | photo © Paul Norman

Following on from the discoveries made by the ‘89 expedition a separate team led by Alan Weight visited the Park and continued the exploration of Racer Cave. A climb was made at the end of the cave which led into 3.5km of large passages on two levels. These extended over Lagans Cave and reached an entrance looking over the Paku Valley. Unfortunately, although significant effort was made, it was not possible to connect these discoveries into Cave of the Winds although the two caves were tatalisingly close to eachother. It seemed likely that a large surface depression between the caves had severed the high level routes. Nor was it possible to find a connection with Lagans Cave lying only 20m below even though it crossed over it in two places.Another objective of this expediton was to investgate the recently discovered Alexandra Palace area of Clearwater 5 as it was known to be very close to the calcited end of Drunken Forest Cave. With teams in both caves a voice connection was soon made. Unfortunately this was extremely tight and allowed only a handshake connection with a piece of tape being passed between the two caves.

Watergate sumped off | photo © Alan Weight

Towards the end of the expedition further work was carried out upstream in Clearwater 5 beyond the 1989 limit of exploration. Owing to the near drought conditions progress upstream was relatively easy and revealed a further 400m of river passage terminating in a sump. Another 400m of side passages were found incuding a boulder slope which headed up to the base of a large shaft. At the base of the slope a small passage was investigated which proved to be a sump bypass which led into Clearwater 6.  Unfortunately the team were running low on supplies so exploration of this was postponed until three days later. By that time water levels had risen and the sump bypass (named Watergate) was completely flooded. It would be another eight years before this was explored further.In addition to these sucesses the expedition investigated Snail Cave which had been discovered in 1984 by visiting cavers, not part of an expedition, who reported a strong draught. Although small and relatively short it added to the jigsaw of caves of the Park.    

Expedition Members

The 1990 team  

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