I headed out to Papua NewGuinea beginning December 2015 to join the second caving expedition into the Darrai Plateau in the Southern Highland Province. A team of 14 cavers accompanied by a camp-manager went out to explore caves of in the up to 1200m high Darrai Plateau. Like 2011 we set up our Base-camp In Fogoma’iu the ‘capital’ of the Kosuar Tribe. From there we started our excursions into the rainforest to find the one, ongoing cave beneath the plateau.
a tribute to all helping hands
If you joined a big expedition you won’t be surprised that a major project like this can’t be done without a lot of help from many helping sides. They supported us with valuable information, digitalized the rare maps, donated money and needed equipment.
A huge thank goes to M-Lights which donated 40 of their solar powered Luci-Lights that were handed to the village on our departure. Windows and HP helped us out with some tablets which enabled us to evaluate the data in the field.
For the important communication between the teams and the base-camp we got 2 satellite phones and Globale Safetrack Europe supplied 2 of their InReach devices. Many others which can’t all be named here helped to let this successful Expedition happen.
A huge thank you to all supporters!
As photographer I am very happy that Pentax (Ricoh Imaging Germany) supported us with one of their new K-3 II camera bodies. It supplemented My K-5 II body and helped to produce the countless expedition pictures. Like the K-5 II the K-3 II body is water resistant and therefore ideal for the high humidity and temperature of the tropic. The improved video function produced a lot of our HD footage and the new Pixel-Shift-System helped to create high quality pictures. Needles to say that both cameras worked flawless in this humid and harsh conditions.
From Fogoma‘iu we started our excursions to the plateau, which lasted up to 9 days.
With up to 4 research teams per day, we were able to survey over 8 km of new passages in 32 caves.
Despite the rough terrain in the pinacle Karst, we where able to prospect an area nearly twice the size of the 2011/12 expedition. The most distant cave entrance is now 21 km as the cow flies from Fogoma’iu, at an elevation of 767 m a.s.l. Since the river level and Fogoma’iu are at ~220m a.s.l., this results in a depth potential of almost 550m.
In the 3 Weeks we spent in the rainforest we not only explored pristine caves, we also learned a lot about the Kosuar tribe. I regard it as privilege having experienced a remote and ancient culture that still is rarely touched by civilization as we know it. Combined with the remote and undisturbed area it truly is a journey I will never forget.