A Brief summary of events in Phase I. Oct 14 - Nov 20 1994.
The 'A' Team: Rob & Helen Harper, Tony Boycott, Peter McNab.
We hired a Kjang from Ramayana tours 75000 rp with driver (Anton) and fuel all in. It was a full days drive from UIP to Masawa, at the base of the gorge/valley. We found accommodation at Pastor Willem's school & church. Lokko Ledo was visited and surveyed. We got lost on the way to the cave & spent a couple of hours hacking our way through virgin jungle. A hard days work for 193m of cave, but it was in limestone.
The area seems to be mainly igneous rock, possibly basalt, with a few limestone caps on top of the hills leaving remnants of old river systems.
The rest of our foray into the Mamasa river area failed to
turn up any limestone caves. A lot of
rock shelters and waterfall undercuts as well as granite boulder piles were
visited, leading to much disappointment. One of these involved a 36km walk in through dense primary forest, the
cave was a measly 5m long! But the walk
was cracking, Cobras crossing our path - monkeys could be heard howling in the
trees. We stayed at the remote
Note .. .! don't like granite boulder caves, they are loose and don't go anywhere.
We had an interesting stay at a village near Mambi. We had not mastered much in the way of Indonesian and none in the village spoke 'Ingress' (no surprises there) but we managed to get by. The whole village came to watch us, my bivvi bag seemed to cause great hilarity whenever I got into it.
After a week or so we abandoned the Mamasa river area our conclusions were that there is very little limestone in the area. We followed up all our leads of rivers flowing from underground ... they all flowed from underneath large granite boulders. It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it.
We journeyed to Rantapo next & great excitement overcame the team at our first glimpses of hanging limestone cliffs and massive limestone tower karst, which could be seen from just before Enrekang up to Rantapo. This called for a celebration, a local Bintang hostelry was located & we proceeded to drink the fridge dry. Rob & Snablet decided to check out the local disco for a late one. With about 8 other clientele in the joint Rob & I were the only ones pissed enough to partake in dancing (Involving cossack dancing, morris dancing, somersaults etc.) & we earn ourselves the nickname of Crazy Ingress Men ... all this to the Reggee 3, the Indonesian version of Ging Gang Goolie!
Sullukan ... a taste of things to come. (Hopefully.)
20m from the road at Makula, park next to the bar with the swimming pools. A large impressive entrance 5 x 4m with a reasonable stream flowing into it. A large gour could just be seen in the gloom ahead. YES ... here we go! Unfortunately only 200m to a sump. The gour is worth a look if you are ever passing by and there is still a going lead in the cave, reminiscent of compost corner, only a bit tighter & with Kamikaze bats flying through it. Whoever pushes it best keep their mouth shut!
Next stop Lokko Ponte, a bit more like what we were looking for. Large passage cuts through the remains of the limestone. Its well decorated with large dead stal. a bit like a railway tunnel in dimensions, linking two depressions. A closer examination whilst surveying revealed a lower series. The cave has the strange phenomena of having two downstreams & we have yet to find any upstream. I suspect it is through a sump somewhere around the first duck. Rob got something of a start when one of his survey stations turned out to be an orange snake! Passage dimensions are a bit vague at that particular station. Tony made a sterling effort at diving the 2nd downstream duck/sump through to another surface depression. Total length of cave 1.5km.
Another cave entrance was noticed across the depression (Tete - Batu). A quick investigation proved that we would be back the following day.
Tete-Batu, Lokko Nippon/Kandi api system was explored (we
boldly went where several hundred Indonesians had been before) and
surveyed. Its an impressive system
with two active streams. Where they join
a 150m swimming canal was followed by Rob & Tony to a sump. 5 other sumps were also found in the
system. There are two high level
routes. On the left by climbing over a
large stal boss into an extremely well decorated (for
A word of advice ... don't try to ascend a rope using kevlar shock cord prusik loops, it may be nice and light for the walk in therefore saving you a bit of energy. This however is totally wasted in the struggle to get out of the shaft, the kevlar cord may as well be super glued to the SRT rope. Great for stopping you from slipping, nine tenths of fuck all use for going up!! We visited a cave "Sarambo" currently being used to supply the local villages with water, we were allowed in. Its a nice cave with two ways on. One down the main streamway where we stopped at a duck and the other, possibly the flood bypass or an inlet, where we also stopped at a duck approx 160m of passage. Unfortunately the cave turned into Manor Farm overnight with the local farmer demanding an extortionate amount of money for his favourite charity. He did however look a bit bemused when he was told where to go!!
The area around Kalosi was our next destination. We visited four largish caves only to find out on our exit from each that other foreigners had already visited. We also found evidence that they had already been surveyed, topofoil cotton, stations marked on walls and gardened pitches. Oh well, they were worth the visit, shame none had published their findings. We moved out of that area. We decided to wait until the Speleo Sportif guide book comes out about the area so we know whats been done.
Pasang - definitely no tourists armed with a compass, clino & tape have been here! We only had time for a flying visit. We took a short stroll around the area, 22km, taking in four caving trips. We decided to return to the area at a later date.
Back to U/P to meet the reinforcements. Liz Price was first to arrive, closely followed by J. Rat & Mac. Chris York caught us up in Rantapo a week later.
Tony B, Liz P & Snablet visited the showcaves at Bantimurung -Maros. They are quite impressive; if you visit them take your own lamp.
"The Night of The Big Drink."
We were back in Non - Muslim country with beer on sale & Mac & J-Rat had arrived and if we needed an excuse it was my birthday. Pissed??? -I should say so!!! I can't really remember much about it- best ask the others, Mac carried me home about oneish, Rob was last in about sixish. The following day was cancelled!
Returned to Pasang and spent 2 days surveying Lokko Lambale. The SRT equipment was brought into action, four pitches rigged and descended and a rope climb. We discovered some nice passage. The Kepala Desa thinks we're mad "2 days in Lambale total cave length 880m. My biwi bag is causing a storm 'all day in Lokko - then sleep in lokko sarong!' they all come in especially to watch me get into it...who cares, at least it keeps the mosquitoes away.
Gua Possoloa: two caves with the same name. One's above the other by about 4m. Big dry passages, lots of bats and spiders, we even saw a shrew in the cave. Cave length 500m & 250m. We had an overnight stay at Limbuang. Rob & Helen were given the guest room (because they were married) I had to share a bed with the family & there were 6 of them (I think) the oldest abut 75 the youngest about 6. At least I managed to sleep through the morning prayers (at about 4.00 a.m.)
Tapaan: this cave is halfway between Limbuang and Gua Possollo. The trail leads down through an eerie gorge - like something out of a sci-fi film. The entrance is a resurgence. The stream forks, to the left leads to an unclimbed waterfall in a large bat chamber, to the right is 80m of crawling leading to a duck then onto another entrance. total length 500m. There are other caves in this gorge but we could not stay any longer - it would have been unfair on the local village.
Back to Rantapo to see the others, unfortunately they had exhausted the area. Their conclusions were that there used to be massive cave systems but now the majority of the limestone has been washed away by the rivers leaving only tantalising glimpses of what might have been. Lokko Nippon is still the largest system we visited.
Rob Helen Chris & Snablet - headed north to central
Back to Pendolo ... a day relaxing and enjoying the luxury of a fridge in our Penginaden. (Guesthouse.)
The following day I headed north towards