Depth through thought

OUCC News 26th October 1994

Volume 4, Number 31

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Congratulations to Jim for his excellent slide and body show on this year's Picos Expedition last week. All that bullshit should see off the sumps around the corner next year...

If anyone wants to join the trip to Hungary this new year, they should think fast. My likely plan is to fly to Budapest on 27th December with Hungarian Airlines (Malev), departing Heathrow 12.45, and back on the 4th or 5th January. The cost this way is about A3190 including airport taxes here and there. Let me, Jenny or Chris Vernon know if you plan to join us.


Ages ago I mentioned putting some caving stuff on the World Wide Web. I have finally got round to it and I am compiling a Picos database as well as various bits and pieces on OUCC. I am sadly lacking in photos (of the Picos in particular) and all mine are in the UK so I can't scan any in myself. So to my request: can anyone out there scan in some Picos photos and email them to me as uuencoded gifs (or if not gifs, tiffs or jpegs will do). I would particularly like a piccy of the mountains themselves as well as some cave pics.
Sherry Mayo (


C3 becomes C9? Gordon Bennet!, S--- a stoat! You may be interested to know that I drew the survey when drunk, as a bet with William. I think it may be laterally inverted, or a mirror image. I hope that the names stick, as William ( who was asking "where's the toilet?" etc. thought that they were good).
Yours to the final vindaloo,
John Singleton.

Where next?

Thanks for the interesting information about Carno and Dallimore's, Tim. My dowsing predicts that Carno will go NE from its current south-eastern limit, eventually joining into the Mynydd Llangynidr master cave running SE under the middle of the moor from the large shakeholes near the road. I also predict that Dallimore's trends NE and then turns round into the Rodney Stoke master cave running NW.
Yours, John Wilcock

Mendips trips

Steve, James, Ian and Fiona went down Longwood Swallet last weekend. Fiona liked it so much she didn't want to come out, but nonetheless we did the biz in about 4 hours having jolly fun. Someone has taken the showerbath away.

Pete Bolt and Mike Barnes were diving sump 12 (Swildon's), doubtless James has all the news for Pete Bolt fans, since we left him behind in the Belfry (he smelled too much to bring home in Jims nice shiny car).
Steve Roberts

Prospecting in Sulawesi & Timor
Part 1: South Sulawesi

Over the last two decades Indonesia has been the scene of many important caving discoveries. Whilst many of the Indonesian islands, including Java and Irian Jaya, have been the location of many caving expeditions there have been few reported visits to Timor (Janicke, 1970). Timor contains large areas of limestone and resurgences have been reported in the interior. For these reasons we decided that W. Timor was a good prospect for a speleological recce. We also planned on visiting the Torajaland region of Sulawesi. Although Sulawesi has been the site of a number of French speleological expeditions (Assoc. Pyrenees de Spel (APS), 1985 & 1986) these were largely confined to the Maros region and there remain many other significant areas of limestone (such as the Torajaland region) which have received little attention from cavers. Torajaland had been visited very briefly by two members of the APS Thai- Maros expeditions in 1985 and 1986 when the well known burial caves at Londa, Kete and Tilanga were visited. A small team from the Top End Speleological Society (TESS)(Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia) visited Torajaland briefly in 1990 and found a number of small caves near Kalosi. Their expedition report indicated that the area had further caving potential.

Although there are regular flights between Darwin and Kupang in W. Timor the pricing of internal flights within Australia and within Indonesia made it considerably cheaper for us to visit the areas of interest by flying from Sydney to Bali and then take advantage of the Garuga Indonesia/Air Merpati "Visit Indonesia" package (three internal flights for US$300). South Sulawesi- Torajaland

After three days touristing in Bali we flew to Ujung Padang in Sulawesi. A long bus ride got us to Torajaland, where we a night in Makale before retracing our steps slightly to Kalosi, the same village where the TESS cavers had stayed a few years before. When we arrived, our intended accommodation appeared to be closed, but the owner materialised and opened it up for us. It transpired that visitors to Kalosi, especially foreigners, were few and far between.

The TESS report had suggested that it would be easier to find cave at the river level rather than trying to enter sinkholes high in the mountains that were blocked with earth. Consequently our first cave hunting foray involved following a tributary of the main river upstream in the hope of finding some resurgences. Apart from one very small fissure in the side of the river we found no other entrances. Further upstream the river had been extensively diverted into paddies, and the original river course was almost completely obscured by rice terraces.

On returning to the hostel we asked the owner and his family (and anyone else who sat still for long enough) if they knew of any caves in the area, making the best of our rudimentary Indonesian. They mentioned a number of caves, most of which we knew about from the TESS and APS reports, although they also mentioned caves in Tontonan, a village a few kilometres down the road, which weren't mentioned in the reports. We visited these caves with the help of a local man called "Jeri" who took it upon himself to guide us there.

In contrast to massive reef limestones which form the hills to the west of Kalosi, the caves at Tontonan were in the smaller limestone lenses which lie to the east. The Tontonan caves were situated in the cliffs to the west of the village of Tontonan ca 50m above the river. There were a number of caves most of which didn't penetrate more than 10m into the cliff and some of which were closed by bamboo gates (indicating the presence of a "fresh" corpse). Some caves had been used by the Japanese during WWII, one of which contained the skull of someone who'd been shot in the head. There is also an impressive burial site at Tontonan, with a number of bone filled sarcophagi perched on a ledge in a high limestone cliff.

It became evident that what caves there were in the area were either filled with silt or were under developed. We decided to head north to Rantapao where the limestone lenses are larger. We spent several days prospecting the karst to the north of the city. Several cave entrances were located at the base of the outcrops, all were short (ca. 10m) and either blocked with mud or sumped. Most of the caves and rock shelters in the area are used as burial caves, however the locals did not seem to mind our wanderings and quite happily directed us to them. [continued in next DTT]
Sherry Mayo & Mark Bown

Things for sale.

I have a furry suit and oversuit for sale, suit non- slim but non-fat female of about 5 foot 4 to 5 foot 6. Very Good condition. 35 quid the pair.

I also have a diving wetsuit (7mm) for sale. It's shrunk, I can't seem to fit into it any more. Suit someone a bit more lightly built than me. It's been to some interesting places. Very Good Condition, one careful owner from new. 65 quid.

Also, One copy of "Northern Caves I", new series. Bought by oversight. Usual Price. Start collecting your own guidebooks now, stop using mine, they're out of date anyway and you know I get really stroppy about people leaving them all over the place. Ha !
Steve Roberts