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in the Velebit
Mountains in 2000
Marcin Furtak
Speleoklub "Bobry" Żagań

Cavers from Speleoklub Bobry Żagań got interested in Croatia's caves while visiting the deepest cave pitches in the world. In the autumn they descended into Patkov Gust, the deepest cave pitch in Croatia and the second deep in the world, with its depth of 553 m.
In September 2000 along with cavers from Speleoklub Gawra from Gorzów they explored the Velebit Range (with the highest elevation of 1,758 m a.s.l.). So far there are two already known caves deeper than 1,000 m: Lukina Jama - 1,382 m and Slovačka Jama - 1,301 m. They were both explored in a very short time; it took only two years to do that. The expedition was a joint project of Polish cavers and Croatian Speleological Federation. The caves discovered during the expedition were named with symbol SOV-PL.
The Polish cavers discovered thirteen caves; among them Lubuska Jama (SOV-PL 2) is the deepest. Its entrance is situated at the elevation of 1,500 m a.s.l., and it was explored down to 330 m. The cave is much deeper, but the exploration had to be stopped due to shortage of equipment and water rise that followed. The cavers are going to continue the exploration of Lubuska Jama in September 2001.
Studnia Młodych (Youngsters Pitch - SOV-PL 12) with its depth of 150 m is the second significant discovery. The depths of the other caves range from 20 to 70 m.


First Polish expedition to Papua New Guinea

Grzegorz Ku¶piel
Klub Speleologiczny "Aven"

Cave exploration of Papua New Guinea region is a domain of only few nations. Among them the French take the most part. In the year 1998 they set the depth record of the southern hemisphere (-1,178 m), while exploring Murik-Berenice cave system (New Britain). Australians, Germans and the English also explored New Guinea. Australians explored probably the most known caves of Papua New Guinea. In the Muller Range, province Southern Highlands, they discovered two caves: 54.8 km long and -528 m deep Mamo Kananda and 34.5 km long and -350 m deep Atea Kananda2 . According to Australians, the potential depression of baseline of the massif is estimated at 1,500 m. British expeditions which explored New Guinea in the 70's and 80's were mainly interested in the region of Hindenburg Mountains, situated in the centre of the island, far away from civilization.

First reports on mighty, but difficult to reach karst massifs, rising even as high as 3,500 m came from geologists employed in gold mines in the neighbourhood of the settlement of Telefomin. In one of such massifs close the Indonesian border cavers discovered cave Selminum Tem. Operating under extremely harsh conditions of tropical jungle, they explored over 20 km of underground galleries. However, the cave developed mainly horizontally. The deepest cave found at that time - Terbil Tem reached the depth of -354 m (location: Fault Valley, Telefomin, Western Province, Papua New Guinea).
Western Province where those discoveries took place ranges among the least explored and hardly ever visited regions of Papua New Guinea. It is also counted among one of the virgin soils of the world. It was there that in 1992 a tribe was found, which social and technical evolution stopped at the stage of Neolithic people.

In the equatorial jungle of Papua New Guinea

On January 31, 2001, a huge Boeing 747 took off the Frankfurt Airport apron so as to land in Indonesia fourteen hours later. Two intermediate landings more and with the third we reached our destination, Jayapura. Western Irian at last, our long dreamt of Papua. General Consulate of Papua New Guinea resides in Jayapura. Obtaining visas didn't cause any difficulties. On March 3, 2001, we pulled our boats out of the water on the shore of Vanimo Bay3 and set our feet on scorched soil of Papua.

photo: Grzegorz Ku¶piel

The planned region of our exploration (Telefomin - the Victor Emanuel Mountains) could only be reached by air. After an hour flight over endless jungle we landed in rainy Telefomin, in the Victor Emanuel Mountains. Altimeter pointed to 1,550 m above sea level and there was no trace of Vanimo's heat. Mercury column didn't reach over 18oC.
During our nine-day stay in the surrounding of Telefomin we explored the massif of Botop Tikin (Mt. Botop) rising over the village of Telefolip and southern slopes of the mountain towering above the settlement of Telefomin. On the grown with high grass slopes of the Botop Tikin we discovered two caves: Botop Tem (PL-1, location: 141o 37' 227" E, 05o, 10' 870" S, entrance elevation: 1,890 m above sea level) and PL-2 (location: 141o 37' 227" E, 05o 10' 788" S, entrance elevation 1,920 m above sea level).

1- NAMBAWAN means "number one" in pidgin English
- Kusch Heinrich (1990). Die längsten und tiefsten Hohlen Sudostasien, Stand 1988 - Hohle Jhrg. 4, Lonely Planet 1998
- Vanimo - the capital of province Sandaun, police post, post office, bank, 8,000 inhabitants.

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