Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cave of the Ghost

Ralph Buttigieg

Sydney, New South Wales Australia

Following the discovery of the Lost World in Indonesia explorers have found another untouched paradise, this time in a Venezuelan cave.

A cave so huge helicopters can fly into it has just been discovered deep in the hills of a South American jungle paradise.

Actually, "Cueva del Fantasma"—Spanish for "Cave of the Ghost"—is so vast that two helicopters can comfortably fly into it and land next to a towering waterfall.

It was found in the slopes of Aprada tepui in southern Venezuela, one of the most inaccessible and unexplored regions of the world. The area, known as the Venezuelan Guayana, is one of the most biologically rich, geologically ancient and unspoiled parts of the world.

This is the first geographic report and photographic evidence of such an immense cave. However, researchers say, it isn’t really a cave, but a huge, collapsed, steep gorge.

As a bonus, researchers also discovered a new dendrobatid frog species, Colostethus breweri, named for the frog’s identifier, Charles Brewer-Carías. Dendrobatid frogs make up the group of amphibians commonly known as “poison dart” frogs.

I mention in a previous post there might still be significant discoveries to be made in South America. It will be interesting to see what turns up next.

Aussie Antarctic Updates

Heres the latest on the polar explorers I wrote about in a previous post. Andrew Mcauley's kayak team has been battling 40 knot winds and brash ice but have reached Peterman Island and will soon reach the hard part of the expedition:

South from here we really start to get to the business end of this expedition. The big question is around the sea ice conditions in Crystal Sound and through the Gullet, the narrow channel between Adelaide Island and the mainland. The really difficult stuff is still a few days paddle to the south. Here's hoping that the cards fall our way and we can get through!

Keep paddling boys!

The other team, the Icebirds, will trial their kitesled in Greenland before attempting Antarctica:

Pat and Ben have been organising the latest Kitesled adventure to Greenland. In April/May this year they will cross the Greenland Icecap both ways, unsupported, on their kitesleds. They will have supplies for a month, and, all going well may have a crack at some of the longest held records in sailing and Polar exploration. This trip is more than just a shakedown for the Antarctic trip, it is a remarkable trip in its own right, minimum distance to be covered is 1500km, maximum? Well that’s part of what we aim to find out.

I'll let everyone know of any major developments.