The Caves of the Kosua - Exploring the Darai Plateau in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, December 2015 – January 2016
Session code: OE4
Oral / Exploration, Main EuroSpeleo Conference
Ms Aileen Brown
In December 2015, an Irish-led team of 14 cavers returned to the remote village of Fogoma'iu, in the lands of the Kosua tribe in Papua New Guinea. The village is situated in foothills of Mt. Bosavi, a relatively unexplored, extinct volcano deep in the jungles of the Southern Highlands province. The primary objective of the expedition was the exploration of the Darai Plateau, which extends for at least 70 km in a southeasterly direction from Mt. Bosavi and encompasses an area of well over 5000 km2. The expedition was the continuation of cave-mapping and exploration work begun by a similar, but smaller reconnaissance expedition in 2011, which in turn was inspired by caver and rope access specialist Tim Fogg's tales of huge caves experienced while filming the BBC “Lost Land of the Volcano” documentary in the area. In total, the team explored 36 caves and surveyed over 8 km of passage, while avoiding foot-rot and any major medical injuries and overcoming footwear trials and food tribulations.
I have 12 years' caving expedition experience in Ireland, Europe and further afield. I'm a long-standing member of the exploration-focused Shannon Group and have contributed to a number of cave breakthroughs in Ireland.