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Gunung Buda Expedition 2000

News from Camp

Week 4

Feb. 16
Feb. 17
Feb. 18
Feb. 19

Feb. 20
Feb. 21
Feb. 22

Weeks 1 - 3
Week 5 (Feb. 23-29)
Week 6 (Mar. 1- 8)

Meet the Camp Staff

Our Malaysian Colleagues

The Expedition Comes to an End!

MARCH 8 LIMBANG: Gunung Buda Expedition 2000 is now officially over. This morning, the remaining participants packed their bags, load them into a gigantic dump truck, and headed for Star Gate. Six or seven crane loads later, all our equipment, expedition members, and staff were safely on the east (or north) bank of the Limbang River. Leaving Buda Camp was difficult. In the last days, a major breakthrough in the Wot Wot Frog Entrance to Sistem Bukit Assam left major borehole unsurveyed, with untapped leads everywhere. When Mike and Andrea Futrell and Steve Smith returned from their marathon trip at 2:30 AM, they posted a sign that said it all.

Read About Sistem Bukit Assam

March 5         March 6 & 7

And there's still work to do in Compendium, Hornbill, Snail Shell, Green Cathedral, and Turtle, just to mention a few. And the discovery of Spirit's River opens the the potential for major karst features where the local geology maps show no limestone at all. Plans for the next Expedition have begun, even before this one is finished.

Now that the Expedition is over, some members are headed home, while others are traveling throughout the region, playing tourist, and seeing the sights. As we trickle home over the next few months, this web site will continue to expand, with more logs from the Expeditions, and with additional stories from further travel.

News from Camp

Week 3

Feb 16 - 22. We now join the Gunung Buda Expedition 2000 at the start of the 4th week of the Expedition. During the first half of the Expedition, "News From Camp" was posted by the Gunung Buda On-line Educational Project. The members of the Educational Project have now headed home, and we pick up where they left off. To read about the first three weeks, see THE GUNUNG BUDA DAILY NUTSHELL.

Many Expedition participants wrote trip reports at the end of each day. These logs are derived from those reports, and represent only a small portion of the actual activities of the team.

Where are all the pictures? We've been taking lots of pictures, but technical problems prevent posting them just now. We'll get them up as soon as we can.

On the way to Buda Camp

The trip from Limbang to Buda Camp takes about 3 hours. From Limbang we go by 4WD to Star Gate, where the logging companies transfer logs across the Limbang River by cable. If the cable is running, we can ride across, otherwise we cross by boat. Once we're across, it's another hour by 4WD to camp.

February 16, 2000

Five new arrivals late in the evening. Dave Cowan, Steve Smith, Andy Porter, Chris Andrews and Peri Frantz bounced into camp, minus Dave's Big Duffle which ended up in Madras, India, thanks to the airlines. We expect it to catch up any day now. For the time being he's got his cot, the clothes on his back, a loud pair of shorts purchased in Limbang, plus what he can borrow.

There's a large departure planned for 4:00 AM tomorrow. Joel, Deebel, Fritzke, Viv and Creature are going off to Sabah for other nature viewing, and plan to return. Robert, Sean, Brad and Mary are going to Sabah and then heading home.

February 17, 2000

Piglet and Buda River Cave. Still no sign of Dave's duffle.

Dave, Steve, Andy, Mark R., Herb, Chris A., entered Snail Shell via the Three Little Pigs (Piglet) entrance to climb a lead left by the 1997 expedition. Herb has been talking about this climb all week, and he, Mark & Chris will make the climb. The others followed to take pictures of the action, and to observe the biology. Chris lead the climb, setting six bolts. 160' (55m) up, the lead tapered into a highly decorated room. Chris has named this section of the cave Chutes and Ladders. The team saw several spiders, black and blond cockroaches, and some beetles. Andy took lots of pictures.

Roger, Christopher, Bill & Peri were off to Buda River Cave to see if the main stream flow was down enough to survey. It was, just barely, and with the aid of inner tubes, we started at the end of Mark D.'s survey of the Little Buda River, and surveyed up the main stream. Current was swift enough to present a challenge, but we stuck to the main stream until people began to get cold. An alcove in the left cave wall provided access to a dry upper complex, where the survey continued. This brought us to a balcony over the main stream, with a view upstream of a stunning karst window into the Jungle. Beyond the balcony, the passage returned to stream level again. Surveyed 330+ meters, and there's still lots to do. Returned to camp by floating down the Sungai Buda, first through steep sided limestone canyon, and then through impenetrable jungle.  

February 18, 2000

Babylon & Piglet

Mark R., Pete, Chris A., returned to Piglet to survey Chutes and Ladders, and continue the climb. Along the way were massive arrays of pure white helectites, a large shield on the ceiling, and profuse strange directional dendritic popcorn. There were also columns, totem poles, and rimstone pools. After completing the survey, the climb continued another 60' (20m), to a dome shaped room trending north/south. A promising lead with good air, continues from this wet, active, area, but was left for another day.

Meanwhile, in Babylon, two survey teams began working in opposite directions. Steve, Andy, and Bill started off down nice walking passage, through a stoopway, and up a climb. As the passage continued through a constriction, they spotted a cave racer on the ceiling. After slogging through a mud stoopway they also observed a white crab. Steve continues, "The passage beyond was very drippy and the conglomerate floor has been washed away. A few vertical shafts plunge down here - we left them undropped since we - of course - had no rope that day. Then a small showerhead and bathtub ... I enlarged a small constriction and pushed to a junction. To the left was a passage largely choked with stal, but nevertheless traversable." (to be continued.)

Glen, Roger, Merrilee, and Herb formed the other Babylon team. (details to follow).

Dave's duffel arrived at last, along with Mike & Andrea returning from a side trip to Sabah.  

 February 19, 2000

Babylon and Buda River Caves

Return to Babylon: Merrilee, Herb, Glen, and Roger returned to Babylon to push some far leads. Merrilee writes "Picked up where MA survey left off. ...We had hoped to find continuing big passage at the end of the cave, and planned to spend all night surveying accordingly. Although there is large passage out here, we didn't have any air to follow. We surveyed some smallish stuff, eventually hooking back into earlier survey survey, then left, slowly backtracking and checking side leads. Most of the passage we surveyed was very close to the start of that survey! Passage is another parallel rift intersected by sloping pancake passages, and lots of pits in the floor. Glen squeezed through a small hole in the floor and continued to an entrance, which we estimate to be up the hill and further south than the Disappointment entrances. ... Cave racers of a slightly different variety noted several times at Snake Junction. Left the cave at 6:15, just shy of 500 m. Interesting to spend the night (awake) in a cave."

The main river passage in Buda River Cave offers stunning views

Christopher, Dave, Bill and Peri continued the exploration of Buda River. A mud bank on the left hand bank bore the tracks of a large monitor lizard. Five toed feet, about 5 inches long, with prominent claws; stride about 15-18 inches and a sharp groove from a prominent tail keel. Didn't see any signs of the creature, however. Also observed bats, swiftlets, several large (6" to 9") Huntsman Spiders (their bite is rumored to put you in a coma for 2 days), crickets, land crabs, fish, isopods, and a strange critter called an amblipigyd, which is rather like a cross between a cricket and a crab.

 February 20, 2000

Happy Camp

Mike, Andrea, Steve, Andy and Pete left for Happy Camp, where they intend to spend several days. We won't know what they find until they return.

 February 21, 2000

Deliverance, Buda River, and arrivals/departures

Mark R., Chris A. and one of the Malay guides, also named Chris departed today for a multi-day push trip in Deliverance. They hope to connect all the way through Benerat (that's the next mountain south of Buda), to a known cave on the other side.

Roger, Christopher, Bill, Peri and Johnny (a local Bornean, and son of Hassan, who lived near Turtle Cave), returned to finish the survey in Buda River Cave. We tied in the missing segment of the river, and surveyed 2 major side leads on upper levels. There's now over a kilometer of passage here, and while the big stuff is pretty much wrapped up, there's still lots of little leads to do.

Carol Vesely and Lynn Jesaitis arrived today, accompanied by Viv and Creature returning after a fantastic break in Sabah. They spent a lot time playing with crabs on the beach. Peri and Bill took advantage of the transport to head for Limbang.

 February 22, 2000

Upper Turtle Cave & Web Posting

Viv, Creature, Christopher, and Dave Cowan went to Upper Turtle Cave. Dave took a short fall when a perfectly good looking handhold broke loose, but apart from being shook and scraped up was fine. The group made a brief trip to Palm Beach Rising and looked for, but failed to find Water Works Cave.

Peri and Bill stopped in Limbang on their way to Sabah, in order to post to the web. Crossed paths with Jed who was returning early from Sabah due to flooding at Uncle Tan's Jungle Camp, which made the wildlife viewing difficult, and the accommodations damp.

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Digital Photography for News from Camp by Andy Porter and Peri Frantz

Send comments, suggestions and inquiries to: apfrantz@pwpconsult.com

Page last updated 3/8/2000