Cave diving in West Timor
It's been 4 absolutely techtastic days of cave exploration here in Kupang, West Timor.
Our team started by exploring Crystal Cave which is a small (approximately 150 m) cave system with fairly easy access and Crystal clear waters with a comfortable temperature of around 28' C.
We spend two days exploring and mapping this little gem.
For our last two days we had our eyes set on a bigger system, Oehani Cave.
Oehani Cave is a much larger cave, but it also offer crystal clear water at 28' C.
On our first visit here we choose to attempt to traverse the cave from one entry to another exit with a linear distance of approximately 450m (the inside of the cave system obviously does not allow for a direct route). The traverse is extremely challenging physically as the equipment have to be transported through a dry sump for about 150m with elevation changes of up to around 40m in extreme heat and very high humidity. The environment is hypoxic (lower than normal content of oxygen), making it extremely hard to move the equipment through the loose rubble while your body is screaming for oxygen. After the steep climb there is a 10m vertical drop that we had to rope our equipment and ourselves down through.
After the dry chamber we where rewarded with a massive area spanning about 200m with ditto visibility. The cave system itself is made of petrified corals and you can clearly recognize many of the corals. The ceiling is scattered with majestic yellowish crystallized stalacities, making the environment almost dreamlike.
With an average depth of about 10m the no decompression limit is far far away and with sidemount configuration we had plenty of gas to breath at this shallow depth.
The cave system is best dived in sidemount as there are plenty of restrictions that will be difficult, if not impossible for the back mounted diver to pass. One of these restrictions is the exit.
We had around 140 minutes of bottom time in the cave, but the total duration of the traverse was over 5 hours.
On our second day in Oehani Cave we chose to enter from the previous days exit to avoid the strenuous climb through the dry area and spend a few hours exploring the massive main chamber as well as doing some needed guide line maintenance to improve the safety of coming dives in this spectacular cave system that I am confident that every cave diver will find breathtaking both visually, but also physical should they attempt the traverse. With over 5000 dives it comes with some weight when I say that my dives in Oehani has been my best dives to date!
After the dry chamber we where rewarded with a massive area spanning about 200m with ditto visibility. The cave system itself is made of petrified corals and you can clearly recognize many of the corals. The ceiling is scattered with majestic yellowish crystallized stalactites, making the environment almost dreamlike.