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Southeast Sulawesi Caves

↓ Southeast Sulawesi Caves
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Diving among the extraordinary karst formations in a cave on the island of Pulau Muna.
Author: Pete Mesley
Diving among the extraordinary karst formations in a cave on the island of Pulau Muna.

Sometimes exploration can be prompted by rigorous scientific research, sometimes the very best way, from someone on the ground, who observing with a keen and expert eye, can say: "we might have something here".

Robin Cuesta, a cave explorer and diving instructor, established a base in Wakatobi and began exploring a wide range of untouched caves in this region. He invited other team members to map and expand the results of his initial explorations.

The team soon concluded that the paths leading to the cave were specifically designed to test the endurance of daredevils wanting to dive in them. The help of a group of local island residents, who assisted in carrying kilometers of lines, diving, climbing, and photographic equipment, proved indispensable. As with many other expeditions, it became clear that building relationships with local communities is a necessary factor.

The first dives, aimed at checking whether the cave "would go," were usually possible to conduct in a swimsuit with a three-liter tank. After identifying the places with the greatest exploratory potential, the team proceeded to explore using a full gear configuration.

One of the remote caves showed great potential from the beginning, but the accumulation of sediments and pollution falling due to air bubbles striking the loose ceiling, as well as significant depth, necessitated the interruption of the exploration and its resumption at a later date in a CCR configuration.

On the island of Pulau Muna, the team discovered a cave that fulfilled the dreams of the most experienced explorers. It is a bright cave with almost white walls, adorned with fossils of giant clams and corals, and in a number that truly takes your breath away. Over 2 km of guide line was laid, and the exploration at this stage of the project was concluded. The team identified many side passages, the exploration of which is planned for the future.

The expedition in the jungles of Sulawesi lasted two weeks. The team checked over 15 caves and installed over 4 kilometers of guide line.

For more information about Southeast Sulawesi Caves, visit:


↓ Date of the project


↓ Location
Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
↓ Goals
  • To locate Sulawesi's unexplored caves that need to be mapped for future exploration and conducting first-ever dives there.

  • To make photographic documentation of inaccessible and unknown places of Sulawesi.

  • To find deep in the jungle of Sulawesi sources of fresh water for the local villages.
  • ↓ Achievements

    Exploration of 15 new caves, in which over 4 kilometers of guide line was installed.

    ↓ Team
    • Pete Mesley
    • Robin Cuesta
    • Maria Bollerup
    • Rasmus Dysted

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