Sulawesi Update

Since my visit to Sulawesi in 1985/86, a major French expedition has visited the Maros karst area and published its results in an excellent expedition report: "Expedition Thai Maros 86" by the Association Pyreneenne de Speleologie is a professionaly bound 177 page document full of photographs and surveys. It covers an expedition which visited Thailand, Sulawesi and Halniohera but the most important exploration of the trip was Gua Salukang Kallong (GSK) in Sulawesi.

Gua Salukang Kallong

GSK has turned out to be a splendid 12km long cave with a spectacular main streamway which is illustrated in colour on the cover of the report. The limit of my rather ill equiped exploration was about 1km into the cave at the head of a 60m pitch. This tributary passage leads eventually to an immense underground river passage about 3km long and three other lower entrances. It is a major cave system which probably has much still to offer, especially to the diver since there is still at least 5km to go to the resurgence at Bantimurung.

The expedition also explored about 20 other caves in the area, many of which I have visited, though under different names. These included a survey of Gua Sampaeng (my Leang Bettue) showing it to be 460m long. This cave also revealed prehistoric cave paintings and pottery. Gua Bahoruddin (my Gua Basir) was also visited. My Gua Abdul and Gua Pangia were apparently overlooked by the French.

The Maros karst obviously has huge scope for future discovery, especially in the northern part of the outcrop which was not visited by this French expedition.


  1. Expedition Thai Moros 86 Association Pyreneenne de Speleologie 1987
  2. Cave Paintings in Sulawesi - Indonesia A Ockenden Pelobates 52 1987
  3. Caves of the Maros/Pongkajene Karst, Sulawesi A Ockenden Pelobates 49 1987
  4. Limestone and Caves of Sulawesi A Ockenden Pelobates 48 1986
  5. Cave Burials of Tonagh Tiroja A Ockenden Pelobates 48 1986
Allan Ockenden