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Photographic trip to Hang Son Doong and Khanhs Resurgence
The walk alone into Hang En must be one of the best wild walks in the world. The views of the jungle and karst are spectacular and a highlight was meeting the minority tribes of Ban Duong. The walk to Hang En starts at kilometre 45 and took about four hours. The view of Hang En at the head of the valley was well worth the walk. The wide entrance was going to be home for the next few days, or so we thought.
Camp was soon set up and the kettle boiling on the open fire. We had two main objectives, first to have a look at a resurgence cave which Mr Khanh had found, which was only a twenty minute walk away. Secondly to photograph the very large new find of Hang Son Doong, which we felt was going to be a tall order, due to our photographer Howard injuring his back previously on a trip to Minh Hoa. After a visit to a masseur who turned out to be blind, he managed to get semi sorted out.
We set off to explore the resurgence cave. Perhaps it was not the best idea to send two none swimmers to explore an extremely wet resurgence cave, but off we went. Mr Khanh, our guide, set off walking first along a fallen tree and leapt off into space landing on the edge of a small cliff! We traversed along the base of a cliff until we arrived at a small entrance with a stream emerging. Here Sweeney and Snablet decided to stash some cans of beer for later! (Who is the bad influence on whom?).
We set off and soon arrived at the first swim.
Snablet and Sweeney suggested that Watto go explore, and let them know the dimensions. Watto’s reply was unrepeatable, with words to the effect of ‘if I go, you go’.
The pool ended in a short low air space into a wet area with stal down to water level. I turned around to mark the survey station, to see my tub of dry skin lotion (bum cream) floating on the lake surface. This humoured Sweeney and Snablet immensely!
The cave continued through canals and over climbs until it sumped at 265 metres. A return to camp and an early night after a tea of sausage, onions, chips and gravy (northern boys love gravy) was in order, to prepare for the trip in the morning.
Morning came and during breakfast there was a disturbance from the locals, who refused to go near the washing line where Howard’s underwear was hanging. To our horror there was a massive green snake draped on the washing line! It was dispatched by one of the locals.
We set off into Hang En which is the way through the hill, which has to be one of the finest cave exits in the world. The walk continues down a meandering river gradually increasing in size, until an obvious resurgence from the left doubles the size of the flow. This water I was informed comes from Khe Ry. Half kilometre down stream the first sink is met, at this point we start the climb up to Son Doong.
What a draught, as you look down the entrance .I caught sight of the size of the passage, also the clouds which were going to give us such a problem for the rest of the trip. Sweeney soon had the rope rigged and off we went, at the bottom of the pitch abseil gear abandoned we set off towards the first river crossing; it was apparent to everyone how big this cave was.
We started the process of photographing this immense cave passage but the condensation and misting on any flash near the camera was a problem. We took photos to the top of the slope above the level playing fields despite the clouds and mist. We turned for home taking a few more shots by the river crossings for good luck.
An uneventful night in camp and a great walk out ended a superb outing into what could be the worlds largest cave passage.