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Archive for the ‘strange places’ Category

Papua New Guinea 375-001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I recently conducted an interview with Anne Gordon, a well known Canadian travel writer. Anne had just recently returned from Papua New Guinea and in particular, a trip up the Sepik River where she visited local tribes and learned something of the Malagan culture).

See the Papua New Guinea documentary interview with Anne Gordon here

As a travel writer Anne speaks about the benefits of belonging to NATJA and other travel organizations, the benefits such as sponsored trips and the professional development opportunities that are open for travel writing.

As Anne said, “New Guinea is undoubtedly the most exotic and fascinating place she has ever been, there are over 900 tribes scattered throughout the island and an an ecosystem that spreads both above and beneath the surface”. Many of New Guinea’s tribes maintain customs and cultures that hold a special fascination for us in the west. Head hunting and cannibalism still exist in isolated pockets and have been practised quite commonly within the last 100 years.

Anne Gordon’s interview centres around the Sepik River and the carver’s of the Malagan culture, in particular the master carvers of New Ireland, she shows many incredible pictures of the tribes in that area and the tribal culture of New Guinea.

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snogof, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This past weekend Jeff and I visited a spot in the forest where we had found a tunnel this past summer. We had been trying to dig into the tunnel but the bugs were terrible. Now that the ground is heavily laden with snow there is no such problem – now its the cold. Anyway, after about 4 hours of digging and levering frozen boulders we managed to create a hole large enough to look well into our suspected cave and what we saw within was an elliptical shaped tunnel that was plugged by boulders. A small waterfall dropped from the roof of the tunnel and beyond, a chamber in marble.

See video for Snowgof – breathing tunnel here.

We are yet to access the chamber, but with great difficulty Jeff photographed a small segment of the chamber. In his picture you can see a wall of pure white marble and you can hear the water falling within.

Near the entrance the roof is encrusted with frost thus indicating airflow from deeper in the earth. In fact it was the smear of frost on the wall outside the cave that first got us digging there in earnest. Based on its proximity to the edge of a steep slope and no apparent resurgence at its bottom I am left to conclude that the water flowing into the cave must be dropping down deep quite quickly. I suspect that it goes down a shaft such as you see in Twin Trickles Cave.

Spring will reveal what lies beyond.

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Embryo2, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This past weekend Rob, Jeff and I visited Embryo Cave with the intention of digging out something of the earth plug at the lower end of the cave’s main stream passage.

see video of Cave Exploration in Canada (video) here

lying pressed between the rock and the dirt it was an experience from which I was unable to shake the feeling that it was as though we were returning to mother earth. We dug for some time in the earth as we suspected that in breaching an earthen crest up ahead we would possibly break into tunnel that led onwards and downwards. There appears to be a lower water filled level in this cave. The flowing stream bubbles up in sand part way along the main trunk passage and it sinks again just short of the earthen plug.

Sadly we tired before we got through the dirt, but it was close and next time we visit we will certainly complete the job.

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For cave exploring in Ontario this one is possibly one of the more exciting possibilities. This past weekend Jeff and I explored the tunnels for some short distance, but we were turned back by the conditions which were less than favourable – namely the cold, the prospect of a storm on the surface and my knee pads which kept sagging down and so my knees were torn to shreds.

nevertheless, for Adventure in Ontario I am still optimistic of eventually reaching the end. Thus far several pushes have not revealed the sump-point. On one trip we reached a spot called the aero-foil and past that a squeeze then bigger tunnels beyond.

I am thinking that the cave goes deep and the many sinkholes in the area must meet up with these tunnels somewhere beyond where we have crawled.

see the video here for Adventure in Ontario, Exploring the Wasteland Waterway Cave, Caving in Ontario, Canada

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Xibalba, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I have produced a short Mexican documentary on the Yucatan entitled ‘Cenotes in Tulum’. In this video I visit a number of cenotes around tulum, all reachable by bike from the town.

the cenotes are a favourite dive site and their density and their extent makes Tulum arguably, the cave dive capital of the world. admittedly, I think they mean cavern dive.

See the Mexican documentary on the Yucatan and Cenotes in Tulum here.

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epi, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

It was quite early on a misty morning and we were heading toward the Hluhluwe – Umfolozi gate.

To my surprise a large herd of elephant came rumbling across the road, not in a line, but bursting from the bush along a wide front, a tsunami of leathery, grey behemoths.

As a matron stood threateningly, ears set forth from her head and trunk waving back and forth one tiny fellow stopped briefly to push the car in front. I nervously played with the gear shift and considered that a rapid u-turn might be necessary.

See Elephants in Hluhluwe – African wildlife here

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Dubai2, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Dubai …. Where do I start? It’s not a place that I would typically choose to visit, firstly because of the money involved and secondly, I tend toward natural settings and shopping and touring in the UAE is anything but that.

As one of the stewardesses said on the emirates flight over “You’re living in a bubble”. Emirates is undoubtedly a top-of-the-line airways, no slouches hired for their crew. Mum said that it was how stewardesses used to look, very glamorous, bone thin and fashionable in an eastern kind of way.

The airport in Dubai is unbelievable, a combination between casino and palace, chrome and marble everywhere, but surprisingly, the toilets in the departure lounge were of the squat variety, with place to hang your dish-dash and hose to flush everything clean.

It seems that Dubai is the crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe. In the above picture I capture the image of a plane load of Pilgrims on their way to Mecca. There seems to be a kind of civilization here where money, arts and the finest of everything intermixes, all under the umbrella of social modesty and unbridled opulence. Needless to say Kim Kardashian’s visit to the Atlantis was a controversial one in a country where there are such rigid moral codes, but as would appear, money bends anything. I toured the aquarium under the Atlantis and took some amazing video there.

See this video on touring Dubai at night, visiting the Burj al Arab and the Burj Khalifa.

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