ritish cavers read with admiration the well documented account of the French Expedition to explore the world's largest underground rivers. Situated in the Nakanai Mountains of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, enormous great shafts penetrated the tropical rain forest. These measured up to 1000 feet deep and 1000 feet in diameter and intersected huge tunnels carrying rivers of up to 20 cumecs. Progress could only be made by traversing along banks of the river. Where the banks gave out, Grapnel Irons were used to traverse to the other side. These difficult traverses accompanied by the deafening roar made the exploration extremely dangerous.
ne cave in particular, the Nare, over 200 metres deep, can only be described as one of the wonders of the world. The french team stopped the perilous expedition after 2kms.Thus the gauntlet was thrown down. It was picked up 4 years later by a British team led by Dave Gill. Only cavers known to Dave personally were selected, for reasons of personal survival.
he aim was simple. To fully explore the Nare, to explore and survey any other caves in the vicinity. The explorers selected were: Steph Gough, Tim Allen, Alan Gamble, Dave Gill, Des Marshall, Dave Sims, Dave Arveschoug, Rod Leach, John Salmon, Steve Dickinson, Ken Kelly, and Jim Hook, Many of these being from or the High Peak. With sponsorship from British Airways and The Bank Line Sponsorship, it was considered in the caving world that the expedition was 'sticking its neck out', but a 'pig-headed' determination to see the project through, no matter what, paid of in the end.