Cave Adventures in Indonesia (Part 1)

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It wasn’t my idea to explore caves while half vacationing in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. If it were up to me, I’d probably spend my one weekend there seeing old temple sites, eating a bunch of gudeg (local specialty dish), and probably getting as many massages the body can possibly endure. I’m glad I have my boyfriend to push me to do new things when I need it, and I’d like to think that I play the same role in his life.

So on one fine Sunday, we embarked with four other curious souls on a cavetastic adventure. Our destinations were Goa Jomblang and Goa Kalisuci (goa in Indonesia means caves), located not too far southeast from Yogya, about an hour and a half drive out. I’ll be blogging about these two caves over a series of posts, since short summaries do not do the majestic beauty of each cave justice.

We first made a stop at Goa Jomblang, but only after the typical, unplanned detour that happens when traveling outside the major cities in Indonesia. There’s always going to be some kind of delay in your journey; it could be a wedding or funeral procession taking place on the street, a pothole so huge everyone’s afraid to go over it, or a trail of ducks blocking the road (all has happened to me, and I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what locals regularly put up with). This time though, it was just a simple road construction on the main village road that led to the cave touring company’s location.  A couple vague directions from a couple villagers and some u-turns later, we eventually arrived.

And what we saw, after putting our gears on and getting briefed on safety procedures, was this:

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Then it dawned on most of us that in about half an hour we would all be standing at the bottom of the hole. And then a second realization: for that to happen, our lives would depend on a rope pulley system while we descended 60 meters into the abyss. The tour company assured us that their equipment could hold up to 40 tons.

Photo by Jeremy Pivor

Photo by Jeremy Pivor

After we all faced our fears and were lowered down, we were in a completely different environment. The air much more humid than up above. The vegetation was still dense and lush with plants, some of which we were told are ancient and supposedly unique only to this cave (somehow I highly doubt that). With our straps loosened, we started our muddy trek to even lower grounds to reach the entrance to Goa Jomblang. We all treaded carefully down the slippery slope. One by one we reached all the way down to the cave’s entrance and stepped inside.

Photo by Jeremy Pivor

Photo by Jeremy Pivor

Photo by Jeremy Pivor

Stay tuned, because in my next post, I’ll share with you what we saw inside the darkness.

 

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