Down in Tasmania, a new depth-record for Australian cave exploration has been set while connecting the country’s deepest cave with its third.

Cave divers from the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers were led by Stephen Fordyce when they claimed the feat last month, after heading into Niggly Cave and finding its connection to the Growing Swallet system. The feat also set a new cave depth record of 395m.

The crew of 10 spent four days camping underground below Mount Field National Park – north-west of Hobart.

After hours of lowering gear into the cave, they abseiled and rode flying-foxes past waterfalls before Stephen took off for a gnarly 100-minute and 250m horizontal dive through a flooded passage.

Wriggling through a claustrophobic’s nightmare he laid guidelines through the underwater maze to ensure he could exit, before eventually reaching a line he’d placed four years earlier when diving from the other direction in the Swallet System.

Linking the two guidelines together meant the whopping decade-long pursuit of connecting the caves was over and a celebratory shaka was thrown for the headcam footage.

The monster of a project has been the subject of a documentary, Tartarus: The Search for the Junee Master Cave. It’s yet to be released but you can check out the trailer.


Feature image from the Tartarus Documentary Trailer by Fraser Johnston

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