Kija Blue 2006 Expedition

Hi There Fellow Explorers !

I am very pleased to provide this quick report to let you know that our expedition to Kija Blue was highly successful with all dives being conducted safely and effectively. Better news still, there is more exploration and leads to pursue in this incredibly beautiful, deep and remote cave diving site in Australia's North West, or Kimberley region.

The team spent ten days on site and explored the underwater perimeter of the sinkhole to a depth of over 110m, making this Australia's second deepest cave diving site after The Shaft at Mt Gambier (126m). There are leads at the deepest level of Kija Blue which may yet see this being the deepest Australian cave diving site. Tentative plans are already being made for a return trip next year to investigate this!

Being located in a tropical area, the massive rainfall of the 2005/2006 Wet Season had a significant impact on the site, altering the distribution of aquatic plantlife in the lakes as well as the size and shape of floor pits seen at 65m depth in the Colossal Room. The water level was significantly higher than our visit in 2005 and the lake water level was measured to drop by 30mm every day as it feeds nearby surface springs. A number of aquatic fauna species were collected for identifiaction by the WA Museum, including some unusual, tiny, hermit crab-like creatures.

More than one kilometre of additional passages were surveyed on this trip, with more than 60% of that at depths in excess of 60m. Ken Smith's newly modified Deep Pingers were used to locate accurate surface positions for 13 different survey points, including some as deep as 100m.

It should be noted that the exploration of this deep cave diving site would not have been possible without the use of closed circuit rebreathers. The logistics of transporting the necessary open circuit gas to the sinkhole would have been cost-prohibitive (as it was, the team members laid out at least $3000 each to complete this trip).

The next step is for the map to be compiled from all the survey and pinger data collected. This will be followed by full trip reports and articles for publication. For more information and some photos from this trip, please see http://www.trimixdivers.com and follow the links to the Kija Blue 2006 Expedition.

Kindest Regards and Safe Diving,

Paul Hosie
Trip Leader
Western Australian Speleological Group
Australian Speleological Federation - Cave Diving Group

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