Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Conquering an Infinite Cave in Vietnam

Conquering an Infinite Cave
There’s a jungle inside Vietnam’s mammoth cavern. A skyscraper could fit too. And the end is out of sight.
By Mark Jenkins
Photograph by Carsten Peter

A giant cave column swagged in flowstone towers over explorers swimming through the depths of Hang Ken,
one of 20 new caves discovered last year in Vietnam.

A climber ascends a shaft of light in Loong Con, where humidity rises into cool air and forms clouds inside the cave.

A jungle inside a cave? A roof collapse long ago in Hang Son Doong let in light; plants thickly followed.
As "Sweeny" Sewell climbs to the surface, hikers struggle through the wryly named Garden of Edam.

Mist sweeps past the hills of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, its 330 square miles set aside in 2001 to protect one of Going underground,
expedition members enter Hang En, a cave tunneled out by the Rao Thuong River.
Dwindling to a series of ponds during the dry months, the river can rise almost 300 feet during the flood season, covering the rocks where cavers stand.
Asia's largest cave systems.
During the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese soldiers hid in caves from U.S. air strikes.
Bomb craters now serve as fishponds.

Going underground, expedition members enter Hang En, a cave tunneled out by the Rao Thuong River.
Dwindling to a series of ponds during the dry months, the river can rise almost 300 feet during the flood season, covering the rocks where cavers stand.

Headroom shrinks in the middle of Hang En as cavers pass beneath a ceiling scalloped by eons of floodwater rushing past.
The river shortly reemerges onto the surface, then burrows into Hang Son Doong after a few miles.

Moss-slick boulders and a 30-foot drop test author Mark Jenkins at the forest-shrouded entrance to Hang Son Doong.
"Even though these caves are huge, they're practically invisible until you're right in front of them," Jenkins says.
Hunters have found caves by spotting winds gusting from underground openings.

Hang Son Doong's airy chambers sprout life where light enters from above—a different world from the bare, cramped,
pitch-black spaces familiar to most cavers. Ferns and other greenery colonize rimstone. In the jungles directly beneath
roof openings, explorers have seen monkeys, snakes, and birds.

Rare cave pearls fill dried-out terrace pools near the Garden of Edam in Hang Son Doong. This unusually large collection
of stone spheres formed drip by drip over the centuries as calcite crystals left behind by water layered themselves around grains of sand,
enlarging over time.

Navigating an algae-skinned maze, expedition organizers Deb and Howard Limbert lead the way across a sculpted
cavescape in Hang Son Doong. Ribs form as calcite-rich water overflows pools.

Like a castle on a knoll, a rock formation shines beneath a skylight in Hang Son Doong. A storm had just filled the pool,
signaling that exploring season was coming to an end.

The trickiest challenge for the expedition team was to find a way over the Great Wall of Vietnam, an overhanging mass
of flowstone that blocked the way deep inside Hang Son Doong. Climbing specialists "Sweeny" Sewell and Howard Clarke
here work on anchoring bolts to the slippery, porous rock to support the weight of climbers using ropes.
Once over the wall, the expedition team discovered a second entrance into the cave.

Dubbed the Great Wall of Vietnam, a 200-foot cliff halted the advance of the first team to enter Hang Son Doong, in 2009.
When explorers returned, Sewell drilled bolts for climbers to scale the obstacle with ropes.
A white streak below, to his right, marks how high water rises during the wet season.

"It sounded like a roaring train," said "Sweeny" Sewell, describing the noise a second before a waterfall
exploded into Hang Son Doong through the Watch Out for Dinosaurs doline, or sinkhole opening.
A rare dry-season downpour produced the thundering runoff. Were the cavers scared of drowning?
"Maybe if it were a smaller cave," said expedition leader Howard Limbert, "but not here."

In the dry season, from November to April, a caver can safely explore Hang Ken, with its shallow pools.
Come the monsoon, the underground river swells and floods the passages, making the cave impassable.

Taking the only way in, a climber descends 225 feet by rope into Hang Loong Con.
A survey party discovered the cave in 2010, hoping it would connect with the enormous Hang Son Doong.
A wall of boulders soon blocked the way, but a powerful draft indicated that a large cavern lay on the other side.

Streams of light from the surface unveil stalagmites fat and thin on the floor of Hang Loong Con.
Cavers called the new find the Cactus Garden.

PPS & Video clips
PPS in Afrikaans

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love South Africa

A shop owner was tired of people breaking into his yard/shop so he came up with the idea of shaving his dog like a lion. Everyone in SA recognises a lion,
now he has no problem with thugs!
South African ingenuity we call it " 'n Boer maak 'n plan"



We can supply you a hangover

ama ouch!

The wooden bowl



The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law,
and four-year-old grandson.
The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred,
and his step faltered

The family ate together at the table.
But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult.
Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.
When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.
'We must do something about father,' said the son.

'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating,
and food on the floor.'

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.

There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two,
his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction,
sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.
Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions
when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son
playing with wood scraps on the floor.
He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?'
Just as sweetly, the boy responded,
'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama
to eat your food in when I grow up.
' The four-year-old smiled and went back to work..

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless.
Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.
Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand
and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family.
And for some reason,
neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer
when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.