BY RATUL BARUAH SHILLONG, NOV 21: Boating on a river inside a cave sounds unreal, but not anymore. Five adventurers including two foreigners set the record, first time in India and perhaps in the world, of kayaking and rafting inside a cave in Jaintia Hills, the den of some of the world’s longest limestone caves.
“ Kayaking was never so thrilling for us,” say Dan Rea- Dickins and Joe Rea- Dickins, both brothers from UK. The brothers duo, in their early twenties, did kayaking in many major rivers of the world including in Africa and India.
“ We are not experts in caving. But we have not heard anyone in the world attempting such an expedition,” Dan ( 21), who took up the oars at the age of 11, told The Meghalaya Guardian here.
The team of five took around 5.5 hours to sail along the 3.5- km- long river cave “ Krem Chympe”. The river cave has a series of very large and deep lakes, formed by the existence of more than 50 natural dams or gorges, 6 to 8 metre high.
With 10.5 km of surveyed length it is currently India’s fifth longest cave.
Cavers including foreign tourists in the past swam the stretch of the river, but no one has even thought of kayaking inside the cave.
The expedition team entered the mouth of the cave at Sielkan in East Jaintia Hills district with three ‘ packraft’s and two kayaks and ended up their voyage at Moolian where the cave has another entrance.
The brother duo came to Meghalaya for the second time after last year and covered almost east and every major rivers of Khasi- Jaintia region.
The other members of the team were Zorba Z Laloo, Gregory Diengdoh, and Banjop Iawphniaw.
Expressing his delight over success of the remarkable expedition, veteran caver of Meghalaya, Bryan Kharpran, said, “ This is the first such expedition in the world as far as my knowledge is concerned.” Kharpran, who founded Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association, said the Krem Chympe is one of the most unique caves and the government should take the initiative to promote it in global media.
He suggested that the organizations like the National Geographic should be invited to make a proper documentary on the cave.