Weekend Warm-Up: Wara Kalap

In this film, set deep in the jungle of the Nakanai Mountains in Papua New Guinea, a 15-member French spelunking team searches for undiscovered caves and underground rivers. They start at the finish: a resurgence called Wara Kalap (Papuan for leaping water), spewing hundreds of gallons of water from its mountain jaws every second.

To find the source of the resurgence, they establish a base camp about 400m above sea level with the help of local indigenous people. From here, they begin hacking through thick jungle in search of openings that may lead them to their goal.

The subterranean formations and white coral limestone. Photo: Phil Bence

After three weeks of dead ends, the group decides to move up to 1,000m. Ensue two more weeks with no results, before they find two small entry points. These appear insignificant, but a strong rising air current gives the team hope that they lead somewhere.

They dive almost 700m below the surface and two kilometres from their entry point, probing in the dark for the collection basin of a significant underground river.

The film shows both their underground search and the above-ground views of the world’s most remote and virgin equatorial rainforest. Despite the extreme conditions, the group’s curiosity and sense of adventure allow them to follow their passion to fulfillment.