wilderness LECTURES

Into The Pupu

Martyn Farr on 04/03/2015 19:30

Advance: ?8.00 Door: ?8.50 Concession: ?7.50: Season ?88.00

Chemistry Theatre, University of Bristol
Martyn Farr (c) Helen Farr

Martyn is world renowned as a caver and cave diver. He is responsible for the discovery of miles of cave passage in many countries and is internationally acclaimed for his prolific writing and stunning photography. Caving from the age of ten and discovering new caves by the age of 16, Martyn remains as passionate as ever. Martyn began cave diving in 1971 and by 1981 had established a world record for underwater cave penetration in the Bahamas. In the UK he is particularly renowned for his exploration in Wookey Hole - 1977 and 1982 - and the first traverse of Llangattock Mountain in Wales in 1986. Many expeditions have been made worldwide, to such places as Iran, Mexico, Borneo, China, Dominican Republic, Japan, Spain, the Canary Islands, the Ballearics, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Australia, Russia and most recently New Zealand. Age has not diminished his enthusiasm or powers of endurance. In November 2012 he explored over one mile of new cave in South Island, New Zealand and in December 2013 he discovered another mile of virgin cave beyond sumps in the same area. These outstanding discoveries were solo undertakings which amazingly he managed to video. Martyn is internationally recognised as a cave and cave diving photographer and has taken any number of celebrities underground including HRH?s Princes William and Harry.


Preparing to dive in Old Cottage Cave. (c) Richard Hill

The marble mountains at the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island present magnificent opportunities for all outdoor activists and especially challenging sites for original exploration. They are riddled with long and deep cave systems and the explorations undertaken here in recent years rate among the most audacious in the world. For many years the emphasis has been upon pushing ever deeper into the cave systems on places like Mount Arthur with the creation of some of the longest and technically difficult caves in the world.

In 2011 a new and excitingly different exploratory project appeared in the Takaka Valley, south of Golden Bay. Several short caves were discovered at the Spittal Springs homestead and all ended at sumps. The hydrology of the valley is complex but everything ultimately reappears at the hugely impressive Pupu Springs, over 12 km from the Spittal homestead. Pupu is wholly inaccessible at the present time but as one of the largest springs in the world the extent of the postulated system here is vast.

Supported by friends in November and December 2012 Martyn Farr undertook a series of solo cave diving operations in three of the Spittal caves and discovered just over a mile of new cave. He returned the following year and passed three upstream sumps in Old Cottage Cave, extending the limit of exploration to one mile from the entrance. In Totara Cave another solo dive resulted in the discovery of Avalon, one of the most spectacularly decorated chambers in the world. Despite being on his own, Martin achieved a good photographic record of the system and a lot more cave is assured.

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