Day 14 – Arrival at the first cliffs

I decided not to make the crossing alone. We packed up the camp and set off, in no hurry, arriving around 12.30pm at the “Dua” camp, where we’d been the day before. We had lunch there, chatted some more, and had a really nice time. At around 2pm we set off again for a slightly longer run than the one we’d done in the morning, but there was a bit more current as well, so it went a bit faster.

We saw quite a few streams coming up on the right and left, all the way to a beautiful waterfall with lots of concretions, as we had seen in previous days. We tried to climb back up with Jamyl but it took a long time, so we didn’t make it all the way. It would be worth exploring to see where it’s going. It probably goes underground, given the amount of calcareous concretions, which means that the water is high in calcium. So there’s an outlet somewhere and given the enormous flow, it’s a very large collector of Matarombeo’s underground water, so it could give rise to a huge underground system.

Then we set off again and took a few photos, the lights and landscapes were very beautiful. As you approach Matarombeo, the terrain becomes much higher, more pronounced and more impressive.

We landed at the very first cliffs into which the river rushes on the southern flank of Matarombe When I was looking for a small camp to set up for the night, I already saw the first cave, with ceramics on the floor, traces of anoas or babi, and relatively large entrances, so I guess you have to walk a few dozen or a few hundred metres underground to see what’s going on. Since there are ceramics, there are also potentially paintings.

We set up on the left bank because there was nothing to set up on the grotto side. We’re on a platform that’s not great because we’re not very high up, barely a metre above the water. We don’t want a big storm or we’ll end up with our feet in the water.

Above us, there’s another cliff that we’ll be exploring tomorrow morning. We’ll then cross to the other side to see the cave I saw earlier. And then there are plenty of others, so all day tomorrow and the day after, unless we’re demolished by our fungal infections, we should be exploring these varied caverns to try and find as many things as possible.

Just to take stock of the situation, Ime is feeling pretty good, but can’t walk for long. Antoine took two and a half days off completely, so it healed really well. On the other hand, Bagus is in pain, you can tell, he couldn’t put his toes down this evening, and Jamyl is even worse, his feet are really swollen and pink, you can tell he’s in a lot of pain and he’s not sleeping very well. My fungal infections are also back. Earlier, when I put on my shoes to explore the waterfall, I felt that it was coming back fast and strong.

I think we’re going to end up with really sore feet in two or three days’ time, but we’ll try to hold out until then to discover a few things in the area.

We saw lots of hydrosaurs, and Ime told us he’d seen a monitor lizard at the previous camp. The sound of the water doesn’t overwhelm the sound of the forest. You can hear the birds, the frogs and the insects, and it’s great to be bathed in this atmosphere. We’re going to try and get as much sleep as we can so that we’re as fit as a fiddle tomorrow!

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