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© 2005 by Lars Bjurström



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Curious gypsum flower from deep inside UPM-Cave.

Andrea Chow in "Jaws Room", Surprise Cave.

Friendly Cave, which may become KSA's first tourist cave 

Lars in Friendly Cave

Mona-Lis in Surprise Cave.
Stalactites broken by vandals in Surprise Cave.
Stalactites broken by vandals in Surprise Cave.

Natalia Kozak in Surprise Cave.

"The Room of the Dancing Stalactites", Surprise Cave

Entrance to "Chandelier Room", Surprise Cave.

Entrance to "Dragons Mouth", Surprise Cave.

A beautiful corner of "The Jaws Room", Surprise Cave.

Natalia at the entrance to "Chandelier Room", Surprise Cave

The magnificent Chandelier, discovered by Arlene Foss.

The "Pipe Organ" in Mossy cave

Delicate gypsum flowers from deep inside Surprise Cave. 

Segmented gypsum formation, Surprise Cave

Andrea Chow admiring the gypsum crystals in Surprise Cave

Arlene Foss betweem "the Jaws" of Surprise Cave

Trident Leaf Nosed bats in Bat Cave

Camel head in Camel Cave.

"Dragons Mouth", Surprise Cave.

"The Jaws", Surprise Cave.

"Stalactite Nursery", Surprise Cave.

One of our first pictures in Mossy cave. Here we were totally lost!

"Lars' Lair" in Surprise Cave.

Gypsum formatrions, Surprise Cave. 

Natalia Kozak in Mossy Cave.

Draperies in Mossy Cave.

Cork screw in Surprise Cave.

Gypsum crystals covering stalactites in Surprise Cave. 
When John Pint approached my brother Erik and me in 1998 and wanted help with photographing the caves for an article, I had no clue what I was getting into. It was just another exciting photo job. And sure enough, going with some friends to Mossy Cave, my first cave ever, we ended up getting lost in the tunnels! There was no way we could find our way out. In the end, our new caving friends found us and led us out. Luckily we got away with some good shots with Erik's time exposures and camping gas lanterns, shots that really gave us a taste of what could be accomplished. Erik later left the country and I, now completely hooked on caving, continued the work together with John and new friends, Lennart Richt, Arlene Foss and Andrea Chow. The next two years, almost all free time during the cool season went to caving, culminating with the find of Surprise Cave at the end of 1999. I think it is every caver's dream to find a virgin, untouched, beautiful cave and that is what we did. 

But it was hard work and not at all glamorous. Most of the time it was a dusty, dirty, sometimes painful, strenuous job and nine out of ten holes were uninteresting. We took a lot of photographs, ending up with an article in the March/April 2000 issue of Aramco World Magazine, written by John... and we met some wonderful people along the way. For example, there was the bedu that tried to stop us from going down another hole, or dahl, telling us we were crazy. When we came up, two hours later, he was still waiting for us, telling us that it was only God's will that we were still alive! We had wonderful nights at the campfire in Ad Dahna sand dunes where we compared impressions from the day's work. That, together with the caves, will be a lasting, cherished memory, when I return to Sweden. Unfortunately time has also seen continuous damage to the caves with a lot of stalactites destroyed in Surprise Cave by unknown culprits and the entrance to Dahl Sultan totally blocked by sheep carcasses (which might be blessings in disguise!) With the new road to Ma'aqala passing just beside the cave area, the future looks rather bleak. Here are some pictures, not yet published on this site.

Lars Bjurström