PLANETCAVER

Welcome to the Planetcaver blog, featuring stories from caves and underground explorations around the world, from the point of view of a beginner caver. The Planetcaver has explored underground places in 34 countries and 500 locations (361 natural in 28 countries and 140 man-made in 21 countries) and has written about 27 other places. You can also click on the map on the left to see where in the world they took place.

There's also a "map of maps" -- a map of caves that I have drawn a cave map on on the right (149 maps). There's also a long list of those maps as well as a list of 3D models that I have created. The Planetcaver articles appeared originally in the Blogspot Planetskier series, at TGR posts, or at the Relaa website. See also the articles about skiing, urban exploration, climbing, cycling, flying, swimming, and saunas.

All caving-related articles:

The Usmi shelter cave in Hyvinkää
I was inspired to go here by Antti Huttunen's article in Retkipaikka. There's a forgotten, hard-to-access rocky hill and cliff area in Hyvinkää: Usminkalliot. With a cave!
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May 2024, Usminkallion lippaluola, Hyvinkää, Finland; Usminkallion lippakolo, Hyvinkää, Finland; Usminkallion lipparako, Hyvinkää, Finland
Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Gneiss, Morphology-Crack, Surveying); Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Gneiss, Morphology-Crack)

Rafter's cave in Perućac
Rafter's cave was a surprise find, a sudden realization of a sign on a parking spot in Perućac we pulled onto. A cave! By this incredibly beautiful river, Trina, marking the border between Serbia and Bosnia.
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April 2024, Rafter's Cave, Perućac, Serbia; Rafter's Cave Side Cave, Perućac, Serbia
Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Limestone, Surveying, Morphology-Erosion, Morphology-Karst, )

Brisbane area caves
I'm visiting Brisbane this week for work. Before returning, I have a weekend to look around. Surely there are caves? I have been to Australia before, for skiing and climbing... but not visited any caves. And I'm desperate for "collecting" another country that I've caved in :-)
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March 2024, Capricorn Caves, The Caves, Queensland, Australia; Undara Lava Tubes, Queensland, Australia; Jenolan Caves, New South Wales, Australia
Caving (None)

Mount Beerburrum Bat Caves
Mount Beerburrum is part of the Glass House Mountains National Park, on the east coast of Queensland, Australia, an hour north of Brisbane. These striking formations are old volcanic plugs that are left standing higher when other rock material around them has eroded over millions of years. But I'm here because Google Maps tells me that there's a "Bat Cave" on the side of the mountain.
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March 2024, Mount Beerburrum, Beerburrum, Queensland, Australia; Mount Beerburrum Bat Caves, Beerburrum, Queensland, Australia
Hiking; Caving (Rock, Rock-Limestone, Morphology-Karst, None)

Springbrook's Natural Bridge
Can you see them? Glow worms, in their natural habitat! We had just been in the artificial glow worm cave, and wanted to check out a natural bridge in the Springbrook National Park. But it turned out that the natural bridge was also a waterfall, a cave with a waterfall, and home to plenty of nature's own glow worms. Very nice!
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March 2024, Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, Springbrook, Queensland, Australia
Caving (Basic, Rock-Unknown, Morphology-Erosion); Hiking

Capricorn Caves

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March 2024, Capricorn Caves, The Caves, Queensland, Australia
Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Limestone)

Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves
The world's only man-made cave with glow worms. Nice. Wish we had this in somewhere in Vantaa, maybe in one of the big garden complexes. Anyway, it really is nice that they try to maintain a population and show it to tourists. The glow worms are real, of course, though they live in an artificial cave where the caretakers release some insects every day.
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March 2024, Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves, Tamborine Mountain, Queensland, Australia
Caving (Man-Made, Basic)

Meeting the locals Australian cave fauna
It has always been a dream for me to meet the locals when I get a change to visit some caves during travel. The humans, of course, but also the ones that have been there even longer than we have, from the little critters to some bigger ones, and maybe even some plants. It turns out that dreams can come true, as I got to see some amazing things on my recent trip to Australia. But also, nightmares can come true, too...
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March 2024, Capricorn Caves, The Caves, Queensland, Australia; Cave, Mt. Etna Caves National Park, The Caves, Queensland, Australia; Mount Beerburrum Bat Caves, Beerburrum, Queensland, Australia; Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, Springbrook, Queensland, Australia; Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves, Tamborine Mountain, Queensland, Australia
Caving (Basic, Rock); Caving (Basic, Man-Made); Caving (None)

Paradise Caves at the Sunshine Beach
Paradise Caves. So near (maybe just 1m from the drip line) but so far. There was only three ways in, one covered by tide, and the other two were rock ledges sloping towards a cliff. And the rain and the sea swell had made everything more slipper than I liked. Turned around.
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March 2024, Paradise Caves, Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia; Sunshine Beach, Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia
Caving (Basic, Morphology-Erosion, Rock-Unknown); Swimming (Waterbody-Sea, Beach)

Grotta San Giovanni Mystery
Grotta San Giovanni is near Lecco and Lago di Como, in northern Italy. As you can see from above, the views are wonderful! But there's a mystery: did this cave inspire Leonardo da Vinci's painting Madonna (or Virgin) on the Rocks?
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January 2024, Grotta San Giovanni, Lecco, Italy; Grotta San Giovanni side cave 1, Lecco, Italy; Grotta San Giovanni side cave 2, Lecco, Italy; Grotta San Giovanni cemetery side cave, Lecco, Italy
Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Limestone, Morphology-Karst); Urban-Exploration (Other)

Popova Shapka
Popova Shapka is one of the major ski resorts in North Macedonia. Perhaps THE major resort even. At the time I was there, however, in early season it had not yet opened. Wanted to see it though.
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December 2023, Popova Shapka, Tetovo, North Macedonia
Skiing (None); Caving (None)

Popova Shapka mini-cave
On my trip to North-Macedonia, I drove by an interesting rock formation on the way to the Popova Shapka ski area above the town of Tetovo. I did not have time to explore other caves, and this one wasn't much of a cave either. But in Finland it would qualify as a cave. A small crack in an eroded rock feature sticking out.
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December 2023, Guri i Sidollit mini-cave, Popova Shapka, Tetovo, North Macedonia
Caving (Rock, Rock-Unknown, Morphology-Crack, Basic)

Caves of Castel Gandolfo
I had an opportunity visit Castel Gandolfo recently. While I had been there briefly before, it was clear that there'd be more to explore. Castel Gandolfo sits on the rim of the lake Lago Albano, and also near Lago di Nemi. These lakes are beautiful places but also with interesting geology, both being volcanic craters.
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November 2023, Arte e Vino, Castel Gandolfo, Italy; Grotta Neolitica, Castel Gandolfo, Italy; Piccola Grotta Neolitica al Lago, Castel Gandolfo, Italy; Minuscola Grotta al Lago, Castel Gandolfo, Italy
Caving (Man-Made, Rock, Basic); Caving (Rock, Rock-Volcanic, None, Morphology-Erosion); Caving (Rock, Basic, Surveying, Rock-Volcanic, Morphology-Erosion); Caving (Rock, Basic, Rock-Volcanic, Morphology-Erosion)

Night at the batcave headquarters
What a wonderful experience, pre-Xmas party with my caver friends, in a Lava (angled shelter by the fire) and Palju (a barrel of hot water). What could be better? Oh yeah, we had also interesting talks about explorations in Norway, Turku, and ... also our own Käsivarsi exploration in the summer.
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November 2023, Ilvesjoki Caving Association Headquarters, Ilvesjoki, Finland
Caving (None, Social)

Day of caving but no luck
I had great plans, but they all failed. Either the caves I visited turned out to be man-made, they were too small and I had to let them go, I didn't find them, or I arrived to late and they were already closed. So much for my effort to visit five new caves on my way from the conference to the airport.
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November 2023, Jeskyné Klemperka, Kokořín, Czech Republic; Jeskyné Klemperka underground hole, Kokořín, Czech Republic; Jeskyné Klemperka side apartment, Kokořín, Czech Republic; Kokořín shelter cave 1, Kokořín, Czech Republic; Kokořín shelter cave 2, Kokořín, Czech Republic; Jeskyné Rozbořenka, Kokořín, Czech Republic; Jeskyné Wernerovka, Medonosy-Libéchov, Czech Republic; Wernerovka firepit shelter cave, Medonosy-Libéchov, Czech Republic; Wernerovka mini cavelet, Medonosy-Libéchov, Czech Republic; Konépruské Jeskyné, Konéprusy, Czech Republic; Kodska Jeskyné, Srbska, Czech Republic
Caving (Rock-Sandstone, Basic, Rock, Morphology-Erosion); Caving (Rock-Sandstone, Basic, Rock, Man-Made); Caving (Rock, None)

Another CREG Journal Article
This summer I managed to write another article to the cave radio expert group's journal, the CREG journal. This time the article was about cave-outliner, and turning 3D models into maps, slices, and plan views.
Full story

October 2023, House Arkko, Kauniainen, Finland
Caving (None, Media, Researching, Equipment)

This is the 1th set of articles. The next sets are set 2, set 3, set 4, set 5, set 6, set 7, set 8, set 9, set 10, set 11, set 12, set 13, set 14, set 15, set 16, set 17, set 18, set 19, set 20, and set 21.

The Planetcaver articles appeared originally in the Blogspot Planetskier series, at TGR posts, or at the Relaa website. See also the articles about skiing, urban exploration, climbing, cycling, flying, swimming, and saunas.