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Field Trips

Treasure Hunt

After nine and a half years the treasure remains unfound.



11 July 2018 – Wild Boars Coach

With monsoon rain from May to October it's a fair question to ask why the coach Ekapol Chantawong took the team into the cave at that time of year. We should consider several points to put this question in perspective.

Two signs outside the cave says it's closed July to November due to flooding (calling July to Nov the "flooding season"), which doesn't actually give any reason for the coach to think it wasn't safe on 23 June. There are guided tours through the first kilometre from November to June, which again gives no reason to think it is unsafe in June.

A local points out that the cave is "a magnet for teen adventurers". A trip to the cave was thus ideal for a team-building experience. It wasn't the team's first trip to the cave, so it clearly served the purpose the previous time, two years ago. (I don't know what time of year the previous visit was.)

Yes, it turned out to be the wrong decision, but that's really only clear in hindsight. Yes, he should have told the senior coach where they were going.

However, I think it's more important to look at what Ekapol Chantawong contributed to the survival of the team. Not only were the boys alive when found, they were alert and mobile, and calm.* From his own tragic history, and years of spiritual training, it seems that he was the perfect man for the job. He lived for the team is his life, and it could be argued they lived for him in the cave.

11 July 2018 – Wild Boars all safely out

In an incredible rescue effort involving thousands of people the whole 12 members of the Thai football team and their coach are safely out of the cave, along with all the rescuers. The selflessness shown by the more than 130 divers, the other rescuers, and the up to ten thousand volunteers working behind the scenes is truely inspiring. From an initial situation that seemed like a Schrödinger's cat situation, this is an extraordinarily good result.

The sad death of former Thai navy diver Saman Kunan was a sobering reminder how dangerous the work was, but the mission to evacuate the team was brilliantly planned and prepared for, and executed flawlessly over the three days it took to swim, walk, and carry the Wild Boars out.

Also sad is the death of the father of Richard Harris, the cave-diving Australian anaesthetist, on Tuesday a short time after the rescue was completed.

Those interested in learning more about caves might like to contact a local caving club, such as Auckland Speleo Group.

More News

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It is dangerous to pin your beliefs on any theory of physics because it may turn out to be wrong.
Professor Michaels Duff (Abdus Salam Chair of Theoretical Physics at the Imperial College in London)