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Exploring the bat cave in Birżebbuġa
Have you ever heard of Għar il-Friefet? Well, in case you have not, we have a little treat for you! Located in Birżebbuġa, a stone’s throw away from the well-known Għar Dalam, you will come across the unique bat cave, also known as Għar il-Friefet. With the help of the Birżebbuġa local council and mayor, YouTubers and explorers Pierre Farrugia, Angelo Caruana and Vince Bonello Pukka, took the opportunity to explore the cave and film the entire exciting process.
They posted their adventure on YouTube, which they start by explaining that they were inspired to explore the cave due to the fact that there was little to no information or footage regarding the cave. Pierre added that the last surveys done in the area were in 2003 and 2007.
In the latter survey, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority commissioned an ecological and geological survey of the area, in response to an application for a new residential development in the near vicinity. The main objective was to assess the structural integrity of the cave.
Għar il-Friefet is a geomorphological phenomenon, which evolved through what is known as karstification; the dissolution of carbonate rock. This process resulted in the formation of a cavity, with a volume of around 2,200 metres cubed, within the limestones of the Lower Coralline formation. The cave is made up of two levels, which you can see Pierre and his team explore. Both levels are found within the Lower Coralline Limestone, which outcrops along the bottom of the valley called Wied Dalam.
The first level, the upper level, has one long chamber, which is categorised by several elliptical voids and pockets, and ends in an intricate area, made up of several shafts, of diameters ranging from 35-50cm.
The second level, the lower level, has a distinct linear shape. It is divided into different chambers, starting with the first and followed by a collapsed chamber, which is obvious from the high number of large boulders. There is also a multi level water chamber. Finally, you will come across the final chamber, which is also the most difficult part of the cave to access, as it is necessary to squeeze and crawl for almost five metres, in wet soil and mud.
The three men successfully explored the cave from start to finish, all the while not coming across even a single bat!