It was a great pleasure to spend a nice day with you for diving as well as for exchanging opinions and experiences. Unfortunately the day went much too fast. Besides nice dives in the Felicitas we had delicious food from the grill. The memories of the entertaining lectures of Peter Gärtner and Werner Gieswein are left behind. Both of them provided a lot of valuable information.
Our big thanks go to Wolfgang and Ralf from the Bergwerk Felicitas for their support. We are already looking forward to the next time with you.
Bei unserem diesjährigen CAVEBASE & Friends Treffen wird es wieder spannenden Vorträge geben.
Werner Gieswein von der Höhlenforschungsgruppe Ostalb-Kirchheim wird uns über das Höhlenforschen in Deutschland und den unvorhersehbaren Dingen erzählen. Seine Vorträge sind nicht nur interessant, sondern auch unglaublich unterhaltsam.
Als weiteres Highlight besucht uns Peter Gaertner und hält einen Vortrag über GUE-Cave-Projekte in Mexiko sowie Sardinien, mit dem Fokus auf das Tauchen im Team.
Das Networking und der Grill sollen auch nicht zu kurz kommen.
Jeder der sich anmeldet kann an diesem Tag im Rahmen seiner Brevetierung auch tauchen. Ein Checkdive ist nicht erforderlich. Erforderlich sind Brevet, TTU und Versicherungsnachweis. Anmeldung zum Tauchen direkt über Wolfgang Röhr / Felicitas (https://www.bergwerktauchen-felicitas.de)
In July Irene spoke to us about a possible mixed cave tour in the Gouron. She had dived there a few years ago, got out at siphon 1 and then continued dryly through the cave. Since she had no SRT harness with her, she had to stop at the 1st roping point. Now she wanted to continue exploring the cave properly equipped with team and SRT ability. Max and Olli still had a little unfinished business with the Gouron, because on our last Jura trip on the 1st long weekend in October 2018, we were unable to enter the cave, which drains in the river LOUE, due to an injury of Olli. At that time we both swore to ourselves, WE will come back!
So on the first weekend of August the time had finally come. Olli packed his things and loaded Max with small equipment. Then we drove via Zurich and Irene joined us. At about 01:00 am we arrived Friday night in Mouthier-Haute-Pierre at the Hotel La Cascade. The hotel is only a stone's throw away from the Gouron in the beautiful LOUE valley. They were already waiting for us. To start our trip in a relaxed way, we drove to the parking lot directly at the source pot in the river at 9:30 am on Saturday.
We prepared our diving equipment and discussed our equipment to be carried along. At the end we each carried a grinding bag. In it everybody had a rope, SRT harness, something to nibble and drink. In addition we distributed cordless screwdrivers with spare battery, a bunch of hooks, hammer and suitable spanners. The day was marked by getting to know the cave, getting as far as possible and on Sunday, with adapted material, extending the first advance. The suit was decisive for this. We decided to put on long underwear and slacks under the dryer. So it was warm enough in the water and afterwards to continue in the dry part of the cave. As dive gear Irene used a D12 18/45 and a Stage 80cuft TMX 50/25 and Max and Olli dived their JJ-CCR's with a Diluent 18/45 and a Stage 80cuft TMX 18/45 as bailout. On 24m we dropped a 80cuft TMX 50/25. To get over the 495m long diving distance with a maximum depth of 55m quickly, everyone used a scooter.
When we were finally in the water, we dived at 10:33. After 22min we had already reached the end of siphon 1. Only the fully packed sandbags acted like anchors, which we had to pull behind us. We deposited the stages and scooters at the end of the line and parked the diving equipment on the surrounding rocks. Right at the beginning of the dry area there was a huge flat rock which offered the possibility to move. The hall at the end of siphon 1 was about 15m wide and 20m high.
And now it started! Since Irene did not have the exact course of the gait in her head after the years, we first looked for the continuing gait. After 3 attempts, in narrow crevices running out courses, we found the very varied continuing course and the driving of the Gouron could start. Huge cuboid-shaped rocks left enough space to shuffle through. At a narrow crevice, we had to climb up 10 m with spread legs until we got to the 1st rope. Meanwhile this had a very pitiful condition. We repaired it and afterwards we could climb down about 5m. Like most of the corridors, this one was at right angles to the corridor to the north. By means of the clay border one could guess the water levels at high water times within the Gouron. 5-7m difference to the current water level are certainly possible. The karst of the cave changed from light brown to ochre, karst white to deep black, smoothly washed out to very sharp-edged. We followed the passage until we came to the 1st real roping point. After a short inspection of the existing rope and improvement of the rope protection, we put on our SRT harness and Olli was the first to rope down about 15m.
Here was a small basin, which we could crawl around dry at the side. On the way to our today's final stop we passed a sintered washbasin. A really great sight.
At today's final station there was a prepared approx. 25m roping point, which ended in a deep water-filled pool. Unfortunately we were not prepared for this today. But we used the time to set 2 more bolts. The existing ones did not look trustworthy anymore. Olli put the hooks in, tied a new rope and Irene and Max made a little peephole at the bottom of the pool. Conclusion: we need wet neoprene for the further driving! Back at the end of siphon 1 we put on our dry suits again. Only an empty grinding bag went back with us. The rest of the slacks, ropes and SRT harness remained in the Gouron. We put on the diving equipment and 16min later we were already out of the cave again.
As the day was not over yet, we made a short side trip to the nearby Source de Loue. The sight of the huge source gate reminded us of a fantasy movie. Incredibly impressive what nature can create. Definitely worth a side trip!
With the experience of the temperature while diving and because of the deep pool we decided to take the wetsuit for the Sunday trip under the dry suits. On the way there it was dry and the way back was short enough not to freeze. At the end of siphon 1 we briefly got rid of our dry suits and then we were on our way to the last station of the last day. We rappelled down and swam through the deep, water-filled passage further into the mountain.
We came to a 2nd siphon, but this could be bypassed by a clay dump. Here the next real siphon was waiting for us. It was a pool with the dimensions of about 20 x 15m. Like in the rest of the cave everything was prepared. A mountain rope led through the 3rd siphon. Max put on his mask and hood and made a short peek along the laid mountain rope. The crystal clear pool was clay-covered at the bottom and he felt his way slowly. So he could see the surface at 4-5m from syphon 3 before he started the dive.
He pulled himself forward on the mountain rope after a strong breath. After 3 minutes he came back and reported the continuation. Olli followed his example. So Irene could get an objective picture of whether she could do it. As we only took a hood and mask with us, we used one of our ropes to make the dive as comfortable as possible. One after the other we dived freely through siphon 3, leaving the grinding bags at the edge of the pool. At the exit of siphon 3, siphon 4 was already waiting for us, but luckily there was a clay covered dry bypass here as well. For this we pulled up the 5m high slope and slid secured with our last rope to the exit of siphon 4. We continued along a long, water-filled corridor. After about 15min swimming it got dry again. So the ride changed the next 1000m. Swimming, dry further caving and some prepared climbing passages made the cave very varied.
Until we floated to siphon 5. Here were still remains of caveline. Unfortunately our tour ended here. Max and Olli had another look at the deep going siphon 5 and exchanged possibilities for a possible return to siphon 5. Afterwards the great team made their way home. Here really everyone pitched in and helped. 2000m way back were ahead of us, which were done in no time, because of our enthusiasm for the Gouron. On our changing platform we slipped with our wetsuits into the dry and packed the grinding bags. These were much fuller than the day before and lay like 5 anchors in the water while scootering. Nevertheless we needed only 20min back.
With a river-cooled beer we reviewed the two days and made plans how we could go on with Siphon 5. A little bit done because of the last 2 days we drove back towards the Swiss border.
Actually, the project in Greece was supposed to start in mid-June. Unfortunately, Covid-19 thwarted our plans here and the airlines cancelled our flight. Therefore the team was looking for alternatives. Soon we decided to visit some caves in Slovenia. After consulting our contact on site and observing the weather forecast we had to discard this idea as the caves were not diveable. So a part of the team decided to go only the weekend for a trip to the mine Felicitas and Nuttlar.
The photo team around Mats, Schüssi and Heinke, as well as Aline as surface support, was however further on the search to let the planned vacation take place.
So we watched the weather and the border openings of the surrounding countries closely. For France it was clear that the borders should open again on 15.06. and the weather looked ok so far. After consultation with the filling stations in Lot we decided to risk the trip.
So on Monday we met four of us at Schüssi, loaded the cars and made our way to the beautiful Lot.
On our arrival at 23:30 in Cajarc we had to realize that our short-term booking via Booking.com didn't really work out and so we were standing in Cajarc without a place to stay. Luckily we reached Lilo from the Domain de Gayfie after all and could get a little house with her.
After a restful night, we unloaded the cars in the first morning and aligned our rebreathers. For the day a photo dive in the Ressel was on the plan. So we started around 12 o'clock at our house. When we arrived at the Ressel we could hardly believe our eyes. The whole parking lot was empty, the Célé without current. We straightened our material and jumped into the river. At the cave pool crystal clear water was waiting for us. In the cave itself we had about 8-10m visibility and it was only slightly milky. We drove with the scooters to the agreed places and tried to realize the discussed photo shoots. Again and again one of us found a place and an idea for some pictures and so we took pictures in the cave for almost 2 hours. We also tested different light possibilities. We finished the evening with delicious wine and cheese.
The next day the St. George was on the schedule. We also wanted to visit the St. Saveur and see how the conditions are. Also at the St. George we were the only divers. Our plan was to scooter with the scooters until about 1km into the cave at 75m. Of course we also took the camera with us and put an action camera on a scooter. The St. George showed itself from its "usual" side, always a bit milky, and so taking pictures was not really something to think about. Only at the cave pool a few snapshots of the pike could be taken. Now we went on to the St. Saveur. Arrived at the pool we quickly prepared the small cutlery for a check dive. From the outside the cave still looked promising, but unfortunately we were caught up by reality from 5m depth and there was only 2-3m visibility. We dived into the cave until about 35m depth, hoping that it would get better after all. But unfortunately this did not work out. On the way back we stopped briefly at Olivier (The Cave To Be) and filled up a few bottles. In the evening we enjoyed delicious wine and homemade tarte flambée.
For day 3 we planned the deep loop at the Ressel. Arrived at the cave there was another team. We transported the needed bottles to the entrance. Unfortunately Mats back made us a little bit uncomfortable and so we decided to do another photo dive with small cutlery. Again we test different exposure possibilities and fixations of the video lights on the JJ-CCR. Afterwards we drove to the Trou Madame. On our last dive she had too little water but today the water was still standing until we entered the dive. So again we transported our bailout stages to the entrance and then walked through the river to the entrance. Again we tried to put ourselves in the limelight.
The Landenouse was on the schedule for the last day. The goal was to scooter to the former End-Of-Line at 1300m and -70m depth. We wanted to use this dive for filming and fixed video lights on 2 scooters and a camera on the third scooter. Unfortunately the camera was on strike while we were diving and so we enjoyed the brightly lit cave for ourselves. After the dive we relaxed a little bit at the pool before we thought about climbing in a cave. Quickly Marcel remembered the Emergence de Bons, in which he had already climbed 2 years ago. Of course our cave guide was lying in the apartment and so we had to search the internet for the coordinates. Finally we found them in a Wikipedia entry. In the cave itself we climbed up to the dive site, took some more pictures and philosophized how to dive here.
In the evening we prepared some of the equipment for the return trip before we finished the evening with delicious homemade burgers.
For us it was a great week to try out some things with the camera, take some nice pictures and make great dives.
In February, after 2 years, the time had finally come. At the beginning of February we were able to drive to Valstagna with the best visibility and to carry out a long planned film project together with Oliver Schöll. During this short trip we used the time effectively and tried to approach the topic diving film in a new way.
Olli really put his shoulder to the wheel while editing the sequences and so we think we made a very cool video.
Many thanks again to Olli for this great work!
Of course we do not want to withhold the result from you: