Scootern at Lot (10/2022)
Participants: Mats, Marcel, Marc, Heinke, SteffenK + Zeljka (with Sascha), SteffenB.
After deciding on Seacraft scooters in early 2022 (we are now riding Future1000 + Ghost2000 in the team), we were eager to take them out in the cave on longer routes. And which area is best for that? "The Lot" with many beautiful, long caves with good visibility. So we went there to have fun together, check out photos and videos, just dive and take our new scooters out for a spin.
On the first day we planned a familiarization dive to the Hasenmeyer knife in the Source de Landenouse. A checkdive to get used to the dive. The first meters were unfortunately still a bit milky and scootering was out of the question. But after the obligatory first part of the Landenouse the cave fortunately opened up and we could start the scooters. After about 50 minutes on the trigger we reached our goal in 71m depth: The knife of Jochen Hasenmeyer. After a short coordination we started the way back. Due to the ups and downs SteffenB had problems with the pressure balance for a short time in between, but then he made it and so we surfaced in the pool again after 2 hours and 15 minutes. A great start to the week.
Heinke + Marc could arrive only Sunday night, but they came on time for breakfast on Monday morning and brought delicious croissants.
Afterwards we went to the Emergence du Ressel. There we met Frank Vasseur and had a short chat about the current plans for our Gourneyrou project. He was giving a CCR cave course that week.
For the Ressel we split into two groups:
- Heinke and Marc wanted to dive through the 45m shaft and start the way back with a maximum of 30min TTS, in order not to dive anything too strenuous after the night trip
- Mats, Marcel, Zeljka, SteffenB planned to dive to the 80m shaft, turn back there and complete the deep loop. Unfortunately Zeljka dropped out with a cuff tear. (Thanks to Olivier from "The cave to be", he changed the cuff overnight, so Zeljka was ready to dive again the next day).
The three gentlemen dived the dive as planned and had their fun with the scooters and the lighting in the deep area of the Ressel. The visibility was really very good this week. After about an hour of diving they reached their destination in 78m depth. Due to the leisurely approach, some deco had accumulated until the 3 were back from the deep area. So it was necessary to do some deco. They sent a greeting to those waiting outside via wetnotes by another diver from the deco stop. After a total dive time of almost 3.5 hours they resurfaced in the Cele and enjoyed the warming sun.
At the Ressel we met Freddy Xabien, a member of our Cavebase&Friends list. He presented his Sidewinder conversion to us and we talked shop a bit about CCR diving.
In the evening we had a barbecue and prepared the equipment for the next day's dive in St. George. There we wanted to check the visibility and take the first pictures.
SteffenB wanted to skip the dive to give his damaged cruciate ligament a day off. Therefore, he went with SteffenK and offspring Sascha to the show cave Padirac, after the team had dived in the St. George. For 19.50€ per person, we were allowed to climb the 100m down a stairwell and into the dry cave system. Impressive to stand down there and look up. The shaft - a typical sinkhole - has a diameter of ~50m and is ~100m deep. At this point, images from our 2020 - Kefalonia (Greece) project came to mind. At that time we had to abseil 70m down such a sinkhole. How pleased we were this time to be able to use an elevator for the way up - which was also quite right for the cruciate ligament.
After a 500m ride across an underground river, we reached the end of the show cave on foot. Here it is a little over 10 sumps to the exit "Exsurgence de Padirac" - also called St. George. So far only 2 divers have dived through all the sumps here. Maybe next time we can save the entrance fee ;)
Mats, Heinke, Marc, Zeljka, Marcel meanwhile dived to Sump 2 and shot the first pictures in the restriction there. The entrance area was a bit cloudy due to many divers. Fortunately the visibility improved more and more in the back area. Optimal for the arrangement for pictures proved to be the surfacing point between S1 and S2. After 90 minutes the photo session was finished.
Afterwards we went in the direction of "The cave to be" - filling bottles.
In the evening we had Franconian roast pork with Blaukraut and dumplings, roasted and cooked by SteffenB. For our vegetarian girls a vegetarian roast. Saturated, we examined the pictures of the day and made plans for the coming days.
Wednesday we went to the Cabouy. An optimal cave to drive out the scooters properly. With a good 2km to the end of Sump2, a few pictures in the dry area and video recordings along the way, we spent about 4h in the cave, about 3h under water. Had pulled the trigger sparingly on the way there, we really stepped on the gas in reverse. The Seacraft scooters are just insane fun thanks to No-Torque as well as the lights. No wrist pain when getting out of the water as we often knew it from the past.
The great enthusiasm about the new scooters led us to the Ressel again on Thursday. Heinke and Marc also wanted to enjoy the unique view in the Deep Loop. We also planned to pay a visit to the Galerie Nord. Many thanks at this point to Michael Kühn & Markus Schafheutle (HFGOK) for the excellent plan of the Ressel. An insane work! For the dive we were pretty much exactly 3 hours. In the deep part we were mostly at level 5-6 and had reached our first deco stop in the shaft after 1:15. In the deco, the scooters were then allowed to go full throttle. However, with the external output for the heating :-)
Our last dive we spent on Friday again about 3 h in the Ressel. But this time only until the end of the 30m passage at the beginning. There and on the way there we made more video + image material for the Cavebase repository. We tried to gain experience in lighting shafts and rooms by using the lamps of our Seacraft scooters. Fortunately they can be dimmed, because with full power they often bring only white spots on pictures. All in all we are satisfied with the pictures, even if we couldn't see everything yet. Be curious, some highlights will be published soon.
After the dive Heinke and Marc were already on their way home. The rest of the team drove back to the accommodation.
Had it still rained on the journey, so the weather had played along then but super. We had a super nice week and could enjoy the few days in the team in any case. Also nice to dive relaxed - as a change to our energy-sapping Gourneyrou Exploration to which it will pull us next year in the spring again. There, in autumn, the weather and thus the conditions for the cave are not as stable as in the Lot.
In this sense,