Vis & Estramar
Participants: Roland Kring, Andreas Arndt, Manu Schoch, Peter Gärtner, Marc Grosse, Tim Löffler, Fred Petzinger, Tobi Ziegler, Oli Kurtz, Tibor Czuppon
This time we went in the direction of Herault and the Mediterranean coast / French Catalonia. The goal was on the one hand the exploration of the Foux de Vis and some fun diving in the Font Estramar on the Mediterranean coast and exploring the shaft just there.
We used Tuesday as arrival day to the south of France, our Ostrogoths Marc and Arne were the first at the camp site near the Source de Vis and opened the wagon castle.
The first scouting at the Source de Vis in the Herault had already been done by Peter and Manu last year and they had taken a look at the access to the cave, as well as the entry point. Already then it became clear: A dive in the Vis is associated with sweaty preparation and considerable lugging.
After everyone had arrived and the tents were set up, we took a short walk to the Vis the same evening. The first bottles were already taken in backpacks and deposited in the dry area. So we got a first impression of the way to the mill through the forest, of the dry area of the cave and of the entry into the water.
In the evening we sat in front of the tent for a while and discussed the next day. Everyone should dive, back equipment should be shared, as well as the wings, backplates, fins and regulators, everyone had (s)own stage for diving, as well as his suit and underwear taken.
Wednesday was to be the diving day at Vis and we were to see if our plan to send everyone into the water would work.
In the morning, a hearty breakfast was ordered as we had a busy day ahead of us. We left the camp and were able to take all the diving equipment we needed on 1x. Arrived at the cave, the order of the diving teams was determined.
Team 1 formed Manu and Peter, because they wanted to take pictures and after the dive as a runner team already wanted to bring the first haul back to camp, everyone helped to bring the team quickly into the water.
Team 2 formed Tim and Marc, they also changed clothes and helped team 1 into the water. As soon as team 2 was in the water the runner team (team 1) brought the first things back to the camp.
Team 3 were Roland and Fred and team 4 consisted of Arne and Tobi Z. When team 4 came out of the water the dry area was already cleared and most of the stuff was stowed in backpacks and bags. With only 1x running we could take back closed everything at once again.
It was a very exhausting diving day, connected with a lot of sweat. But we managed to get every diver into the water. Everybody could venture within his limits and get an impression of the cave.
Arrived at the camp and after a short breather, the tents were taken down, the cars were packed and we continued towards Fitou on the Mediterranean coast.
There Tibor had organized us a nice cottage in the middle of the picturesque old town of Fitou. Oli could not arrive until Wednesday for work reasons and had already moved into the cottage. Tibor arrived very late in the evening, he had to go to the dentist in the morning.
Thursday was the first of three days of diving at Font Estramar, which had only been dived by Tibor so far. We were all already very excited.
In the morning at breakfast Tibor was shocked to discover that he had forgotten all the O-rings of his gyro plus loop with mouthpiece at home. For 9 out of 10 divers with a gyro, there should be enough spare parts to collect the missing O-rings from all the spare parts boxes. For simplicity, the gyro loop was dived alternately. We reached the Font Estramar after only a 10 min drive. The picturesque pool filled with blue water is quite unromantically located right next to the highway and enjoys occasional bathers.
This cave system, with its many loops and connecting passages, is much more complex than most caves in southern France. The passages are narrow and winding, there is a larger main passage from which our light kept falling into smaller side passages to the right and left. The rock is dark and absorbs a lot of light. Most of the cave moves at an average depth of 30 - 35m, the main passage into a deeper area over with about 60m which opens into a shaft that drops to > 160m in depth.
We brought the pensioner tables to the water, put scooters and stages into the pool and were glad to get into the water in the beginning midday heat. A pleasant 17°C water temperature awaited us. We spent a colorful diving day. Roland and Arne dived to the shaft and marked their way there with 11 (!) cookies. Manu and Peter planned a photo dive, drove with Scooter a piece in the main corridor and then parked them. Mark and Oli, as well as Tim and Tobi Z. were all jetting around a bit with their scooters. Armed with photo camera, Fred and Tibor went on foot hunting for nice motives. After the dive most of them left their stages in the pool, rain and increasing flow or unsubmersibility of the cave were not to be expected. One team decided to do another dive, the rest packed up slowly and drove to the accommodation. A shopping team got barbecue stuff and drinks for a decent barbecue evening.
On Friday Roland and Arne planned a long or deep dive. The goal was to scooter to the shaft and then descend further down the shaft to a maximum of 140m. Since the line ended in the middle of the shaft at 130m, they let it go for this time and returned with many impressions.
We left the other team constellations as on the first day. Fred and Tibor this time without photo camera. Manu and Peter wanted to look in the deeper part up to the 2nd shaft around there times on 60m. Oli and Mark also planned a dive in the deeper part. Tobi Z. and Tim dived a part of the big loop. In the evening the grill was glowing again.
On Saturday, our last day of diving, the teams were mixed, most of them wanted to see some unknown corners in the front area to finish the day. Manu and Peter decided to do a photo dive, this time in the front area of the big loop. Fred and Tibor were also armed with photo cameras. Arne and Tobi Z. drove the big loop by scooter, Roland and Tim looked at a few small loops in the front area. Oli and Mark also ran their scooters. All in all, every single corridor was dived by us.
Some of us really wanted to put our feet into the Mediterranean Sea. So three of us (Manu, Peter and Tibor) went to the sea. The water was still quite cold, although we enjoyed 30°C air temperature all the time. With half an hour at the beach, the need for beach vacation was satisfied.
Back at the accommodation we eagerly prepared the departure for the next day, for dinner we had 2kg of noodles. The last evening was rather short. Arne and Mark had the longest journey home and wanted to leave together with Roland and Fred already at 3:00 o'clock in the night so that they are at home earlier. So this time we all started with a time delay. There were then traffic jam messages from the route.
Sweetheart at the wayside.
An eventful week came to an end. The Font Estramar is a very interesting quite different look with narrow winding passages, dark rock, really complex navigation and a fascinating shaft. Estramar, we will be back!
In this sense,