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 Cavetrip Spain - 5000km On-Tour

The fighters, drivers and divers: Flo, Tobi, Steffen and Heinke


For several years it haunted around in our heads; and it always appeared in lectures and articles - the Pozo Azul. So we also wanted to go there. After a very nice chat with an spanish Cavediver at the fair “Die Boot” in Düsseldorf we found out about other caves in Spain, so we decided to go there in June this year. We knew it is going to be an awfully long trip; but the caves and the experience were worth it. It also was the first trip using CCRs (Florian and Tobi). So we did not plan for deeper penetrations as well as any records.


Heinke started on the day before from Hamburg to Munich in order to form carpool with Steffen. The trip there was unspectacular - Heinke has taken a hitchhiker, a Pole who wanted to EM to Nice. At Steffen apartment she received the chaos; Steffen has not yet packed at all and had do some work for his job. The next morning the whole car was then packed up into the smallest crevices (He was up the whole night). Best conditions for 1500km journey this day.Pozo Azul


1st  Day

Short meeting at the gas station with Florian and Tobi; Breakfast and then we were off; across France towards Burgos. Steffen then once rescheduled his lack of sleep. As it was generally predict how much longer we were able to go, we booked via Internet a hotel (if you could call it that) in Péringeaux (near Bordeaux).


2nd  Day

6:30 a.m. Breakfast, 7:00 a.m. Departure. Approximately 1:30 p.m. we arrived thanks to our navigation data to the Pozo Azul. Parking places, there were few; then you had to follow a small path 300m. We were pretty exhausted and could not imagine to go diving, but the cave pool was so nice and lured with crystal clear water. Over coffee in a small restaurant, we learned 50 meters from here was a guest house. When we knocked, an old very fast Spanish speaking and always smiling lady came out. We asked (in Spanish) for rooms and were conducted in the lovingly decorated house. With hands and feet we found out the WiFi password and a room where we could drop off our luggage. Meanwhile the lady told us many many stories we did not understand.Pozo Azul

Pozo Azul. After we dragged our stuff to the front, we finally went to the legendary cave. Pozo Azul is one of the longest linear caves in the world. Discovered in the 60s by Spanish cave divers and destination of many exploration dives. Including the dry passages there has been explored more than 12 km up to the 6th Sump, and it goes further.
The entrance consists of two narrow holes with little flow, then it opens to a huge cave. Several divers could juxtaposed and superimposed dive. OC with a Stage Steffen Heinke were not able to go very far but Tobi and Florian already explored by RB and Scooter the first dry part. With just a few turns the first 800m are easy to dive with a maximum depth of 21m. Clear water - therefore a super-sight. After the dive, we deposited our gear at the cave exit, enjoying the evening in a small restaurant with good wine and Spanish food.


3rd  Day


After a restful sleep we had Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. ( we traded, The Spanish get up later ...) After dragging the Scooter to the pool we were off again. This time, we wanted to explore a short piece in the 2nd Sump. At the beginning of the dry part we had to fight a little against the flow; we had to crawl up a small waterfall (sometimes twice), then through knee-deep water about 60m up to a sandbank. There you can dive again past many habitats of different ages and different stages of decay down to 24m. This part is more interesting, the diameter slightly smaller. After a few hundred meters it goes deeper; there Tobi and Florian turned around.
After we had all brought back to our parking lot, picked up the rest of the luggage in the hotel, we went across Spain towards the coast.

But first we wanted to go looking for "Roland's Cave". About 2 years ago Roland (founder of  `Cavebase´) told us that he had seen a cave pool during one of his motorcycle tours. We wanted to inspect it for a possibility to explore it. Along the way, we had to stay overnight again. The pizza in the small town of our choice was not tasty, but the nightcap in the bar.Roland Höhle

4th Day

In the mountains we found "Roland Cave"; in a day trip area with a playground, plenty of seating and a kiosk. There we learned that you need a permit to dive there, but you cannot  penetrate it deeper than 2m, since the water only makes its way though many small holes. The ride through the beautiful scenery was worth it, we let the Quadrokopter fly and we knew there are no exploration opportunities here.
We went to Puerto de Marrazzon, directly at sea. Florian had to do some home office, so Tobi, Steffen and Heinke went to the beach. The town and the beach were not our likening, the hotel, the food in a beach restaurant and the mixed cocktails in the evening were.Cueva del Aqua

5th Day

Breakfast in Spain is quite later (finally they had Tostados con tomate - Tobi called it Tomato Baarz); but the cave "Cueva del Aqua" was just 7 minutes away. It is well signposted, right at the entrance. There you have a very good drawing and facts about the exploration. You have to climb a bit over rocks to a crescent-shaped pool down. It is quite like a doline in Mexico. Same are the water temperatures. The pool is relatively cool (18° C) below it the water is 10° C warmer. We met 4 Spaniards who just made their cave course, the instructor is one who did the exploration there and showed us the direction in which the beginning of the Mainline lay. It is hard to find. Well, the students just practiced to tie of the Primary so we just followed them ;-)
The cave is very winding with many aisles, the view was very clear, but it can go for zero visibility very quickly, because everywhere there is deposited sediment. We have to get used to the 28 °C warm water
Steffen and Heinke have made a second dive; Florian and Tobi went away just right after the first dive to look for the next hotel. Heinke and Steffen had to fill bottles; at the dive shop of the cave diving instructor (Rivemar) and had a nice dinner in the sunset at the beach. They arrived at night in the property. The whole night the scooter chargers were running, but we slept soundly.Moraig


6th Day

The Cave "Moraig" was 35min away; through many summer cottages. Breakfast at a German "bakery". The coffee was very good, the baked-pastry not, but Tobi did not tell a word. The coordinates brought us to a high vantage point above the cave, but from there we had a great view of the beach and the cavern. The parking lots were almost all occupied, so we parked to unload directly at the Cova del Arcs. The police gave us 10 minutes, then we had to go away again. Cova del Arcs is a popular photo destination for tourists, posing on the rocks. We found a small pool with a rope for stages already installed. From there you can dive through a small cavern to come outside then dive to the right along the shore into a huge cavern opening up above the water. There you have to follow the "sweet" water to find the entrance. After 100m Primary the Mainline begins. It goes first about 350m through a large tube, after that the interesting part starts.
The search for the fresh water river Moraig is not yet complete. Once, from a source that springs from an underground cave lake the river served the Phoenicians, who needed the drinking water on way of their journeys. Now the water is needed for the people living here and the dry land. In the 50s began the searching for the source; and it cost lives.
Bernhard Pack, a German cavers explored in the years 1988 to 1992, over a hundred dives systematically the system, without success. On September 21, 1992, he died not far from the entrance having brought a new species of crustaceans.Font Estramar


7th Day

It started early, with unloading, getting ready, some conversation with two British Sidemount divers and already Flo and Tobi were submerged. After 550m Steffen and Heinke dropped the scooters and went the narrow passages further down “by foot” up to tube going down 41m (beginning of Redline). Tobi and Flo were somewhat further to the end of the first sump with their RBs. When Steffen and Heinke reappeared, the two were sitting at the beach-bar.
After packing up our stuff we were on our way towards France. The weather was getting worse and the air cooler. Via Internet Flo had again booked into a small hotel and we fell into bed tired.Font Estramar


8th Day

Font Estramar was our goal. When searching for the access road we drove over a solid line - right in front of a police check. Took us 90 euros (they graciously charged only one car ...). The sight of the cave pool was fantastic, but unfortunately above the entrance hung up a large sign "Bagnée et Plongée interdit (swimming and diving is prohibited). In front of the eyes of the police, we did not want to jump in there; Internet research brought nothing. We hastily undertook attempts to contact possible knowing people what to do here. Meanwhile, we went drinking coffee. Then there came the "saving response" - Cave diving is permitted. In much better mood we headed back towards the cave, got ready and jumped in.
There is probably no cave that is better tracked. Each loop has its name. There are everywhere small labels readable hanging on the leash. The average depth is significantly greater than in the Spanish caves; the view amazing. You can take several loops, at every corner you can see a new lineup of black-brown stone.


9th Day

Bottles were filled in the morning by a Diving shop in the backyard; but with an impressive facility. An another dive in Font Estramar concluded this journey. Happy and satisfied we headed towards Germany. The sky grew darker and raining got stronger. After the last lunch together we parted our ways. Heinke drove north on the same day.

5000km (6500km respectively) we have traveled. It was a long long tour, but the caves were worth it.Route

 

 

 

 

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