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The journey with the unknown destination

Team: Mats, Max, Oliver O. Steffen K., Steffen B. Aline, Dierk, David, Marc Christopher

Our project #2-2021 should lead us again to the Gourneyrou. We had prepared ourselves well, equipped ourselves with new equipment and wanted to continue surveying there. From the team we were joined by Mats Pape, Max Fahr, Oliver Ober, Steffen Kiesecker, Steffen Burger and two guests David Runde (OC) and Marc Christopher Menzel (RB80) as well as our supporters Aline Schiersmann and Dierk Schwick.


This time it was not Covid-19 but the weather that threw a wrench in our plans. The week before our project week it rained all over Europe. Rain clouds stretched from the Atlantic to the Adriatic. We contacted our contacts in France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia. No one could give us the courage to get into any cave. A rescheduling to Greece, to visit the island of Kefalonia and to search for further entrances into the 30km long cave system was unfortunately not possible at such short notice due to the enormous effort involved.

We postponed our planned departure from Friday to Saturday. From Saturday to Sunday. Daily we contacted our informers in the cave regions, always with the hope that something would improve.

Finally we agreed to send a team to Valstagna on Sunday afternoon. The guys reached the valley after midnight and went to sleep to check the conditions on Monday. The rest left early Monday morning. The plan was that we spontaneously on the way to Valstagna at the latest shortly before Trieste decide whether we go to Lake Garda or to Valstagna.

Since the conditions were not optimal, Fontanazzi feasible, Oliero bad visibility, but feasible, we decided for Lake Garda with a trip home and a stopover via Valstagna.


In the luggage were survey tools, habitat, lines, manuals and a lot of trimix. If we can't move forward with our project, we wanted to spend the time expanding and strengthening our skills.

We nestled ourselves in a nice aart hotel in Riva. The hotel has a nice garden with a playground as well as a pool. The pool for skill training, the playground for surveying, and a grill for daily dinner ;)


Arrived in Riva we unloaded the cars for hours and shipped the equipment in the rooms. In the evening the grill was stoked. Grilled was day after day, but without charcoal, but with wood from the beech and olive trees over the blazing embers.

Tuesday we used for a small Trimix dive at the harbor of Riva, dives to tune in at 50 - 80m were planned. An initially planned training in shallow water had to be cancelled due to poor visibility.


On Wednesday a dive at the crack was planned. We wanted to dive there through the crack, with target depths between 120m - 150m with 120min - 300min runtime. The crack is a crevice in the rock where you can dive from the top to about 50m in the "bottom". The exit ends at a slick wall between 70 - 90m depth. One dives into the "blue water", super visibility and steep wall up to 120m. In the deco we caught up on some skill training from the day before. Besides standard situations from CCR diving, the focus was also on changing from JJ-CCR to Bailout-RB.


On Thursday, the topic of surveying was on the agenda at 8am. After an hour of dry practice in surveying with MNemo as well as the subsequent visualization on the PC, we went back to the lake. This time we split up - one troop went to the crack again, looking for the end of the dump at the foot of the steep face there. The end was not reached, the guys turned around again at 160m and enjoyed the following 4.5h deco with laminated magazines.

The other troop amused themselves with hammer and chisel. The habitat was set with a hammer blow, without a drill. After one or two hours it was ready ;) For remote cave projects it is important not to rely only on one card, uh hammer drill. In case of emergency a bit sweaty, but the habitat could be set without a UW-drill hammer. There is enough man and woman power in our team.


The trip home on Friday was for most of us via Valstagna and an extensive dive in the Oliero. Visibility was moderate, but diveable. Behind the Oliero hides a huge cave system, in which there is certainly still one or the other new territory to find. Due to the later journey home, as well as the fact that it was the first visit for some, the focus was rather on a relaxed dive to conclude the "Gourneyrou Project Week". David and Aline said goodbye to the rather short week with a last dive in Lake Garda. In Bolzano we met up with the rest and headed home.

In this sense

Your Cavebase

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