Kupa - -154m

Autor Luigi -Gigi- Casati
Nedjelja, 27 Rujan 2009 11:49
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Report of the Piper - the 'Pifferaio'
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Enough! At -135m, about 230m from the entry, I leave the exploration reel waiting sweetly and return back. At -120m, while I am going up for trying to see the ceiling, I use the fins as a support on the bottom and provoke an avalange of gravel that begins to slip below me; fortunately the section is very big and this situation doesn't worry too much me even if it is annoying to see gravel to flow below me like a river. Here is is, the bailout tank where I take the topographical mark and begin to mark down direction, depth and distance; in some points I see the wall, in others the ceiling then, while I am doing a deco stop at -90m, I realize that what supposed to be the wall to the right (during the descent) it is nothing else than a huge rock that measures 8m for about ten: the beautiful thing is that there is no trace of the wall itself: perhaps with some meters more visibility, it would be easier to observe this gigantic hole in the limestone.

At -24m about 55 minutes later, the Piper appears with a 7 liter tank with gas breathable up to the surface, the battery and the water bottle; I hand the two 20 liter tanks over to him, of which one equipped with a second stage that loses from the membrane (another small accident), I write on the slate to return 45 minutes later and remain alone inside the shaft. He returns punctually with the exchange water bottle and battery, I write down that I will finish the decompression after 45 more minutes. After 155 minutes I salute the loneliness and resurface among about twenty people who have stayed to wait for me.

Wednesday 6, at 10 in the morning, we are expected at the organizational center of the park for a press conference with a lot of of Croatian national television and journalists. Tihi, the Piper and I are sat at the table with the representatives of the park and the protection of the waters of the river Kupa. In the afternoon we dedicate ourselves to the search for the oil for the Copis and to the setup of some equipments.

Thursday 7 everything seems to go smooth: at 10 o'clock we have already loaded the car, at 10.30 we move towards the spring. For the first time in this expedition, everything seems to proceed without obstacles: on the edge of the entrance pool I prepare the Copis, I insert the freshly prepared radial filter, the tanks, the head, negative test, positive test and verify the analyzers. We replace the regulator on the 20 liter tank, we prepare the batteries, the cooker for the tea, etc. When everything is ready I go to the forest equipped with toilet paper to meditate; I hope to see a bear or a lynx, common animals in this park but nothing, my mind only sees the line to be followed, the trunks to avoid, when to inflate the dry suit and when to begin finning, I can already feel the rhythm inside. Nothing or almost nothing can stop me now: I join the others and begin to get ready. The tasks to be completed are defined, I jump into the water to refresh before starting to sweat too much and luckily with this temperature it is easy to stop every stimulus to perspiration. I gear up with the Copis and finally I enter the water. I reach the bay by swimming, at about ten meters distance, where the Piper hands me over the two 20 liter tanks which I will carry with me to the bottom: I realize to have lost a band of an anti-freeze and the forced stop doesn't decrease my concentration which remains so high to not even realize that Alen is behind me with the intention to film the operations.

I attach the bailout tank, turn on the lights and go down, following the line in the center of the lake. At -6m a quick stop to verify the function of the sensors: two perfectly lined up and one slightly out of balance but nothing to worry about. I go down sidewards until the vertical drop, I am at -12m, I move away from the wall to avoid the trunks at -20m, down there the exploration reel is waiting for me. The automatic valve for the immission of trimix into the Copis works perfectly so that I have only to compensate; I pass the tank at -36m, at -55m I begin to inflate the dry suit to slow down. Perfect! I reach -63m without bumping into the trunks, I let myself fall towards the bottom. The LED on the mouthpiece simplifies my progression notably, because it constantly communicates the partial pressure of the oxygen to me, avoiding for me having to look continuosly onto the display. I begin finning with the planned rhythm, the respiraton it is not troubled thanks also to this spectacular filter that makes it incredibly simple. Visibility is about 4m: I stay high in comparison to the line, still no trace of the ceiling, but at around -110m I risk to suddenly bump into it: from here up to my exploration reel below on the gravel, the height of the tunnel is about 6m, but still no trace of the walls.

To the right I see a big rock where I try to fix the line, but it slips away; I continue, trying to remain on the right, passing some stones and gravel. The LED at the mouth piece confirms that the flow of oxygen is regulated perfectly because the PpO2 doesn't increase. At -150m one tank is entangled in the line because I'm not used anymore to soft line material like this. I see the two walls tightening together and below me lie enormous rocks: I slip into the wide passage, 2m large and few more than one meter high, and even if it seems that some meters ahead the the passage is widening, I decide that for this time my exploration is finished.

I fix the line to a small prominence of rock, I look at the computer which marks -154m and 17 minutes, and I begin to turn back. The narrow passage of about fifteen meters that I am passing is not the route that I have been going down but I am aware that the line was not fixed well to the rocks, and has moved following me; in case of scarce visibility this is one of the most dangerous situations that can occur because there is the risk to get jammed without a possibility of solution. At -120m I have the impression that there is a tunnel at my right side, but it will be for another time. During the long deep stops, I delight moving to the right and to the left, but without always perceiveing the walls, because in many places the section is wider than about ten meters from the line. I pick up the two tanks at -100m and -80m, then the caving rope mentioned before. At -35m I find myself with five 20 liter tanks and 40m of 10mm caving rope, at -24m I hand everything over to the Piper and I keep only the two tanks with nitrox 35% and 50%. A little more than after one hour, he arrives with the tea, the battery of the heating vest and the writing slate and again I entrust two 20 liter tanks to him, next appointment another 45 minutes later. The next course of food and drinks for me and my request to the Piper to make Alan come down with the video camera and to organize the final visit of Gordan. Alan arrives without television camera but with the third battery and more tea. Gordan makes a visit at the moment when there are only about thirty minutes missing to the end of the deco. At the exit, after 209 minutes some curious tourists and Gordan with dry suits on are ready to take my equipments out of the water.

Friday 8: the day passes by calmly, with photos shot, tanks filled, memories expressed in words. The evening and the night, while a violent storm throws down bucketfuls of water, the thoughts turn to the consequences that it will have on the spring.

Saturday 9: the forecasts have not been wrong about the quantity of water that would have fallen; the stream formed on the road has dragged away our sandals and the river Kupa has turned brown and turbulent. At this point, as I consider that the game is ended, I begin preparing the equipments to be definitely loaded into the car, but Alen, who is not convinced, takes the bicycle and pedals towards the spring. Upon return he tells that in the little pool formed by our spring, the visibility is not changed and the reason of the turbidity that we observe from the place where we are now, which is in the valley, derives from a small spring that discharges at about halfway between Izvor Kupe and our position.

Pleasantly amazed, at midday we return to our spring because in spite of the weather we can dedicate to another beautiful try of explorations and this time, with Alan and Gordan who will make the documentation, it will be the Piper who, as I can easily imagine, will have the pleasure of the discovery and the explorer's shiver.

Ažurirano ( Četvrtak, 06 Siječanj 2011 10:27 )

Skup speleologa Hrvatske 2012.

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