Naslovnica // Ekspedicije // 7. MSRE "Zrmanjin buk" 2008. // Kupa - Report of the Piper - the 'Pifferaio'

Kupa - Report of the Piper - the 'Pifferaio'

Autor Luigi -Gigi- Casati
Nedjelja, 27 Rujan 2009 11:49
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Report of the Piper - the 'Pifferaio'
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Report of the Piper - the "Pifferaio": 09/08/2008

- after the storm which has raged for the whole night, partially in my mind I am already in Italy. From yesterday afternoon in fact, the heavy rain anticipated by the meteorological office, had led us to consider the exploration in the spring of Kupa practically to be finished. After breakfast therefore, I was getting my equipments organized and I had also started to load them into the car while Gigi, for his part, was writing some notes on the Mac... In this moment Alen, returning from a visit of the spring in bike, informs us in excitement that the flooding that we see passing down the river next to our base camp doesn't derive from the principal spring, but from some smaller springs, downstream in the same valley, and that the spring itself is in good conditons. I hear Gigi saying: " …well then we go diving…"; a lamp is switched on inside my brain and starts a rush of emotions that still I can hardly describe. The day before, when because of the concern about bad weather we had decided to "shut down" the principal exploration that Gigi was doing in the first shaft, all the same he had announced the possibility for me, if the meteorological condition allowed it, to continue the exploration of the second shaft that I had begun five days before.

Needless to tell that what Gigi was proposing me was an exceptional occasion that had to be taken advantage of in the best possible way. In an instant I prepare my dry suit, the undergarment, take the computers, the masks, a check of the calibration of the sensors and I already find myself in the car on the way to the spring. Gigi, with his experience, succeeds with some words, suggestions and also with some clever jokes, to make me feel as already under water, focussed on the dive. And still, during the whole phase of preparation of the rebreather or during gearing up, to feel him as near to almost feel his breath on my neck and to know that, even if he doesn't let it be noticed, none of my movements, remains unseen by him, continues to give to me some unbelievable sensations. My job normally brings with it to be " in tension ", to feel observed and checked, but this time, it is different: for a long time already, I have been assisting him to dress, to set up the reb, to pass him material before the dive, to make assistance in water for him, but this time the roles are changed. For me it is a great honor that I don't want to betray him - I cannot betray him as well. The second shaft of the spring is situated in the same little pool of the fisrt, at only a few meters distance. According to an old sketch, afterwards revealed being not too reliable, presented on a board at the edge of the spring, the two shafts go down parallel and should have a connection at about -50-/60 meters. Already during my first dive, up to -58m I did not find any connection, but I was certainly not assisted by the visibility which didn't pass 3/4 meters.

Today the visibility has worsened a little bit, but at least for a little while I will have the guide line, which have layed out during the first dives and the elastics on which to hook the tanks during the descent are already prepared. The walls of the shaft, substantly vertical, are very smooth and one of the difficulties that I had found, was in fact finding good points for tie offs. Gigi allows to me to use his 20 liter tanks 10/80 as diluent and I also take one of the emergency bailut tanks with me, which I have recovered the day before: a 15 liter tank containing 52/25. A last look over to Gigi and there I go. Alan, who is filming the phas of preparation at the surface with the video camera, will follow me immediately after up to -21m where I will leave the tank. I dedicate the first meters of the descent to get used to the 20 liter tank that reaches up exactly to the position of the diluent injection button; I decide then to position it in another way on the series of hooks and resolve the problem... trying the injection button however I have reached an asset which is too positive, so that I have to do some fin kicks with head in down to succeed in descending. Little later I am at -21m, I leave the 15 liter tank and continue the descent… I don't realize when Alan stops and in any case after about ten meters more, I am all by myself to follow my line.

The visibility doesn't allow me to see the whole shaft but only the wall that I use as reference, the one more towards west, the one that is toward the first shaft. In every case I have the confirmation of the impression that I had had during the first dive: one of the sides of the shaft, which could be identified as the base, continues to go down, slightly inclined and leeding towards north. During the whole descent, I continue to encounter relics of trees and branches, and upon arrival at -58m, I have the second confirmation of another impression that I had during the preceding dive. The bottom, even though still highly inclines, is revealing a slide of stones and rocks and from this point the presence of branches and trunks increases. I still keep to the west side of the shaft as reference and go down further, keeping on to follow a light inclination towards north. The quantity of branches increases, some of them I discover only after having bumped into thembecause of the scarce visibility, and also because of the dimensions of the trunks which start to become notable. Thinking about the information had by Gigi about the first shaft, I believe that it can be supposed that I am approaching to the level in which the shafts flatten out… Around -70m I have a shudder when with the torch I illuminate a little opening leading in direction of the first shaft: will it be the passage that we are looking for? Unfortunately, as soon as I put my head inside and when the torches of the helmet succeed to illuminatie it all, it reveals to be only a couple of meters long. I continue the descent for some meters; the branches continue to be present and now, despite of the walls that are always very smooth, there are also some isolated rocks of greater dimensions.

One of these seems perfect for a tie off; a glance to the computer: -79m. and we are already 16 minutes into the dive… I cut the line and try to aim the torch in various directions looking for some information about the dimensions of the environment in which I am,: unfortunately the only thing I see is " black ". I start to ascend, and after about fifteen minutes I reach -21m; I pick up the bailot tank, increase the PPO2 of the circuit a little bit and I also start to see a glimpse of the light of the sun above of me. The decompression continues in a regular way and while I am at -6m, turned towards a wall occupied to follow the movements of a little fish, I feel a hand that touches me: I turn around and see Alen who asks to me if everything is all right: I signal the OK to him and I communicate that I still have about ten minutes until finishing the decompression.

Upon arrival to a few meters from the surface, I hear the noise of stones that someone is throwing into the water, exactly above of me: I suppose to have some idea on who the author of that gesture can be and I feel like smiling. After 66 minutes, it is time to return to the surface: I hardly put the head out of the water to see that the spring has definetely become "crowded" because some executives of the Parks of Risnjak and Udruga-Kupa, some friends of the DDISKF (among which Tihy, equipped with video camera) as well as some passing tourist have arrived. The first person that I am looking for is Gigi and it is a wonderful feeling to see his naughty expression. I hand over some equipments from the water, then I get out and sit on a rock. It's in fact he himself that it helps me to gear off the reb and we immediately start to exchange opinions about the cave. He seems to be satisfied and this is the thing that makes me feel better. In these years, following him in his explorations, some of which really "at the limits", I am learning a lot of things, even by only observing him, being nearby, asking questions… I don't know if and how, I will ever be able ever thank him enough… certainly today I have a further motive to thank him: Thanks Gigi!!

After the dive of the Piper is over, at the outside of the spring, besides of tourists, some executives of the Park and friends have arrived, bringing strong reinforcements to load the stuff for good and thanks to them, in a single trip, we are able to transport all the equipments to the car. Although the routine of the exploration is combined with work and discomfort, we are also enjoyers: back at the shelter we enjoy food and drinks crowned by a gigantic cake of whipped cream offered by the association Udruga Kupa to celebrate the result.

(We would like to thanks our friend and member Gigi Casati, for more stories of his explorations and results please go and visit his web site:

Prilog: skica i tlocrt izvora Kupe

Kupa - profil Kupa - tlocrt Izvor Kupe, arhiv 1938.


Ažurirano ( Četvrtak, 06 Siječanj 2011 10:27 )

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