Cave Diving Course '08

No pain, no gain

Dive log excerpt from the cave diving course "PATD Cave 1" with instructors Ralph Wilhelm and Sepp Bunk. The course took place in the town of Lot, located in the south of France:

All the cars were loaded up and off we went to the Ressel cave (a cave which contains the spring for a river) for the final dive of the course. We had planned a dive to the Great Hall, a horizontal distance of about 400 meters.

Just when we arrived at the cave it slowly and barely noticeably started to snow. Furthermore, for the first time during the trip the sun decided not to make an appearance which made for quite a chilly experience when we changed into our suits. The equipment was carried to the entry point, where we started to put on our gear and did our checks above and under water. Each of us was diving with two additional oxygen tanks (stages) since a large reserve was required in order to complete this dive safely.

The current of the river could barely be felt and we had no difficulties passing through the entry point of the cave. During the dive Ralph and I had plenty of opportunities to catch our experience in the cave and with the team on photo and video footage. After roughly 52 minutes we reached the first plateau and changed our air mixture to Trimix in 19 meters depth. From there the cave went steep down. A last cave arrow, marking to way to the exit was tied into the main line by Kathrin and off we went.

The Great Hall was truly impressive. A roughly 15 meters high and 10 meters wide room which is located at a water depth of 45 meters. Since there were 5 of us we had plenty of light to illuminate these gigantic dimensions: a sight which all participants had truly earned during the last few days. After 119 minutes of diving time we were back on the surface and were completely taken aback to find the world around us covered by a couple of inches of fresh snow. Dive: 44.8 meters / 119minutes