Congratulations from Starless River to all concerned: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46701985
Tony has been diving in the Lot this week. Here are some pictures from Pou Meyssen – a 2400m round trip with canals and dry cave at the end.
The world’s longest underwater system has been created by the joining of Sac Actun, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, with Dos Ojos, by divers of the Proyecto Gran Acuifero Maya. The divers have found evidence of early human occupation dating from 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, along with the bones of elephants, giant sloths, bears, tigers and prehistoric horses. There is a brief write-up in the Guardian – see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/17/worlds-longest-underwater-cave-system-discovered-mexico-divers-gran-acuifero-maya or for Spanish speakers there is better detail in El Pais: https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/01/16/la_serpiente_emplumada/1516119767_618043.html?autoplay=1
The exploration website is at https://granacuiferomaya.com/2018/01/15/la-cueva-inundada-mas-grande-del-mundo-forma-parte-del-gran-acuifero-maya/
Over the last couple of months I’ve had an opportunity to make some potentially interesting dives in OFD. I was lucky enough to have the sumps downstream of The Confluence as having been dived only a couple of times previously back in the Noughties. The water encountered here is not, I think, the same as that which sinks in downstream OFD2; but I expect that this section of passage will be an inlet to the main flow.
The main activity has been underwater digging, but of such a shallow and benign nature (strong flow whips away silt within a matter of seconds) that it is very nearly a pleasure! In terms of kit, this is a twin cylinder site, the appropriate clothing is a wetsuit and diving vest (both Warmbac) with neoprene gloves as a little luxury. The best thing about this is that the carry in through Cwm Dwr in a wetsuit is actually quite comfortable through the crawls and boulder choke, even after a bit of rain. A bonus is that I’m learning the optimum route through this section of cave.
Thanks are due to various SWCC members for putting me on the trail, and also – and especially – to those Imperial College stalwarts who made the first carry in for me!
Researchers in Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany have been investigating oscillations in the North Atlantic weather system by using paleoclimate data from aragonite stal in caves in the High Atlas in Morocco. See https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170411085953.htm
Photo Jasper Wassenburg JGU.
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer has joined the 5th Mine Analogue Research Sortie, practising ways of searching for life in hostile environments – in this case highly concentrated salt solutions. See http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Caves/Mine_Craft_for_Mars
“The Ario Dream”, Paul Diffley’s film about exploration in the Picos, will premiere at the Kendal Film Festival on Sunday 19th November, 9.30 – 11.00 in the main theatre.
See the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/234550815
News from Spain is that Tony has passed a 140m sump at a maximum depth of 30m to join C4 (La Verdelluenga) to 2/7. See