Updated: Feb 16, 2020
Croatia is a beautiful country and one I have been very lucky to visit many times. My partner, Richard Walker teaches technical diving in the small fishing port of Krnica, Istria and I have been out to Croatia to dive in the sea and the caves on many occasions. Over the last couple of years, Rich and I have been visiting a particular cave in Croatia, near Rijeka called Izvor Licanke. After a couple of reconnaissance trips, we explored completely virgin underwater cave last year and we were determined to return and continue the exploration.
The cave is a resurgence, meaning that the underwater passage meets daylight as water pours out from underground into the river and lakes downstream. There is a short, shallow ‘sump’ or flooded passage which soon surfaces in a couple of lakes and some huge passageways beyond. A high boulder climb up to almost the roof, leads back down to the river again and a short distance upstream the second sump is met.
Sump 2 was first dived by French explorer, Frank Vasseur way back in 1998 and he dived for 140 metres to a depth of -36 metres. Due to local politics the team and everyone else were denied access and the sump remained unexplored until 2016 when Richard and I, having spoken to Frank, extended his line with the efforts of only a small team of ourselves and our Dutch friend, Rick Van Dijk. With permissions in situ, we were able to apply three days to the project; one for carrying the diving gear through the first sump and the dry cave to sump 2; one for the exploration and one for bringing all the gear out again.
Rick Van Dijk and the 2016 equipment stash This year, Rick joined us again and I also invited my ex Cave Diving Group trainee, Ashley Hiscock, who was making quite a name for himself to come along and help. The previous year we had struggled with time to shoot any meaningful video and I flooded my DSLR camera in the first sump when a dry tube failed, so we were keen to have someone along to do the images and video for us so that we could concentrate on the task in hand. We had just the person in mind. But there was a catch…