Not every donut has a hole in the middle...
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
We had long had an invitation from the French caving club to dive a new sump which was very close to the Foux de la Vis. The group, as ever, helped carry our kit in the heat and set about the entrance of the dry cave with explosives to make passing the gear a little easier.
We had a little information on the sump and in our usual plan of attack, added a little helium to our larger bottles and took some oxygen along too, so that we had all angles covered. In exploration, you never know what the cave will do – if it will go deeper, if it will surface, if it will close down or open up in to caverns measureless to man.
We knew that someone had been in there before but had very little information on how it ended.
We lowered the cylinders through a boulder choke and kitted up in a narrow rift.
I set off surveying the existing line in very poor, milky visibility (barely 2 metres) and Rich went ahead to try and find the way on.
We came across all sorts of different lines, one of which had broken and was heading back towards the entrance. We spent some time cleaning this up and very shortly came to the end of the line. It was only at a depth of 21m and some 36 metres surveyed distance.
We had a good poke about in rifts below and above but they were too tight and definitely not worth pursuing. I stuffed Rich into one with the line reel and he laid about 8 metres before climbing back towards me, shaking his head.
The team got the gear out in good time, in between eating lunch and drinking red wine, which had clearly been smuggled past their wives that morning in coca cola bottles……
The walk up hill was hot and my ankle didn’t like it, but we were soon at the café in St Maurice de Navacelles drinking cold beers while I entered the survey data and produced a stick map.