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  • Christine Grosart

Source du Sorgues - The Picnic

The Sorgues is in Aveyron and is a great little cave to finish the trip with.

We invited Mehdi Dighouth to come over for the day and Rich and I set off to the cave to have a picnic before diving.

Oz and Joe set off to the Durzon - because their instructions had the GPS co-ordinates mixed up!!!!!

The Sorgues is a beautiful river emerging from the cirque rockface and feeds the fish-farm just downstream. It used to be the case that divers were asked to hose off their drysuits before entering the water but now the fish-farm seem not to care and divers are welcome here.

We settled down to lunch by the weir and Mehdi produced some home-made Fois Gras and some fruit jelly thing which was amazing.

We were still waiting for the others to show up and without a mobile signal here, wondered just how long we should wait. Rich still needed fills from the compressor so couldn't dive with me until Oz and the compressor arrived. It was decided that I should go for a dive with Mehdi and Rich could dive with the others when (if) they showed up.

Mehdi and I set off through the maze of boulders and concrete tunnels which fill the entrance. I first dived here in 2007 but didn't remember much about the cave as I was pre-occupied with a top-heavy independent twinset, having moved from sidemount to backmount gear myself, without any advice or training. I was uncomfortable throughout and didn't enjoy the dive.

It was great this time to know that I could just get on with it and relax.

We dived to what I consider the end of the cave. The main, spacious passage just ends and the way on is a small, narrow rift which goes up to about 3m depth from 31m and nobody has been any further. It is reported to be tight, nasty and a dead-end boulder choke - so we stay in the big stuff!

With loads of gas to spare, we turn round and I get the opportunity to waft my HID around and have a real good look at this cave. The geology is beautiful and there are ribbons of calcite protruding like a dragons back all along the edges and the floor. The water is typically clear, with a blue tinge and no decompression is required for such a short dive.

We surface to see that the others have arrived and Rich is getting his cylinders filled. Elaine and Duncan set off for a short dive and Elaine returns with plenty of gas, so I offer to take her in again behind the filming crew. Rich, Oz and Joe have a lengthy dive briefing for the camera work and Mehdi sneaks in for another dive behind them. Elaine and I stealthily follow them all and we are treated to a fantastic view of four divers, all with bright filming lights and HIDs, spread out down the passage. Elaine is thrilled with her dive and we call it a day.

Mehdi returns and gives me an impromptu lesson on his Megdalon rebreather. I always said I would never go over to RB because there is so much I can do on open circuit to last me a lifetime - and I haven't got anywhere near my limit of open circuit yet. But maybe in ten years time I may think differently.

We end the day with much giggling and silliness as Joe asks Mehdi for an interview about the Esperelle. Both Joe and Mehdi are extremely professional - you get the feeling they have both done this sort of thing before....I am in the background asking Mehdi questions in French and the video looks amazing.

Then it's Rich's turn to be in front of the camera and Joe's techniques for shedding a little golden light on the subject has us in stitches.

All too soon it is time to go. Mehdi has to go and give a talk at the speleo congress and we have to shoot off as we've been invited onto the Hortus Plateau - aka middle of absolutely nowhere - by the CLPA for a pizza party!

Chris, Elaine, Osama, Mehdi, Joe, Duncan and Rich.


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