Updated: Feb 16
Images: Mark Burkey
The team returned to Croatia for the fifth year of exploration in Izvor Licanke, as the cave just kept on giving.
This year, with the expectation that the cave would continue deep for quite some time, we tried to cut down on deco and dive times by taking scooters. Rich and I purchased a Suex XK1 each and are super grateful to Suex Scooters for helping find us appropriate machines.
In addition, my good friend Clare Pooley didn’t bat an eyelid at offering to loan us two of her own smaller scooters for use as back ups.
Rich and I dived on our rebreathers and scooters to the 2018 limit and began laying line and surveying. To our astonishment, the cave changed and turned into a big boulder wall which seemed to be trending quite steeply upwards. I was getting twitchy about my low levels of oxygen as I’d not had a complete fill and doing two ascents would leave me quite thin. At 38m depth and after 40 or so metres of line-laying we turned around to make another plan for the cave which again threatened to surface.
The next day was Rich and Ash’s turn and the cave did exactly as we thought and surfaced in a large tunnel.
Rich didn’t have a helmet light so opted not to get out of the water while Ash made his way down the passage and located a further two sumps over the next few days.
I elected not to dive again as my preferred dive partner was Rich and he’d declared he was done for the week. I was tired after my 3 hour dive and my deco may have been a bit thin for me, so we started making plans to return in 2020.
The cave is now 1.5km long and the total amount of cave surveyed in 2019 was 601 metres. My team had explored a total of 1125 metres since we started in 2015.
Underwater exploration shot with the Paralenz Dive camera