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Polish Cave Diving 2001-2005
Andrzej Szerszeń
Speleoklub Warszawski


Warszawiaków Sump,
Jaskinie Kasprowa Niżnia,
Tatra Mts,
ph. W. Szymanowski

The last five years have brought some new results in cave exploration and some improvements in diving technique. The main concentrated on deeper and longer dives, most of the activity took place abroad though some actions in Polish caves in the Tatra Mountains have also been undertaken.
The group of Polish active cave divers associated in Cave Diving Commision (Komisja Nurkowania Jaskiniowego) is not bigger then 20 persons. This number is small, mostly due to the lack of easily accessible underwater caves in our country. Sumps are only in several caves and are located quite far from cave entrances. The description of main results you can see below.

Explorations in Poland

In winter 2002 Krzysztof Starnawski pushed exploration in jaskinia Kasprowa Niżnia passing through the sixth, FFS Sump and starting climbing the chimney after it. Now the total length of underwater passages amounts to 630 m (the largest in Poland), with max depth 24 m. The initial sump is quite easily accessible, being located 1 hour from the cave entrance.
Wiktor Bolek explored Mysi Sump in vertical cave Jaskinia Wielka ¦niezna during the winter 2003. The sump is located 500 m below the cave entrance. Wiktor reached the depth of 15 m, and saw that the passage continues down at least to -25 m. The Mysi Sump is located after two initial sumps and a narrow slot, so it is one of the most hardly accessible Polish diving places. The diving teams operate from bivouac located on -450 m.

Cave Diving Workshop, ph. J. G±secki

Explorations abroad

In the end of 2001 a team dived in Mokra Dziura (Slovakia). The main problem there is very low temperature of water - about 1°C, which causes regulator freezing. The problem was solved by using helium-based mixes. Wiktor Bolek discovered that a mix including more than 20% of helium completely prevent regulator freezing. This phenomenon is based on helium properties. This gas gets warmer in adiabatic decompression process. The results of exploration include finding of dozens meters of new passages.
Exploration of the deepest Romanian resurgence, the Izbucul de la Tauz, undertaken by Wiktor Bolek in late nineties has been continued reaching the depth 85 m at the distance of 250 m from the entrance. Last year Włodzimierz Szymanowski passed through the sump knee at 85 m and pushed the terminal point to 424 m from the entrance, ascending to 30 m. The diving conditions in Tauz are not excellent, visibility rarely exceeds 2 meters and can be destroyed by rain which is quite often this region. The rain also augments the current, so that diving becomes impossible. Water outflow in Tauz comes from the sink cave Coiba Mare, distant over 2.5 km. The passages are large enough to let large wood logs to pass the system. During the Tauz expeditions some smaller underwater caves have been explored, including some new parts in another big resurgence - Izbucul Galbenei.
During the Summer 2004 Piotr Kępkiewicz, supported by Michai Gignał, passed through a narrow and muddy sump (6 m deep, 20 m long) located on -270 m in Kastanienhohle (Hagengebirge, Austria). Another activity in the same country was undertaken by Krzysztof Recielski in the world's second deepest cave - Laprechtsofen; he explored some minor sumps.
The team consisting of Wiktor Bolek and Grzegorz Dominik explored Vrulia cave in Croatia to the depth of 120 m. The cave entrance is in an Adriatic see bay bottom, at the depth of 45 m, and opens as a big well. The divers found their way back difficult, because of a strong current directed into the cave.
In the beginning of 2005, a expedition to Optymisticheskaya Cave in Ukraine has been undertaken. The total length over 200 km places this cave as the second longest in the world. Optymisticheskaya is totally horizontal, and is formed in gypsum. Andrzej Szerszeń found a horizontal slot in the "1st May Lake", but after several meters it becomes too narrow to pass through.

Other Activities

Last years are connected with many cognitive and training expeditions to well known major European resurgences in Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Italy, France, Romania and Switzerland. During many actions our group improved diving techniques, especially in deep and long dives, and we prepare for more complex explorations.
An interesting dive was made by Leszek Czarnecki in 2003 in Bushmansgat, South Africa. He reached the depth of 194 meters during his activity in the Nuno Gomes team.
Every spring a cave diving workshop (Warsztaty Nurkowahjaskiniowych) is organised by our society. This meeting is an occasion for cave divers to meet, exchange information and evaluate knowledge and techniques.
On the technical side of cave diving, the most important event was introducing rebreathers. Inspiration units were used in cave diving and have beaten open circuit in deep explorations.
For the future we plan to continue the current trends in our cave diving and improve cave diving safety.

See also:

Bolek W., 2001. Cave diving in Poland at the end of 20th Century In: Polish Caving 1997-2001. KTJ PZA, Kraków, pp. 10-11
Bolek W., 2001. Eksploracja w Mokrej Dziurze.Jaskinie, 22:19-20.
Bolek W., 2002. Vrulja - powtorka z mechaniki Płynów.Jaskinie, 27:18-19.
Szerszeń A., Czykierda M., Kopertowski M., 2003. Jesienna wyprawa do Rumunii, Jaskinie, 30:18-19.
Bolek W, Gignal M., 2003. Bihor 2003. Jaskinie, 34:21-22.
Szymanowski W., 2005. Izbucul de la Tauz 425 m do przodka. Jaskinie, 38:20-21.

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