26 Apr Cave diving in Galicia: Exploration in Buraca das Choias
By Miguel Callejón Márquez and José Carlos Holgado, by Geoceanic
Diving is an activity that in recent years has become very popular and accessible to the vast majority of the population. We have all seen documentaries, films, magazines, etc. about the seabed, its fauna and flora. This is the most widespread modality, practiced by most fans. However, there are other modalities not as well known, such as cave diving.
Cave diving is done in submerged caves, usually in inland waters, such as river births (emergences) or lakes. It is a very delicate activity since direct access to the surface is not possible as when you are at sea and therefore requires special training and equipment.
Today we want to talk to you about La Buraca das Choias. It is a cave of karst origin sandwiched among strata, which is under exploration by the Geoceanic group since 2017. Located in Lugo, in the village of Visuña, the first explorations began during the 1980s, mainly by the G.E.S Artabros group. In September 1985, the club Mar de A Coruña made a first recognition of siphon 2, reaching a restriction that makes it impossible to continue the exploration. Subsequently, several groups attempted to overcome this restriction but all attempts were thwarted. It wasn’t until 2017 that the Geoceanic group managed to overcome the difficult step and explore until the 5th siphon. This cave develops along an active underground river and has about 1200 linear meters explored, spread over 10 siphons (submerged parts of the cave) and their respective aerial galleries. We have now discovered up to the 10th siphon, but we intuit that the Buraca continues.
In one of the aerial galleries between siphons we can find an access to an upper fossil gallery, called “The Crypt”, for having discovered a paleontological site of three different individuals, currently in the process of study and dating. This gallery has more than 200 meters and there is a high probability that the cave will continue through this area because of the amount of windows and laundry that we could appreciate
Thanks to the collaboration of other speleological groups several very interesting objectives have been achieved, also facilitating that the tip divers José Carlos Holgado and Miguel Callejón Márquez have managed to reach the point, that is, the 10th Siphon.
The water temperature is 7 degrees. Inside the cave the darkness is total so it is totally necessary to use artificial lighting. Exploration requires total concentration and great physical effort. Each diver must carry through the cave an approximate weight of 70 kg, which, although in the submerged areas is fully assumed, in the dry areas requires a very intense effort, testing the physical and mental limits of the explorer,
However, as with any adventure, the reward is always worth it. The feeling of being the first people to go deep into the mountain, being able to contemplate places inaccessible to the majority, see how the water has whimsically sculpted the rock for millions of years… Quite a privilege.
For this year 2019 there are high expectations in exploration so we hope that during the first semester we will make great progress again.
We’ll keep you posted!