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Exploration of the cave gone wrong... It ain't Sanctum movie

Exploration of the cave gone wrong... It ain't Sanctum movie

January 2020 · 3 min read · Ternopil Oblast

It happened in the time when I was 10 years younger. And was interested in adventurous caving.

Andriy from Chortkiv (small town in the Western Ukraine) invited me and Anton to take part in the expedition to Oleksynska cave.

It wasn't fully explored before. We had a map, but it looked uncomplete.

Ukrainian caves are not so famous, like, for example, Lechuguilla (USA). or Postojna (Slovenia). Despite that, the fifth longest cave in the world - Optymistychna - is in Ukraine! And it's the longest gypsum cave of all known!

Ok, and that monster cave, Optymistychna (now more than 260 km long), is not so far away. And there are few others very big also.

So, it means, our exploration could hypotetically result a discovery of a huge cave, if we find some hidden passages behind the mapped ones.

Andriy was a professional caver and speleologist. Me and Anton - amateurs. Some other folks from Ternopil and Chortkiv joined our party.

We met all in Chortkiv, from there we had to hire a taxi (it was extra cheap). The driver dropped us near the field somewhere between 2 small villages.

- It have to be there - Andriy wasn't really sure. After wandering around, we found a huge crater in the middle of the field. On the bottom there was a small hole, bigger than rabbit's one, but smaller than "normal cave entrance".

- And now, we need to dig. Entrance is blocked by mud and clay, brought here with the rain water when it falls down to the cave...

Of course, we were so "happy". Anton took the shovel...

And then it started to rain. As I mentioned, rain water usually fall down the cave, with the mud and clay...

Somehow we were digging, wet and dirty, in this muddy hole. Only 1 person could work - not enough space for 2. When it was my time, I tried to do it as much effective as I can. As a result, I got stuck in that hole, upside down, with my head somewhere in the mud. Only 2 people from our team could rescue me - the whole area was slippery...

We didn't finish the digging on the first day. And all our closes were wet and dirty.

The place where we put our tent was also flooded with the muddy water...

On the next day, the rain stopped. We went to the cave - the diigging was finished quickly. But the entrance was yet slippery and dirty.

When we got to the cave, we found it was almost fully flooded with water. Probably not rainy (even the small cave can hold the rainwater from hundreds of years of raining), it's the groundwater. Year by year, the level of groundwaters rise and fall, sometimes the cave is almost dry, sometimes flooded to the top.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree,

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

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Down to a sunless sea.

Well, you might remember this quote :)

It was our unlucky day. We has to return back to the civilization. No discoveries for this time.

We washed our dirty closes in the irrigation canal, catched the bus on the road and went back home.

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