Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 16 Mar 2018

Expedition details (GPF2018b-001)

Expedition Name (& Club): Croatia Cave Diving Expedition 2018 (Cave Diving Group (Great Britain))
Destination country: Croatia
Region: Fuzine, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
Lat: 45.3050 Long: 14.7148 Elevation: 723 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Ms christine grosart
Total cavers: 6
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 0
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 2
UK/nonUK cavers: 4/2
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 23rd Jun 2018 - 1st Jul 2018
Duration (days): 9
Man-days in field: 36 Man-days travelling: 11
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

The primary objectives are to continue virgin cave diving exploration of Sump 2 in Izvor Licanke and continue documenting the exploration with video, underwater footage and survey. In addition, the team plans to continue exploring another unnamed resurgence which has been dived to -30m depth and is still wide open and unexplored. The team wish to create a film about this project for the Kendal Mountain Film Festival on request of the organisers and filming for this project began last year.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

We have supported Ghar Parau in the past via donations but have never considered that we may need assistance in any of our cave diving projects, which have been self funded. This year, shipping costs to get specialist diving and camera equipment to Croatia have increased and due to the weight and bulk, financial assistance with logistics will ensure that all necessary equipment can get to the location safely.
Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

The main objective is to extend sump 2 in Izvor Licanke by using rebreather technology and document with new camera equipment the underwater passages. The team will survey during exploration and aim to produce images and video of proceedings.
The team have 6 days to accomplish the following:
- Carry all diving equipment for 3 push divers and one support diver from sump 1 to sump 2 (3 rebreathers, 2 sets of bailout cylinders and decompression bottles - 14 cylinders minimum) and ancillary equipment.
- Replace the broken line on the shaft close to the beginning of sump 2 which is creating a hazard.
- Continue to photograph and film set up proceedings as we had begin last year to produce a short film for the Kendal Mountain Film Festival (category TBC but likely 'Women in Exploration').
- Spend 3 days exploring sump 2 in rotation (2 divers per exploration dive) with one safety diver at the decompression stop.
- Document proceedings both in dry cave and underwater using the new innovative Paralenz (TM) camera. We also have a DSLR and housing which is heavy and bulky. Without additional funding it will be cost prohibitive to ship this unit and we may need to leave it behind, which will limit the opportunity for quality underwater images. Underwater strobes are not compatible with the Paralenz.
- Produce a survey of sump 2, both in traditional grade 3+ and video.
- Provide the Croatian government with data and reports from the system as required by our permits. These reports will be available to Ghar Parau.
- If time permits, another unnamed resurgence has been dived by Richard Walker and requires further investigation.

Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

2015: Christine Grosart joined a reconnaissance trip to several regions of Croatia, investigating resurgence caves which were not widely documented. She visited Izvor Licanke and dived the first sump to surface in large river passage.
The team on that trip were not dry cavers so lost interest in pursuing exploration. With some research, an old survey from 1997 and Frank Vasseur showed the limit of exploration in sump 2, some 350m from sump 1.
Christine made contact with Frank and he explained that owing to local speleo club politics, access was lost in 1998 and the cave had been closed to all ever since.
The cave is likely part of the show cave system 'Spilja Vrelo' and exploration here has great significance. The cave is trending northwards, away from the show cave and it is likely that the show cave is a downstream siphon (it occasionally floods).
In 2015 Project Morpheus, set up by Krnica dive centre in Croatia, gained government permits to access all caves in the region. Our Croatia caves project operates under these permits.
Between 2015 and 2017, Richard Walker (CDG/WCC) and Christine Grosart (CDG/WCC) with the help of Rick Van Dijk (GUE/WCC) Ashley Hiscock (OCC/CDG) and Mark Burkey (Dudley/CDG) have been exploring sump 2 with 143m of new underwater passage surveyed, at a maximum depth of 50m, necessitating the need for rebreathers in 2018.In total 4 trips have been made into the system by members of this small team.
The team have invested several thousands of pounds in rebreathers and ancillary diving equipment and training to enable them to push the limit of the cave further.
In addition, high spec underwater camera equipment has been purchased to enable the divers to document the stunning underwater passages which has never been done before.
The new Paralenz camera also documents depth, temperature and time and we are looking forward to using this new innovation which is depth rated to 200m for exploration, possibly the first of its kind.

Reports and articles on the exploration of Licanke have been written by Christine Grosart and have been published in Wessex Cave Club journal, Cave Diving Group Newsletter (multiple), Wetnotes GUE UK newsletter, Quest magazine (due April) and Descent magazine (publication pending, date yet TBC). Christine has given two talks at Hidden Earth on the project. These have been accompanied by high quality images above water by Mark Burkey, who joined the CDG and was trained in cave diving by the team specifically to accompany and document this project. This took 3 months of intensive training and his initial equipment was sponsored by Apeks. It has now been returned and he has purchased his own to continue with the project.

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Richard, Christine and Mark will be flying from Bristol to Pula, Croatia. They will need to ship rebreathers, rebreather specific cylinders and all other diving equipment (except bailout cylinders which will be rented in Croatia). They will rent a car from Pula in order to reach the gas station in Krnica before driving to Fuzine.
Ashley Hiscock and Rick Van Dijk will either fly or drive from the UK and Netherlands respectively.

# from UK: 4 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £2,730 Bristol - Pula flights return (£400 x 3) £1200
Baggage return (£80 x 9) £720
Extra shipping (exceeds maximum permitted by air) £160
Fuel from UK to Krnica £350 return plus ferry £300

# from outside UK: 1 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £300 Fuel from Netherlands to Krnica £300 return.

Robert Varesko is resident in Croatia so costs N/A.

Travel total: £3,030 Travel p.p. from UK: £682
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £300


Total: £1,680 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £336 £30 pp Per night accommodation for 7 nights (minimum)

6 people x 7 nights = £1260

Meals not provided. Avg £10 per head per day: £420


Total: £980 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £196 Cylinder rental from Krnica dive
£10 per day per cylinder.
14 cylinders x 7 days


Special 1

Total: £920 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £184 Sofnolime x 2 tubs £120
Gas (trimix/oxygen/nitrox) £800

Special 2

Total: £300 Comments:
Special 2 p.p.: £60 Car rental 1 week £300
Exped Total: £6,910 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £1,458
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £1,076
Mean Exped cost per person: £1,382

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
Total shortfall: £6,910 Mean shortfall per person: £1,382

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Mr Richard Stanton MBE
Affiliation: Supported expeditions

Reason: Rick Stanton is an internationally renowned and prolific cave explorer and I have been a support diver on several of his projects in France. He knows me well and has always supported and encouraged my projects and offered sound advice from vast experience. Christine.

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Mr Clive Westlake
Affiliation: Mentor in Cave Diving Group

Reason: Clive was my proposer upon entering the CDG and has undertaken hundreds of caving and cave diving trips with me spanning over a decade. Mobile no: 07914 887205

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Christine Grosart