Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 30 Nov 2018

Expedition details (GPF2019a-001)

Expedition Name (& Club): Croatia Cave Diving Expedition 2019 (Izvor Licanke) (Cave Diving Group Great Britain)
Destination country: Croatia
Region: Fuzine
Lat: 45.3050 Long: 14.7148 Elevation: 723 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr. christine grosart
Total cavers: 7
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 0
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 2
UK/nonUK cavers: 5/2
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 22nd Jun 2019 - 30th Jun 2019
Duration (days): 9
Man-days in field: 54 Man-days travelling: 8
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

The primary objectives are to continue virgin cave diving exploration and survey of Sump 2 in Izvor Licanke and continue documenting the exploration with video, underwater footage and survey. The project has delivered talks to highlight cave diving exploration in a positive way at both Kendal Mountain Festival, Hidden Earth and the Dive Show (NEC). The project works with permissions of the local waterboard and provides data, images and articles. It is an important project to highlight women in exploration as the project leader, lead diver and film maker is female.
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. 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.The costs of purchasing extremely expensive items such as scooters and rebreathers are now a large financial burden, but a necessity owing to the depth and temperature of the cave.
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 7 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, which includes scooters.
- Continue to photograph and film set up proceedings to promote 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 plan to obtain a DSLR underwater 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.
- Continue to add to the 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 2018, Richard Walker (CDG/WCC) and Christine Grosart (CDG/WCC) with the help of Rick Van Dijk (GUE/WCC) Ashley Hiscock (OCC/CDG), Robert Varesko (HRK) and Mark Burkey (Dudley/CDG) have been exploring sump 2 with 400m of new underwater passage surveyed, at a maximum depth of 50m, necessitating the need for rebreathers in 2018. In total 5 separate trips have been made to Croatia to explore 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 used this to successfully document sump 2. The camera 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, Descent magazine and Diver magazine. Christine has given three talks at Hidden Earth on the project; a talk at the Dive Show, NEC and showed the exclusive film about the cave at the Kendal Mountain Festival. 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:
Christine, Ash and Rick most likely to drive to Croatia owing to the amounts of heavy and bulky equipment. Mark, Robbie and Richard are likely to fly and Roberto lives in Croatia so his costs are minimal. The team cover his travel.

# from UK: 5 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £2,860 Fuel from UK to Krnica £350 return plus ferry £300 x 2 = 1300
Bristol - Pula flights return inc baggage (£400 x 3) £1200

Overnight stops x 2 @ £45 per night pp (each way) £360

# from outside UK: 2 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: £3,160 Travel p.p. from UK: £572
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £150


Total: £1,540 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £220 £30 pp Per night accommodation for 7 nights (minimum)

7 people x 7 nights = £1470

Meals not provided. Avg £10 per head per day: £70


Total: £980 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £140 Cylinder rental from Krnica dive
£10 per day per cylinder.
14 cylinders x 7 days


Special 1

Total: £920 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £131 Sofnolime x 2 tubs £120
Gas (trimix/oxygen/nitrox) £800 for bailout cylinders. (not payable if not used)

Special 2

Total: £16,185 Comments:
Special 2 p.p.: £2,312 Suex XJ37 Scooters x 3
£5395 each
The team has plans to try to loan scooters but will need to purchase if this is not possible.
Exped Total: £22,785 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £3,375
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £2,953
Mean Exped cost per person: £3,255

Other Funding

Total: £200 Comments:
Sales of last years Croatia film bringing in a small amount, approx £200.
Total shortfall: £22,585 Mean shortfall per person: £3,226

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. He needs no further introduction following the Thailand rescue. 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.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: christine grosart