sexta-feira, 10 de julho de 2009

Cape Espichel, Garganta do Cabo Cave

The first known descent to the Garganta do Cabo Cave was accomplished by a team of cavers from CEAE-LPN in the year of 1985. At the time the descent was made through the Fojo das Pombas entrance, a huge hall in the escarpment’s very top, clearly visible from the sanctuary of Cape Espichel.

In 1995, a team of cavers from NECA descended to the bottom of the entrance chamber and, in the period of a few months, they dug and explored an area of sand-filled phreatic development. That Cavers’ Association still claims today they were the first ever to find the cave.

Early May 2006 – Our team (CEAE-LPN) starts a new approach to the Cape Espichel’s area, giving priority to Garganta do Cabo cave.We followed the tendency that caves in Arrábida show of developing along the bedding-planes. A series of activities were taken to achieve the revelation of a mystery. We have studied the penetration of the cavity by the sea in order to have a better perception of what the exploration would entail. The waves, entering by a crack in the bottom of the cliff, took several seconds to get to the very end of the continuation. Giving the difficulty of access to the area, we were forced to do some creative rigging in order to reach the opposite wall, the only place offering good conditions to start the exploration itself.
The always unpredictable sea conditions made us take all precautions. On the 19th and 20th August 2006, Pedro Pinto, Marília Moura and I prepared the logistics to bivouac inside the cave. The next morning, at dawn, taking advantage of the changing tide calmness we roped over the sea and set the first anchor point. That allowed us to succeed in the exploration.

Those exploration moments were the most breathtaking I have ever lived up to today. Unsuitable for cardiac people, I tell you, but rewarding! The results of this exploration led us to the biggest find yet in the Cape Espichel’s area.

1st Part of the Exploration

From early may 2006 to late 2007 our team completed, as planned, the 1st part of the exploration of this surprising area. We have used a video camera during all exploration activities and filmed over 2000 minutes. It took me a few months to edit those recordings with the collaboration of my mates. We are proud to present to the Portuguese cavers’ community, and to you all, this DVD illustrating a year’s exploration.

Can be downloaded from: x.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=52&Itemid=49