KOLOSY 2010 - Artur Kozłowski (English subtitles)
(0.10) - Area around Gort is probably, as we are trying to prove , as I thought we would after some time, one of the largest systems of subterranean caves, underwater caves in Europe, if not in the whole world.
(0.26) - Was it ever explored before in any way? - Yes it was, by Martyn Farr, my teacher. They organised the so called Dark Shamrock Expeditions in the 1990s. In ’90s they managed to explore nearly 3 kilometres of the caves, gradually exploring from one ponor and the other. They reached the limits of their capability, it was also matter of their age and other interests. For the last four years together with my friend, Jim Warren, Belgian cave diver, we explored another 9 kilometres in the same region, so that makes 9, almost 10, the total of nearly 13 kilometres and I guess there is potentially another 10 kilometres. Connection of them, it could be one of the longest siphons in the world and definitely in Europe.
(1.29) The truth is that what was shown in the movie, it was all 20 metres away from the entry, from Polledeelin and Polltoophill. I can't afford to take anyone further but still, the conditions are the best in these places, but this is much more of a challenge (hard core ).
(1.49) Some people ask me „Why do you swim there? Let's go to France or Mexico, you can see some 30 metres there.” But this is not only what you see, but also what you feel – I know this ceiling is somewhere beneath me, this combination of water and darkness... I think darkness is the important element here. Martyn Farr wrote a famous book The History And Development Of Cave Diving, The Darkness Beckons , which can be translated “the darkness is calling you”. I am currently translating the book into Polish for the 360 Publishing House – the book should be published around July. And there the darkness and the attraction of the darkness is a crucial element, like there is an hole in the ground , you don't know what's in there, you just see the darkness, which means... When I see, even in clear water the continuation of the passage, it still ends as a dark spot. There is something and I have to see it. It's like, you know, we can see what's on the surface of the moon, it sounds like a bit of a cliche, we can fly in a plane above the mountains, any of them, we can place a probe on the sea bottom – in an underwater cave, or in any cave for that matter, you never know what's behind the corner. There can be the most beautiful chamber of the British Islands or in Europe, but as I said, it's more often the case that it's not there, but the only way to find it out is by trying to get there yourself. So it's in fact an element of maiden exploration, maiden journey and probably the way to fulfil the dreams of each young boy – exploring some systems.
(3.40) For the last few years I've been trying to understand what really attracts me in this and it's not all logical – there is also something primal in all that and it does make sense because when you look at it, our ancestors used to live in caves. It was a place where no bear can get you – you were home, you were safe. Besides, it's proven, though I don't know to what extent, it's a theory, that many instances of such behaviour have been genetically transferred to us. Right? We don't really understand them today, nowadays they are useless, for example, women are afraid of spiders, long ago they had to pick berries in the woods and had to be careful about such things... And who knows, maybe our ancestor lived in the caves, but maybe not for all of us because not everybody likes caves. So it could also be such an element. With this womb – I think it's a good analogy, and nice imagery, but I don't know if there is really anything in common.
(4.40) There are many plans. Two years ago I found the deepest cave of the British Islands, Pollatoomary, at 103 metres – it still continues. I needed some time, these two years, to get ready. There are such tight parts that you have to get rid of most equipment and push yourself through 30-centimetre crevices , under water, at 30 metres and further on it doesn't get any better. Visibility is similar. That's why I needed some time to prepare myself. I'm going back there this year. One expedition to Spain with my friend, Chris Jewell, another one to Italy – a similar system with a similar visibility, but there are 20 kolimetres unexplored as yet, waiting... A river disappearing under water in Slovenia and appearing again in Italy... We'll see. And next year I hope for the expedition to J2 with Bill Stone, to Mexico, in search for the deepest cave in the world.
(5.42) The very name of this traverse, Riders on the Storm, the very meaning of it... People may think it's about riders, but... they are sort of carried by the storm. It was supposed to be an allegory of the storm that life is, but this is also the origin of my tactics... Just like most skin-divers wait for dry weather to have better visibility and better, safer conditions, there never used to be better weather here and even if there was, it never changed anything for the visibility. I understood that in fact stronger current is helping me when I can’t see anything., I don't know where the continuation is, in which direction I have to swim, and in this way the water itself is showing me the way, so I tried to use it to my benefit. And the floods there are really disastrous … like the one last year because the cave system is still active... it's the main system that drains the water from this part of Ireland. The caves form a natural reservoir that collects the water supply. For various reasons they cannot fulfill this task at the moment and everything is flooded... Trees are pushed inside, the lines are destroyed... practically after each winter the situation is the same and I have to start from scratch again. It's just that I have it mapped so I know where it's going, so I have two months to go back... to retrieve it. And to try to go further.