The story began in 2001 when Leigh Cunningham and Thomas Chabanne discovered some deep caves in the Jackfish Alley area of Ras Mohamed. Having completed rigorous cave training in Mexico earlier this year, the dynamic duo returned with a complete team of technical cave divers to continue their exploration. Leigh teamed up with TDI Instructor Gennadiy Fursov as the primary exploration team.
The project took place 23-26 June 2007 and covered the full exploration of 2 caves with the purpose of finding out if there may be a passable route between them or any connection to the other caves.
4 days of exploration resulted in a complete grade 3 survey of the shallower system starting in 65 metres, named The Reapers Lair, and a Grade 2 survey of the explored areas of the deeper system, starting at 85 metres, now known as The Devils Eye – which has been dubbed the Wakullah of the Red Sea.
On the first day 3 groups of divers laid a main guide line in the “shallow” cave (max.depth 90 meters) till the furthest explored point from the cave entrance and started mapping it.
The next day and all the following days the team of Leigh and Gennadiy moved on to exploring the deep cave. 30 minute bottom times were made between 100 – 130 metres, using copious quantities of Open Circuit Trimix supplied by Ocean Tec’s blending station, with in water times ranging from 4 – 5 hours.
After laying 120 metres of guide line extending down to a depth of 130 metres, Leigh and Gennadiy’s torch beams disappeared into a seemingly endless void. The pair realised at this stage that the already large scale project had turned into something gargantuan - to be continued………………..
Maps of the caves and some great photos are here.
The Cave Team
Paul Doozer Close
Technical support team
Gilly Healey - Support logistics coordinator
Suzy Coombs - Support logistics coordinator
Nina Preisner - Deep support
Oxana Istratova - Deep support
Jo Gardner - Shallow and surface support
Kay Stewart - Shallow and surface support
Thomas Chabanne - shallow, deep, surface, video and catheter support
This project was made possible by Ocean Tec and its 12 man team of technical cave divers and support divers.
This is the first time such an extensive cave system has been discovered in the Red Sea area. Its potential for further exploration and the attraction to serious technical cave divers is unlimited. A new era has been born in the world of Red Sea Cave Diving.