czech version

Albeřická cave

It's February's Saturday and big white snowflakes keep falling down from the clouds. Wet suits, safety helmets, transport bags, oxygen bottles, flippers, accumulators and lots of other things are heaping up on the snow. Everyone knows this time what is ahead of them and so also strong halogen lights have been added to the equipment to illuminate turbid water. The underground labyrinth of the flooded corridors has been explored from the both sides, but the connections between the two underground lakes has never been prooved. But we could tell from the years of experience and observation of the water level oscillation, that the both lakes are connected. But where?

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We decided to bet everything on one card. The scuba diver will squeeze through the strait in Terminal Lake, where he will of course whirl up the mud. But he won't come back as usual and won't wait for the mud to settle again. Instead he will swim "blindly" pulling a rope behind him and will try to find the rope which was taken there from the lake in Marble Abyss and find his way out there. If he doesn't manage, he would come back and another scuba diver will help him get through the narrow passage.

It was decided upon Jirka and he soon disappeared in the bluegreen depth. All the others move to the bottom of the Marble Abyss , where Jirka should come to the surface in twenty minutes, should he of course find the rope.

After turning the lights off we wait in absolute darkness. Only for a moment someone throws his light on the watch. We're trying to catch even slight flashes of light deep in the water. But in vain. It is neverending. We're on the racks after ten minutes and very very nervous after fifteen. It is not dark anymore, Vláďa throws dimmed light on his watch and studies the second hand. Eighteen minutes gone - he puts his mask on and checks the equipment, he will have to go and help Jirka in two minutes.

We're counting the seconds, Vláďa is ready to jump in, the third scuba diver is getting ready just in case. Suddenly a light reflection flashes somewhere in the water exactly 10 seconds before the dead line and cluster of bubbles comes up at the same time. And then we are able to see the beam of double lights as they are cutting through the blue-green water from the 19 meter depth. Jirka doesn't need to rush anymore. He realises we know about him thanks to the bubbles and the light and anyway, he needs to decompress first.

So the passage from the Terminal Lake at the end of Albeřická Cave into the Marble Abyss was successfull, but survey doesn't end. The flooded corridors in the depths of 17 - 19 meters lead to the north, in the direction of Poland….

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Albeřická Cave is the longest cave in the National Park of Krkonoše with the length of all its corridors and spaces reaching 250 m. You can try to imagine it with the help of the simple cut-through map. The cave is developed in a narrow strip of metamorphosed limestone - marble crystallinicum of Rýchory. The entrance was discovered while the limestone was being gained sometime in 1887, but the grotto wasn't explored in detail. Probably only a part of the middle floor was inspected. Methodical survey has been in process roughly from 1968 and four floors have been mapped to this day. The middle floor is the most monumental and it is here where you can find partly colapsed domes connected with short corridors. The top floor is made of narrow chimneys and low crawling tunnels connected with the only dome on this floor. The blue-green about 20 meters deep underground lakes are on the third floor. These are connected with the permanently flooded fourth floor. The fourth floor is also the least explored one.

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In some places the cave has poor, almost dead sinter decoration, the live forms of sinters are only in the west part of the grotto, which is only accessible with extreme difficulties. Stalactites and stalagnates reach the maximum length of 25 cm, stalagmites are very rare and only few cm tall.

In the winter, when the entrance parts are amply decorated with ice, the grotto changes into the hibernation spot for bats. The most common ones are: Daubenton's Bat (Myotis daubentoni ), Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) and Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros).

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