02 December 2008

What I did at the 2nd BSRC - IV - Tuesday

Tuesday 17 June - excursion to Sidhidrokastro

On Tuesday, we made the excursion to the home town of the Mavros Brakhos - Black Rock - Caving Club. This excursion was very much anticipated by the Greek cavers and the number of people coming for the excursion was such that one coach was not enough to transport everyone. In this way, most of the Greek cavers found ourselves with Balkan guests in our cars - something which greatly helped in the "getting to know eachother" department. The coach pulled out in front, setting off for Sidhirokastro and behind it a large caravan of cavers cars followed.

The plan said: Cave of Zesta Nera (hot waters) - a through trip cave of about 400m with a waterfall at the exit and rather rare travertine formations; a visit to an archaeological site and to the Palaeontological Museum of Thermopighi as well as a meal.

Coach full of cavers!

When we reached the cave of Zesta Nera (named for the hot waters which flow through it at 23 degrees centigrade), we prepared ourselves, put on our wetsuits and booties and entered the cave - which is home to a large colony of bats. The bats woke up and filled the cave with their flapping, and at the same time a large log at the upstream entrance was displaced, releasing a torrent of rubbish that had been thrown into the cave entrance in the past. To say that all this made a bad impression on our guests may be an understatement - the cave is now affectionately known as the "Cave with shit". Despite the foul smelling and unexpected problem, everyone left the area with a more definite picture of why cave protection is so important. The upstream entrance served as a dumping ground for rubbish (unknown to the local authorities), thereby polluting the waters flowing through the cave.

Down-stream entrance to the Zesta Nera Cave!

SELAS cavers preparing to enter Zesta Nera

Kostas from SELAS "chasing" the bats

Brief video from Zesta Nera

After the cave and a filling meal offered to us by the Mavros Brachos caving club, we went to the palaeontological museum of Thermopighi, which houses fossils from many geological periods. The Cenozoic mammals steal the show.

SELAS Cavers in the Palaeontological Musum of Thermopighi

Why so long in the tooth? Hipparion fossil in the museum!

The SELAS cavers (Erato, Annika and myself) returned independently of the coach and visited the Mosque (Camii) of Serres, which is in rather bad shape but very interesting indeed - not only architecturally, but also because of the interesting wall paintings still visible inside.

Erato - urban exploration!

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