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Sintzi Cave Exploration: Polish Divers' Double Success in Greece

Published: May 10, 2024 - 13:04
Updated: May 10, 2024 - 14:09
Sintzi Cave Exploration: Polish Divers’ Double Success in Greece

Polish Divers Achieve Groundbreaking Double Exploration Success in Sintzi, Greece’s Deepest Underwater Cave

The Polish group of cave divers, led by Bartek Pitala, set out during the May holiday to the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece. The expedition’s goal was cave tourism along with exploring and mapping new sections of the Sintzi spring. With its interesting morphology, this extensive cave is also the deepest underwater cave in Greece.

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Located in the mountains at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level, the spring plays an important role in the local ecosystem, serving as a water reservoir that irrigates the surrounding areas during frequent droughts in the region and provides shelter and access to water for various species of small animals.

sintzi greece cave
Bartek Pitala in the Sintzi Cave system

The cave has two exploration fronts. Access to one of them is guarded by an unvanquished restriction at a depth of -95 meters, while the other is a vertical corridor, explored to a depth of -153 meters in 2008, and then to a depth of -186 meters in 2015.

sitzi greece cave
Sintzi Spring Kandila Greece – main branch map by: Bart Pitala

The expedition’s mission was first to pass the terminal restriction at -95 meters, then to explore the corridor beyond it, in an attempt to find a horizontal continuation of the cave in its deepest parts.

Over more than a week of activities in Sintzi, Bartek performed a series of preparatory and acclimatization dives, as well as three exploratory dives. As part of the preparations, many bailout stages were deposited, providing additional security for the Dual CCR system used (bailout CCR Liberty sidemount plus Liberty Backmount), and the guidelines in deeper parts of the cave were also organized and patched up.

sintzi greece
Sintzi Spring Kandila, Greece main branch depth profile
restriction map sintzi
Sintzi Spring Kandela Greece – depth profile restriction

After exploring 100 meters of the corridor protected by the restriction, it was possible to connect it at a depth of -160 meters to a “well,” reaching the deepest parts of the cave. The exploration of these parts revealed the bottom of the well at a depth of -190 meters and a horizontal corridor leading from it. At the bottom of the well, there still lay a reel dropped by a previous explorer. On the last dive, Bartek rigged 150 meters of new corridor. Unfortunately, the corridor continues to slope gently downwards.

Having reached the maximum planned depth of -240 meters, almost simultaneously with the planned decompression time, Bartek ended the exploration, even though the corridor still extends with a spacious cross-section. The dive was carried out according to plan practically to the minute and lasted just over 6 hours, with 7 minutes spent in the newly discovered sections.

seacraft ecn
Main corridor Sintzi cave Greece, ENC3 navigation console Seacraft

Based on the data collected using the Seacraft navigation console, Bartek produced plans and depth profiles of both explored corridors and compiled video documentation, based on which Greek diver Erikos Kranidiotis created a short film, showing the way to the front and the beautiful, newly discovered corridor.

Expedition team:

Agnieszka Strejczyk
Beata Ziemann
Jacek Strejczyk
Michał Rachwalski
Bartek Pitala
Erikos Kranidiotis
Stelios Stamatakis

Legacy and Conservation

Today, the exploration history of Sintzi Cave is a testament to human curiosity and the spirit of exploration. It highlights the importance of technological advancement in expanding the frontiers of knowledge. Additionally, the ongoing exploration efforts have underscored the need for conservation of these unique underwater environments, prompting initiatives for their protection.

The story of Sintzi Cave continues to evolve, with each expedition shedding light on the mysteries lying in the depths of Greece’s most profound underwater cave. It remains a beacon for adventurers and scientists alike, promising more discoveries in the realms beneath the earth’s surface.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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