—Diving in the French river Rhône with European catfish
The Rhône is a large French river, which is 545km long. It flows from the Alps, across Lake Geneva and joins the Mediterranean Sea. Cloudy in appearance, as if to preserve her secrets, it is difficult to have strong views about this type of river
There are places in the world where time seems to stand still, where you will find contemporary witnesses of events that can take your breath away. I visited just such a place more than 100 meters deep in a French lake—Lac du Bourget. Here, for more than 70 years, rests a Focke-Wulf Fw 58C—a German WWII airplane. This particular aircraft is one of the last of its kind that exist in the world.
If you are in Europe and like the idea of a short flight to Southern France and diving on the same day you arrive in the Mediterranean, then perhaps you may want to try the seaside resort town of Golfe-Juan—just a short ride west from Nice. Average journey time to Nice for flights from all over Europe is only two hours. My wife, Lesley, and I chose to fly EasyJet from Edinburgh.
Coming full circle. It all started in the Med. It was here in the 1930’s and 40’s that the likes of Hans Hass, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frederic Dumas and Phillip Tailliez pioneered scuba diving as we came to know it. Erstwhile the obvious choice for dive travelers once the Red Sea and even more exotic destinations became accessible to a wider audience, it fell somewhat out of favor.
Years of preparation finally paid off on 3 August 2013 when the first Belgian cave diving team reached deeper territory in Ressel Cave in Lot, France. This underwater cave—located in the heart of French cave diving paradise—is known to be one of the more engaging, difficult and technical cave dives. The expedition was an exploratory dive of several hours, with all its complications in logistics and difficulties.
Paris. City of lights, but of shadows, too. The capital has become a sought-out place for urban exploration. With walks across roofs, through the subways and the sewers and the ancient quarries known as the “Catacombs”. Diving in this underground network allows access to hidden rooms and galleries. The most ancient ones were built during the 17th century.
How to master the complexities of extensive explorations of underwater caves and other overhead environments. Distance of 700 meters from the entrance to the end point. The depth of 164 meters at the beginning of the actual exploration and 186 meters at the end. Duration of the dive, which including deco stops, required a run time 9 hours and 46 minutes submersed.