Ressel 2 seems to be a good back up plan for divers in the Lot when the parking at the Ressel is full of minivans on your arrival. The dive is similar to the Ressel in that it starts in a river, stays shallow for the early parts and then jumps down a deep shaft. However the vis was not as good and the cave walls a bit darker – I can see why this is the number 2 cave in comparison.
After swimming across the river upstream into the gentle current we found a rock or two to sit on and waited for Georg to find the entrance. On descent the murky but warm river water gave way to clearer cave water at what felt like artic temperatures. My Shearwater Petrel informed me that the temperature drop was only 17 degrees to about 13 degrees but it certainly felt like an icy hug from the cave.
I love this first shot of Georg and Duncan descending into the entrance. I’ve slowed my shutter speed to capture the yellow light filtered through the river water behind and the lights on Duncan’s helmet are beaming into the water. Both the strobe on his tanks and the one in Georg’s hand have gone off to light the walls beside them. And you can clearly see the pebbled floor which was one of the most interesting bits of this entrance. While it’s not apparent here, the flow has sorted the small pebbles from the large and the black pebbles (volcanic) from the white (limestone). As I swam into the entrance I admired the blended graduation from large to small and white to black across the entrance restriction.
The tunnel itself is a bit smaller than the deep route of the Ressel or the main tunnel in St Georges. It does have these beautiful rock shapes with a little more silt sitting on them than other caves. It also has silver fish, swimming about in the darkness a long way into the cave and apparently quite confused by our lights. I’m not sure if they were happy fish or unhappy fish but there were quite a few of them who’d taken up the underground life.
The last shot here was a selfie, taken in the river after I surfaced before the others. Reemerging into the tannic river water was the opposite of heading into the cave – like rolling into a warm spa. As Ken said throughout the trip, you go for a cave dive and then you surface and you’re in France. Returning to a shallow river running between limestone hills covered in very green deciduous trees was a pretty good indicator that this wasn’t a Nullarbor trip. France is a beautiful country and I look forward to getting back there one day.
For my other images from the French caves, see the article list here.