Fontain de St Georges was one of what I was expecting as a “typical” Lot cave – large tunnels with dark and slightly milky water. The vis was average at the beginning but cleared up as we progressed down the tunnel. From the large entrance pool it heads straight down to 30m depth before getting larger, clearer and gently sloping up.
With Ken off to Tolouse to fetch Forrest and Tom packing up for his trip home to Germany, I only had three models in the water. This made handling the murky water in the larger tunnel easier, as I could get the divers closer to the camera without cutting anyone out. I particularly like the first shot here for the combination of the reflective air bubbles in the ceiling and the clearcut rock formations on the floor.
With fewer divers I have two strobes on Joachim on the left (although only one has gone off), a strobe on each of Duncan’s sidemounts in the middle, and the one very large Hugyfot strobe which Georg is holding on the right. The extra light in the water gives a great glowing halo effect while the on camera light just manages to bring out the shapes of the walls without creating too much backscatter. This shot is uncropped and apart from increasing the exposure and contrast slightly, very nearly unedited.
After what seemed like a short swim we came to an intersection and took the line heading straight up. The offshoot line is short and tethered to a floating bottle on the surface, handy for changing water levels. The air chamber here is massive, extending high overhead into dark distance you can see in the second shot. As we’d entered the cave in an open pool rather than underground it was interesting to think that we’d swam along into a mountain rather than under open ground.
On the far side of the chamber a small tunnel continues. Georg mentioned that the vis in here is usually poor as there is minimal to no flow. We must have been lucky with recent visiting divers turning at the air chamber, as the smaller space was clear. Joachim waited for us in the air chamber while we went for a quick look on the line that ran straight across under the air chamber and into the next tunnel. Smaller and shallower than the initial part of the cave, this area was also more varied with small boulder piles to break up the tunnel floor.
I really enjoyed this dive, possibly because of the surprise of the massive air chamber on the inside. The previous week’s diving had seen some smaller air spaces between sumps but nothing like the cavernous space in St Georges. Better than average vis was nice, and enthusiastic photo models make every dive fun.
For more photos of the French caves, see my other articles here.