Underground Movement: Cave Diving in Jämtland
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IN 1979 WHEN BO LENANDER DIVED into a very small lake in the mountains of Jämtland there was no Wikipedia to describe what he was doing and the “black space” he documented with his analog camera did not reveal its inner secrets.
The black space was forgotten until the summer of 1997 when some intrepid divers attempted to uncover its murky secrets, only to be beaten back by strong currents, leaving the small lake quiet and undisturbed for another ten years.
A new generation of cave diver took up the exploration in 2008. Now able to dive in the winter time, when the currents were more forgiving, they sawed a hole in the thick ice which finally revealed the black space from Bo Lenander’s photo. After relentless digging through the dirt and shifting heavy sands, they finally entered the void.
EVERY SPELEOLOGISTS DREAM is to discover something no one has ever seen before. What the divers in Bjurälven discovered in 2008 is still only partially known – they’re far from the end. What has been revealed though is that Bo’s analog photo from 1979 shows the entrance to what is now Sweden’s biggest under water cave system.
– Why? Well… I think our drive is similar to other explorers’: We want to see something new. And the special thing with cave diving is that we can’t just take a look at Google Earth and get a pretty good idea about what we will find, like climbers and alpinists. We actually have to swim there and take a look. Every meter is… totally new, to everyone. That feeling, where every stroke with your fins brings you into something that no one has seen before, is a magic one.