Text Bogdana Vashchenko | Photo Viktor Lyagushkin

The Blue Lake is a beautiful karst spring, which is located in Kabardino-Balkaria in the Caucasus mountains in the South of Russia. At 235 metres in length, 130 metres wide and 258 metres deep, the Blue Lake is currently considered to be the second largest karst source in the world.

Its sheer size is not the only reason to consider this lake a unique natural object. With the water temperature of approximately 9°C from the bottom to the surface, it offers excellent conditions for the preservation of artefacts. The lake offers enormous potential for discovering a host of historically significant objects on the bottom.

Martin Robson, deep diver, cave explorer and recordbreaker, joined the expedition to this lake to do a series of deep dives and with equipment like a 3D scanner, robots and a special detachment from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, attempted a dive to the bottom at 258 metres with the aim of photographing and recovering historically significant artefacts.

Martin prepares his rebreather for the dive

This was set to be the deepest photographic shoot in the world – at at least 200 metres – made with a camera in an exclusive housing provided by the Subal company.

Martin also attempted a series of deep dives to locate the cave system and source of the spring leading to the exploration of the deepest underwater cave system in the world.

This is the story of this expedition, straight out of the Kabardino-Balkaria region and a two-hour drive to find a connection. Asian Diver is the first to publish a snapshot of this journey…

Igor's mission to hammer in an anchor for technical and safety aspects

To the South of Russia, there are Caucasian peaks shining white. Squinting, you will recognise sheer rocks and White Mountains. People who live here did not see the horizon for several thousands of years. For them, the distance does not matter. The only important thing is the concept of the vertical.

In their fairytales, a hero shoots an arrow to the sun, the first people come from the sky and the way to get beyond the grave is through the well on the edge of the village. Their heroes never go to unknown lands; their every waking moment filled with conquering mountains or descending hills.

Here, according to the beliefs of these people, there is unreachable sky over their heads and a bottomless lake beneath their feet – the Blue Lake.

An Expedition to the Blue Lake, January 2012

The newest of technologies gave us an opportunity to measure the depth and define the origins of the lake. What we can say in the most simple of terms is that it is really very deep. Its depth is about 260 metres, making it the second deepest karst lake in the world. Its waters are crystal clear and constantly cold. The temperature of the water in the lake is a steady 9°C. What was also discovered is that there is a river coming out of the lake and no spring coming in.

Strange formations inside and outside the lake; here, ice at a nearby waterfall

According to scientists, there is an underwater cave or caves in the lake where the water comes in from. But where the caves are located at exactly can only be imagined. The exploration of the lake by echo locators and robots was not successful – the information gathered was not good enough and data condition for the task assigned to these technologies was grossly insufficient.

For the rest of this article (Asian Diver 2012 Issue 1 No 118) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download a digital copy here.

The 25th anniversary of the largest and longest running dive show, Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) is set to occur on the 11-14th April 2019 in Singapore. Centred on the theme – Plastic free Future, ADEX is more than just a dive show with its commitment to the environment. Among an exciting lineup of programs, attendees can look forward to a Future Forward Series of Panel Discussion on the Single-Use Plastic Conundrum in Asia, on 13th April.

So join us at the event, get inspired and for all you know, you might just liberate the inner diver in you! More details of the event here

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