An incredible new cave has been discovered by members of the Speleology Society Špiljar from Split. The cave, which has not been explored by human beings for hundreds of years, if ever, was found above the village of Dugobabe, about 30 kilometres from Croatia's second city, Split.
The team from Speleology Society Špiljar included well-known cave explorer Tonći Rađa, who has travelled internationally on many previous adventures, exploring caves and cataloguing the rarely-seen life that exists within them. They were taken to an already known cave in the area by a local guide. After surfacing, the guide told the group that he knew of another cave nearby which neither he nor anyone else had yet descended into. The group decided to go and take a look.
After dropping a stone in the cave to test its depth, the explorers became excited. One of Tonći Rađa's colleagues descended first and when she did not report back for many minutes, they realised they were onto a substantial discovery and Rađa followed her through the narrow entry point into the cave. Inside, they found a cave of some hundred metres in length. It was filled with pristine and perfectly preserved stalactites and stalagmites, some as large as four metres wide and four metres high, which have formed over tens of thousands of years.
The cave is completely dark and contains small pools of crystal clear drinking water. In his 45-year career doing speleology, Rađa has entered thousands of caves all over the world, yet he easily places this new find in the top five he has ever visited. New discoveries such as this are extremely rare, not only because many have already been found, but also because there are now much fewer people, such as shepherds, working in the terrain, who have knowledge of and who can guide people to such sites.
Members of Speleology Society Špiljar
There are several mountainous regions in Croatia which are utilised for sporting activities, and many caves which exist within them have been explored by speleologists such as Tonći Rađa. The hobbyist side of such exploration is known as Spelunking or Caving and Speleology Society Špiljar from Split is just one of the many groups in Croatia who expertly guide the curious around such fascinating natural sites.
All photos © Speleology Society Špiljar and Tonći Rađa