Lura-Seponik expedition in Eastern Albania

Successful completion of the Lura-Seponik expedition in Eastern Albania
July 25, 2008

"The latest Bulgarian cave expedition in Albania ended successfully. Between June 12 and June 19 a team of six members of speleological club “Helictit” – Konstantin Stoichkov, Veselin Drobenov, Dimitar Dishovski, Ivo Buserski, Trifon Vasilev and Pavel Tsonkov – explored and surveyed two caves in the Eastern region of the Lura Mountain in Eastern Albania. The expeditionary camp was set near a small hydroelectric power-station close to the mountain village of Arras. Thanks to Kuites Haka and the strong support of the local people, cave exploration started according to plan. The emphasis was on the Seponik spring cave, partially explored by club members in 2004. For the duration of the activity a precise map of the cave was created, and cave fauna was gathered by Veselin Drobenov. Our preliminary expectations were confirmed – Seponik turned out to be a rather voluminous, ascending cave. The endmost ascending parts have abundant silt deposits, and some of the caverns contained ext
remely beautiful formations, including helictites. For the time being, the cave’s length is 240 m with a positive denivelation of +50 m. After several attempts to find an extension in the water, one was found on the last day of the expedition. It was traced through by Trifon Vasilev, aided by Ivo Buserski. Due to the technical difficulties of transporting a perforating machine through two semi-siphons (a parapet had to be placed over the water) an end of the cave in the water was not reached; the question of how big is Seponik will receive its answer only after a new visit. Next time we should be better prepared. For the rest of the expedition’s duration, a short cave near the camp was mapped – the Losh Nesh spring cave, in which a lake siphon near the 60-th meter blocks unhindered entry into the bowels of the mountain. The aforementioned caves drain two different massifs of significant size and altitude. Three of the expedition members succeeded in entering about a kilomete
r deep into the Seta river canyon, separating the two massifs. In the high parts of the canyon we noticed cave entrances, the exploration of which is still pending. Two interesting pit-caves located in the highlands of the mountains, were left for next time, despite the data available for one of them from our previous coming – the Rusit pit-cave, known to be over 100 m deep. Its exploration requires establishing a secondary campsite and more time for mapping and possible extending to the deep parts. In literally the last hour before our departure the local people told us about another pit-cave, located above Seponik, as well as for a pit-cave at about 3 hours from the village. It is worth noting that the completed expedition was one of the few in Albania, not marked with transportation vehicle problems. It is also our pleasure to say that our club continues to consolidate it position, together with the Studenets club from Pleven, as a leader in the exploration of Albanian ca
ves. This most certainly will not be our last visit to this promising cave region, situated at about 450 km from Sofia."

Photos of the expedition: http://www.helictit.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=10443

Konstantin Stoichkov

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