OLD STORY: Ginzi Digging Expedition Ili Kak Schupihme Vodomera 11-13 Oct 1997

In Saturday, "early" in the morning 8.00 a.m. the group met at the last bus-310 station in Lulin, Sofia. For some it was 8.00 a.m for me it was 8.30 as usually... The group was with 3 cars but we were only 10 people there and decide to leave one car. We were: Tzetzo, Krasi - Batmana, Eleonora, Mitko, Svilen, Valio, Eli, Kiro, Meto and me.

The wheather seems bad, especially for such 5-class mud-and-rock road from Ginzi village to the digging area. Being a just-a-little new driver it was for me really interstring to drive my car on this trip. I give my respect to the others who help me and direct me in my driving. I had the feeling that i wasn't the only driver in the car and that all others drive my car also. The first possible accident was after 10 minutes after we go, when I just want too fast to go on the main road. The drivers involved just take their heads in the hands and began to "abe da se krustiat". Hahahahah.

When we arrived in Ginzi, 60 km north-west from Sofia, we visited Batmana's grandmother who lives there. We had a little task from her - to pick the apples around her house. Our brigade was really powerfull, and in 1 hour we were ready with 3 trees ;))). Began to rain then.

Soon enough we were on the 5-class road to the our digging area there. The place we work in Ginzi Karst Area is located near 2 caves: Goliamata Balabanova (4500 m.) and Malkata Balabanova (1000, -120 m.). They are located 10 km west from Ginzi, near the national border with Yougoslavia. This area is wild and remote enough. The caves are located on 1300 m. altitude. We work near to these two caves and suspect that there exists a major cave. There are such possibilities, as the underground rivers and known springs tell just this. Also on the surface, on the digging place we found 5 entrances of possible new caves that severe blow cold air. We dig there since 3 years, but the cave slits are extremely narrow and in two of the entrances we enter just 10 meters after enormous dig work. Our aim now was to continue digging and enter in a entrance that we found 2 years ago. In our previous visit we saw that under a 5 meters high stone crash there is 5 meters deep pit that enter in solid stone. But after a big stone crash all the entrance was closed again, and this crash almost cost our life... Now we were with big plans and almost all-possible instruments for digging. I don't mean explosives, cause we are still "ethical diggers". Driving on this 5-class road was a good exercise for my new driver capabilities but anyway in the middle of the rain we got to the campsite, but still remain in the cars, because of the big rain. In 2 hours the rain stop and we established the camp. Five tents, fire, fresh air ..., blowing new cave entrances. The darkness came as a new wave from rain flow. It was evident - no digging this evening. Later, the rain stop again and we made a big eating, with a lot food-on-fire. The next was a cold night... and deeps "hurkania" “snoring”for some, just the others sing until tomorrow.

In the morning we eat, and fast prepare ourselves for the big digging. The hole, 150 m far from the campsite, in the main valley, seems like an empty volcano. It was deep about 4 meters and 3 meters wide. There was boulder crash there in out previous dig, and the 5 m. pit was closed. Of course we put some branches under the crash to prevent filling of the hole with stones, boulders and dirt. The first thing to do was to enlarge the width of the pit, and to support its walls. We work about 3 hours to do it. The rest of the group, wake up at this time and Krasi, Mitko, Eli and Svilen came in Goliamata Balabanova Cave. Arround noon we begin to dig in depth. Together with Kiro, Valio, Meto and Eli we dig and dig like robots. After 4 hours we came to the branches and special rocks we put in the hole to prevent its filling in our previous trip. Almost in the same moment the pit was open, and two very small black windows opened. Then we suspect that a big boulder on the side of the hole is not so well fixed and we decide to pull it out. But... it was too large. Then again begin to raining and we made a little rest under the trees near to a small fire prepare for us from Eli. Kiro ofcourse want to dig more and more and until we rest he dig in an other hole... When we relaxed the boulder, he falls on the new branches we put in the hole, we just gaze at each other. We tie the boulder with iron ropes (suitable for such boulder digging/pulling out), but even after Ceco join our digging party, we have no chance to pull out the rock. The problems were that the rock fit on some 5 meters deep hole and we had to pull it out vertically. It was possible only if we made a complex installation, include rollers, etc, cause the hole was 4 meters in diameter. We tried some schemes, but no way. In the end we try to pull out the rock with two forces from different directions and somehow success to pull out the rock 3 meters from the bottom on a small ledge from the main rock-layer. And there all our hopes ended... The rock almost in the air, supported only from a branch... no way up. And then the others of the party came back from the cave and all group together begin to think for some good scheme. We tried to help ourselves with the use of a tree to pull out vertically the stone, but it crash. And after this, somehow with the help of all 10 people we success to move the rock and to pull it out. The dawn was coming. Fast enough we begin to open the hole from dirt and small stones. In the end all the entrances opened, but what we see wasn't too good on the first look and also on the third... 5 meters under the surface there was a small hole leading almost vertically for some other 5 or more meters. But the down-hole was exact size for man to enter. But the one side of the all hole was movable - all kinds of big stones, and rock, dirt. It was almost dark when we came out from the hole, just to rest a little and to think what to do. It was too risky someone to enter there, but we have no other choice. We couldn't continue to dig in depth, cause we had to dig all mountain in this case. Ceco say, 'ok I'll enter'. There is a big smile on his face. It says: 'Why not'? I decided before anyone to try to enter in the hole to check again the situation, and somewhere in my mind there is a decision to try it first, cause ever I feel responsible for people I'm with. I put my helmet, tie my pieces of broken clothes and enter in the hole. It seems bad - like a good and enough deep grave. But the black hole lead to the unknown, an unknown that could be everything, an unknown for which we hope and risk, an unknown that we dreamed in the big city... I entered in the hole and after 4 meters in depth reach the opening. There, to my mind, like train, come across again and again the question: yes or no, yes or no? There were big stones and dirt all around me. But the black hole was there. I asked the others to give me a rope, and very slowly begin to enter in the hole. On my back I feel how the rocks and dirt move and tried to be calm. The hole was exact size for man to enter. Slowly I come in and come in, looking above me at the hanged stones. My heart was in my mouth and what I feel was pure fear. In about 5 "virgin" meters vertically in depth I feel that the hole going narrow, but I was sure it was narrow from the dirt and rocks that were fallen in the hole from the surface. I had to dig this place with my feet and I began. I couldn see what I did, but feel that the narrow place become more and more suitable for my body to enter. I feel that all my body pulse from fear. I heard that dirt and rocks that I kick with my feet rolling down and supposed and hoped that there were somehow more space than into my place. When I feel with tips of my feet that there is enough space to enter I tried. Other 3 meters in depth and quickly come in a small cave hall in a solid rock. It was about 3 meters high, 3 meters wide and 4 meters long. I begin to tell and cry to the others on the surface what I see, and what were the hopes. I was in a sure place although if a stone crash occurred in the vertical drop from which I came, probably it would cost more than several days for the surface party to dig me out. I was afraid to look what there is after the small hall. But there was a cave gallery after it, and I quickly came in it. There was a fine sand on the bottom of the gallery and it was evident that in the high waters here flow a small river. But after 20 meters the gallery went more and more narrow and it ended in a very narrow slit, from which blows like hell. It was impossible to dig there. There the cave ended. Slowly I came back in the small hall thinking for my way back to the surface. It was more easy to come in than to come out, cause I had to climb vertically with the help of the rope, with minimal touch of the "walls". I was longing for the surface. I begun to come out. It was difficult but centimeter after centimeter I go more and more close to the surface and finally I was out. Outside was the world and down in the hole we were discovered a secret, we touched the unknown and learn that we have to work more hard than ever to enter in the major new cave over there of which existence we are more than sure. I told to the others what I seen. If there was something or not, doesn't really matter, we had to check.

We back in the camp site, eat and after, a big rain began to fall. And then began a really big storm. Almost all night it rains heavily and flashes fall all around. One of our tents was destroyed and Valio and Eli go to the cars to sleep there. It was impossible to sleep, but it was preferable to close the eyes, cause a big fear comes with open eyes. Somewhere at 2.00 in the night there were a little rest in the storm, and a small group - Kiro, Zezo and Mitko go to see what become with our new hole. The river outside was big enough. When they returned, they reported that almost all river comes in our new hole - they just redirected the river. Then the storm continues.

In the morning the rain stop and our camp site seem like after battle. We had to came back in the city, cause we were at work, but before we were curious to see what happens with the river. We went to the new hole and what to see - there is a small lake in the entrance. It seems that all the hole was filled with water, cause the slit in the end of the cave was too narrow. Just a second after we had another thought, what if we put the river in our next hole, 20 meters far from this one? After 20 minutes a big river come in our next hole and vanishes there. We were digging in this hole since 3 years and now were almost sure that this will be our next aim in our next dig. We wait about an hour and the river just vanished. May be there are no narrow places in this hole, or rather the narrow place is far enough from the entrance... Who knows, but we will check for sure.

We head to our way back. Again in the cars, but I suppose to Valio to drive my car, it was too muddy for me. After a big "Extreme Trophy" we were back in Sofia. It was 11 o'clock, we have to go at work...