Visiting our neighbours again – this time it was Grotta Gualtiero Savi's turn

Beautiful cave in the valley near SLO/ITA border - 2014-04

A mere year and a half ago, we had to set our sights for warmer places due to unexpected weather – to the slopes of the valley Glinščica on the Italian border. Back then, we were keen on caves, which had been stuck at the top of must-see destinations for ages. Due to organizational complications, we crossed off Grotta Martina first, even though it was the third in line, while we added the label 'urgent, ASAP' to Gualtiero Savi. The closest we have been to it was during last year's second meeting of caving photographers, but we were too busy with guided tours of the Slovenian caves. Well, of course, we did not forget about it and so the time came which was deemed the most appropriate for a visit of this kind. This time, everything went as planned and on Saturday, we were already sipping coffee without Italian buddies in Bazovica.

Grotta Gualitero Savi has two entrances and is, with over three kilometers of passages, one of the longest caves of this region. Of course, the major specialty of the cave is the rich decoration, which basically begins only a few meters after the entrance. We were able to discover it after the first surprise, at the passage of chandeliers (Candelabri), where attention to movement is especially advisable. This is due to the fact that there are meter long soda straws hanging off of the wall, while the floor is covered with slim and incredibly sensitive limestone formations.

Well, our plan was not to take photos during movement, but to see the cave up to the hall at the end and photograph it during our return. In the opposite case we probably would not have seen the cave’s ending, as there are too many motives along the way. The most decorated passage is right there at the end, where lovers of macro photography could engage in years of documenting the details. Of course, we were not particularly interested in this, so we looked at them calmly, but we did immortalize the most special parts.

One of the most interesting parts has to be the secret cranny, which you cannot see if you are not looking for it. With the help of our amazing guides, we managed to spot this mystery and in it, there are truly hidden marvels. There was barely enough space between the formations for a large lens and a flash, but Bole and I managed to put together a few usable shots of small and incredibly picturesque flowers. With a pocket camera, you could create a lot of interesting shots here!

We stopped at small distances on our way to the beginning of the cave, though I told myself I should not exaggerate them. For example, just as we were done with a shot and moved a good ten meters to our guides, they were relieved to be done with the tedious waiting, but unfortunately, there was another interesting motive right where they were standing. Of course, I am very grateful for their patience, and I also received their praise for taking so little time for each shot during the pizza we had later. I trusted them to speak the truth, as during their years of taking photographers through caves, they must have seen many marathon shootings.

And there is something else that deserves praise. The cave is considered very delicate due to its decorations, so it is logical that special care is demanded from each visitor. To help you move, there are helpful colorful ribbons in the cave, but it has to be said they ruin the look of it somewhat. Instead of the ribbon, a thin rope could be used, but even in that case, there could be complications. The best way to do it is of course, to be under the careful guidance of the guides, and here, our friends did exceptionally well. They walked with us quietly, observing every step and helped us with kind advice during the unclear parts.

The cave was equipped with colorful ribbons some time ago. But cavers realized that with the addition of the ribbons, the cave lost all of its charm, so they simply removed them. There is only a small rope at the start of the cave, which limits access to the large sediment pools, which were dry at the time of our visit. Allegedly they are full of water and incredibly picturesque after a few days worth of rain, but the water leaks quickly here as well. So, better luck next time when we might also peek into another passage, which we skipped this time around. In it, there is an abundance of decorations in a more narrow meander, similar to those that we saw in the secret cranny. What deterred us from exploring it I do not know, but we were consoled at the sight of the profile of a once active passage, which can be wonderfully observed on the 3D shot.

The main passage is interrupted in places by straits and shorter leaps, which are equipped to eliminate the need for roping technique. Of course, this simplifies moving around the cave somewhat, especially because of all the photo and extra junk, which we usually take with us. Despite that, we wandered around the cave for ten hours, of which at least half were spent for photographing. Due to the late hour we were worried about our food intake, but managed to find a free table in the pizzeria at Divača, where we were also joined by our Italian colleagues.

The people who wandered through the cave were Matej, Mojca, Bole, Janez and the writer of these lines.


Copyright Peter Gedei