ALVIELA – September 2009 Expedition

By Ricardo Constantino

The Alviela Team, with the support of SPE (, got together for four days in September for another expedition project in the Alviela cave system in Portugal. Some of the usual faces showed up again, but also some new ones—Gloria Dossi and Sergio Murgia, both from Italy, joined the project for the first time.

The team’s primary objective for this meeting was to survey the line in tunnels F/G/H and prepare the cave (line) for exploration and detailed surveys for 2010. We also had accomplished photographers in the team so we wanted to take some nice photos to show our wives back home.

The survey team (Luca, Miquel, and Ricardo) did four survey dives in the 40m/130ft to 60m/200ft depth range, with bottom times of around 80 min., and supported by Delfim, Palmira, and Domingos. All the divers participated in the setup (dropping deco bottles) and helped the surface crew to transport the gear to and from the water.

Lodovico assembled around him an enthusiastic photography team with Gloria, Sergio, and Claudio; the results speak for themselves! This is the first time that such high-quality images have ever been taken of Alviela. Congratulations for the great effort, especially as the conditions started to deteriorate towards the last days.

Again, and as always, special mention and acknowledgement goes out to the surface support team led by Nuno: Duarte, Gonçalo, Rui, and Miguel. Nice to see that most of these gents have already signed up for a cave class in early 2010, I hope that they are not doing it just to get off their surface duties.

The team surveyed a total of 216m/710ft of line, removed many hundreds of meters of old lines that were still hanging around these passages, and laid new line down to -64m/ 210ft. It was also interesting to experience the 3ºC (6ºF) difference in water temperature between the H tunnel (20ºC) and the rest of the cave (17ºC).

Overall great accomplishments from the team, with solid results to allow a good continuation come next April. We hope to employ some new tools in Alviela during the next expedition and will report back on those results mid-2010.

Background info on the Alviela Team here: Quest Spring 2009 – No 10.2.
Full expedition reports here:


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