FRANCE | GREECE | ITALY | NORWAY | PORTUGAL
COMBE NEGRE | FONT DEL TRUFFE | LA FINOU | LANDENOUSE | MARCHEPIED | POU MEYSSEN | RESSEL | ST. GEORGES
A small sidemount cave that requires a bit of work to get to. Combe Negre is located on the Dordogne River in a limestone wall. When the river level is average you must carry your equipment from the parking area under the bridge to the entrance. Once at the entrance you carry the equipment inside the cave, which is typically dry at this point. Once you are about 30 meters/yards or so inside you will come to some water. At this point you can secure your cylinders to your harness and begin crawling in the water until it is deep enough to begin swimming. The passage quickly gets deep enough so that you can fully submerge and begin your actual dive.
Sounds like a bit of work? Well, it is! But it is also very well worth it. The cave is beautiful, as you can see by the photos and video below. Much of the passage is large enough that sidemount isn’t required through it. However, you will encounter some restrictions that do require sidemount and may even require cylinder removal. There is one such passage shortly before you reach sump 1. The main, lined passage, is such that if the water level is on the low side, you will have to remove both cylinders to squeeze through with your head above the surface. There is a small sidemount passage on the floor that bypasses this but it is not lined and may require one cylinder to be pushed ahead of you.
FONT DEL TRUFFE
This is a cave with the entrance off the side of a road near L’Oussye River. Part of the fun of diving his cave is getting to it. The dirt road leading to Truffe runs through the center of someone’s house! The house was built over and around the single lane road. Drive slowly because the door to the house is right on the road and you will have very little space between the sides of your vehicle and the house.
Once at Truffe you will park off the road across from it. If there are already other divers there you may want to consider diving elsewhere. The cave can handle one team easily. Two good teams would also work. Three teams is definitely too many.
The entrance may look like a large puddle on the side of the road. There is a small opening at the bottom of the wall. The passages here are beautiful. It’s a shallow system but the passage constantly changes in depth by 2-3 meters/5-10 feet. If you’re diving a rebreather be prepared to be miserable because you will have to constantly be releasing air and refilling the counterlungs. It’s a much easier cave to dive on open circuit.
When you get to the first sump take some time to explore but breathe mainly from your cylinders as the air in the chamber is not of the best oxygen content.
La Finou is located in the small town of Montvalent on private property. Permission from the landowner is necessary to gain access. If you are able to receive permission, you then have the task of getting close to the entrance. The road is narrow and steep. You will have to park just off the road and then carry your gear about 200 meters/yards down a hill and alongside a farm field to get to the entrance. The entrance is hidden away among some growth and is not very large. There is a stream that leads off from it alongside the field.
Use care to set up your gear once in the water so as to not stir up the bottom too much and disturb the visibility in the opening. Once you are geared up head into the opening. The passage drops down to about 30 meters/100 feet and then back up to the surface, much like the letter V. The bottom of the V is a low passage that is better traversed in sidemount. It should take less than 20 minutes to get to the first sump. At this point, you remove your cylinders and begin exploring the dry portion of the cave. This is a very long portion through which you will have to climb over some boulders and swim on the surface in some areas. The air in this chamber is safe to breathe. It is very beautiful, though, and well worth the effort.
ARKADIAN | KEFALOVRISO | SINJI | VOULIAGMENI
LITJAGA | PLURA
ALMONDA | PENA