Underwater Unknown Caucasus 2019
In the period from August 17 to 23 in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, under the auspices of the Krasnodar branch of the Russian Geographical Society, the first international mountain underwater search expedition in Russia was successfully completed. The aim of the alpine expedition was to detect artifacts from the Great Patriotic War on the bottom of the Khalega lake, where, according to archival data, the Edelweiss mountain division deployed headquarters and built a cableway to lift military cargo to the passes of the Main Caucasian Range. Also in this area, the Nazis shot Soviet mountain shooters captured.
The expedition’s tasks included: casting underwater equipment and other equipment, deploying a base camp at an altitude of 2,874 meters above sea level, assisting scuba divers when diving, visual inspection of the area of work.
The expedition included volunteers from the Kuban, Adygea, Saratov, Ukraine. The government of the KCR, the Black Shark diving club, and the pupils of the military-patriotic club “Cossack Sloboda” at the central heating center of Kurganinsk greatly helped the participants. Ernst Antonov, a member of the Russian Geographical Society who has experience of such high-altitude expeditions, took over the leadership of the expedition.
During two days of intensive diving, carried out by Ernst Antonov and technical diver from Ukraine Sergey Nesvezh, numerous artifacts from the war-shells of the German machine gun MG, large-caliber shells, explosive detonation elements, fragments of cableway mechanisms were discovered. At that time, Cossacks from the military-patriotic club carried out a survey on the shore: at different heights, near the lake, fire cells with artifacts of war were discovered.
On the second day of diving Ernst Antonov discovered fragments of bones, one of which definitely belonged to a person. Due to the fact that bone fragments were found at a depth of 1.7 meters, next to the fired German cartridges, not far from the coast, it is highly likely that it was here that the Soviet mountain shooters were shot. Indirectly, this is indicated by the obelisk nearby, set in the 70s of the last century.
The remains of the warrior were buried next to the military obelisk, the finds were packed and transferred to the museum of the village of Zelenchukskaya, where an inventory of the items found was made and the place of their discovery was indicated on the diagram.
During the expedition, about 30% of the underwater area of Lake Khalega was examined. Unfortunately, weather conditions and opportunities did not allow to continue the survey. In fact, a lot of work was done by the volunteers: in addition to underwater and ground searches, they managed to partially remove the garbage that tourists had left here for years, and to find and fix an amazing underwater microorganism – an ancient species of shrimp that arose even before the dinosaur era. You can read more about Cambrian shrimp here.
This is already the 4th of a series of high-mountain expeditions conducted under the auspices of the Krasnodar branch of the Russian Geographical Society and with the participation of the North Caucasus direction of the Black Shark diving club. During these expeditions, two new diving records were set in Russia, and search and research activities were conducted. These expeditions are technically complex and costly. Further development of this direction will depend not only on the will and ability of volunteers, but also on the assistance of structures interested in implementing exclusive and interesting projects.
Following the results of the expedition, all participants were awarded with certificates of honor from the government of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and the Kuban Cossacks.
Part Two, personal (impressions, emotions, tips)
At the end of the official part of the article, dear readers, I, as having experience in organizing such expeditions, would like to share my observations and advice.
You will get the maximum of positive emotions, unforgettable sensations, get acquainted with the wild animal and plant world, feel like Mowgli or Tarzan … You will feel the beauty of the high mountains of the North Caucasus, dive where no one has dived before you … Receive certificates for work, You will see yourself on a TV screen or on the Internet … Take home a lot of exclusive photos, and in a year you will want to go back to the mountains.
Russia’s first international mountain-underwater search expedition.
What is the catch? The fact is that the organization of high-altitude underwater expeditions is a troublesome and thankless task. At least I did not manage to become a talented manager. It turns out to close the expedition to zero or, more often, to minus for yourself …