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ESP / Explorers

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Author: Alfred Minnaar

What does it mean to be an explorer?

Exhausted, frustrated, tired, injured, scared, overwhelmed, excited, proud, satisfied, fulfilled, happy, stoked, mind blown, grateful, ecstatic!

Cave diving instructors and explorers Skanda Cofield i Jake Bulman.
Author: Alfred Minnaar

Exploration may be immensely challenging. Sometimes it's staying for weeks without even minimal comfort; it's hard work and facing risks. And all with uncertain rewards.

Could you be an explorer?

Do you have what it takes?

→ Dedication
I do this because, on most days, underwater research, photography, and exploration are the first things I think about when I wake up and the last things I think about before I go to sleep. I'm just not happy if they're not a central part of my life.
→ Curiosity
Exploration is the first step in scientific investigations. We must know that a place exists before we can study it.
→ Focus
When I enter the water to push a line far away in a cave, I love how my mind becomes so peaceful, and at the same time how my brain analyses all the surrounding environment to understand the cave.
→ Perseverance
In almost every exploration project, there comes a moment when disappointment prevails over excitement, and fatigue starts to dominate over willpower. In such a moment, perseverance is what marks the line between success and failure.
→ Experience
When you understand the difficulty in taking data underground and underwater, you understand just how little we have uncovered about the earth's natural history and our own, and you become more eager to go further than ever before…

What is to be an explorer?

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Preparations for diving during the Bahia Expedition project in Brazil.

Exploring the underwater realm is conquering the unknown. More often, you come home empty-handed after having invested all your time, money, effort, and emotion.

However, all it takes is one epic discovery, and suddenly all the pain, suffering, and disappointments are instantly forgotten, and the only feeling that remains is victory.

For every incredible mind-blowing cave we found, we've checked tens of places that didn't go at all, every one of which still demanded the same effort and commitment.

Phillip Lehman, Cave Explorer, CCR Cave Trimix Diver

You don't become an explorer just like that. Whilst cave and technical diving is serious, adding uncertainty and remote location multiply the complexity.

What is sometimes a single post on Facebook, often hide not only countless hours of work and commitment, but years of training and gathering experience.

Rodrigo Severo, Cave Explorer
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Patrick Widmann diving down a deepcrevice in Diblândia line,
Lapa Doce cave, Brazil. 64m depth.
Author: Phillip Lehman

It's impossible to put into words how you feel when you're the first person to discover and map a new part of the planet. Especially when it's as awe-inspiring as an underwater cave. The emotions you experience are beyond description.

The thing about cave diving is that you can never really say the job is finished. Unlike mountain climbing, there is no peak or summit to reach in a cave. This means that the allure of exploring and discovering what else is hidden inside remains a constant and fascinating challenge.

Patrick Widmann, CCR Cave Instructor Evaluator, Cave Explorer

How to apply?

Share your vision with us. We want to support adventures, explorations, and projects that deepen the understanding of the underwater world.