This is Russian cosmonaut and CAVES 2014 participant Alexander Misurikin’s account of his experience during the course. This blog entry is accompanied by the final video of CAVES 2014: a debriefing from the team.
A month has passed but I am sure the memories of the two weeks I spent in and under Sardinia will taste as freshly squeezed orange juice – bright, colorful, and sparkling – for a long time.
Though the life of a cosmonaut is bright, it is still possible to remember the happiest and the dullest moments in it – even the Sun has solar flares and dark spots….
In my memory, there are two events that are like powerful solar flares: my 2007/2008 skydiving training and the 2014 cave training.
When I realized that these two events trigger similarly deep feelings in my mind, I was puzzled. I started contemplating: what brings together these two events that are so
different in location, time, goal, and training activities?
The answer came unexpectedly quickly. Obviously, there were two reasons that bring them together. The first one that popped up in my mind was a discovery of a new, parallel, world. Human beings, indeed, can live their entire lives without recognizing the existence of worlds such as “The World of Skydiving” and “The World of Speleology.” The depth of their authenticity and full-scale presence could be proportionate to the immersion into these enigmatic Worlds. I never suspected the underground world was so
dreamlike. My very first encounter with this subterranean universe, the Sa Oche (meaning Voice in Italian) cave, prompted a storm of emotions. The last time I experienced
something like this was during my first advanced aerobatic flight at the lowest altitude.
Later, there were other caves, other magic places. We were climbing up and down, up again…we were sailing over underground lakes… While observing these surreal
landscapes, I remembered some science-fiction movies of our days, “Perhaps, that movie was shot here…and that one there…” Everything was so breathtakingly beautiful…
The caves took my breath away in the same manner skydiving does. These feelings and emotions are unforgettable.
The other reason that bought skydiving and CAVES together was the people involved. For both skydivers and cavers, it was not their job but rather, it was their life. These people are super professionals who do not work for money; they simply cannot live without the sky or caves.
Perhaps because the way they live and work is dangerous and risky these people have beautiful souls. Kindness, openness, calmness, confidence, inner strength, and a sense of humor – this mix of personal qualities made me want to be like them.
Escaping the mundane life into this Enchanted World in the company of enchanting people was a magical gift for me. I will be eternally grateful to them for opening their hearts, helping me discover new worlds, and making me a better person.
CAVES2014 Crew Commander
CAVES 2014 Debriefings. This video and the messages it carries are dedicated to Luigi Mereu, and his passion for speleology and exploration: