Carla. Credits: La Venta-V. Crobu

Carla. Credits: La Venta-V. Crobu

Speleology is a mental sport as well as a technical one. Physical strength is not as important as knowing how to move or when to move. It requires patience, collaboration and organisation. Some people have wonderful gifts, and they need the support of others to put them to use. As a speleologist, you cannot work alone, you need to have multiple talents and be able to switch between different roles.

Of all the ESA outdoor expeditionary training courses, I remember the experience of the Survival training in 2010 as the most enjoyable. I had been the course coordinator and the instructional system designer for that course, and during the course I became a member of the support team. I met Carla during the training. Her boyfriend was a member of the support team, and she volunteered to help with logistic tasks.

The ARXO team Vittorio, Sirio and Carla. Credits: ESA-C. Corongiu

The ARXO team: Vittorio, Sirio and Carla. Credits: ESA-C. Corongiu

Carla joined us again during CAVES 2012, now a full member of the logistics team. She started to support the photo and video team, managing batteries and helping with lights. She is now a member of the ARXO team, and during CAVES 2013 she helped the wonderboys Vitto and Sirio, taking charge of file management, and taking pictures during the preparatory training activities.

Carla has lots of talents. She is organised, reliable and determined. Most of all, she has many skills. We could not run a course like CAVES without all team members being speleologists, but also cooks, photo operators, scientists, technical instructors, drivers, Sherpas, and most of all, extremely motivated people.

Carla is also a member of the La Venta team, and of the ASPROS association. She has joined them in fantastic expeditions in Sardinia and around the world, often documented in Vittorio’s videos and also in fantastic photographic books, for example see here and here.

Carla receives CAVES participation certificate. Credits: ESA-V. Croby

Carla receives CAVES participation certificate. Credits: ESA-V. Crobu

When we left the Sa Grutta caves this year NASA astronaut Jack Fischer saw Carla with her heavy backpack loaded with laptops Vitto and Sirio use to edit videos. When Jack saw Carla starting to climb a rope carrying the heavy backpack behind her he said: “That is not elegant!”. As Carla started moving upwards, showing no signs of stress or fatigue, with the backpack smoothly following, Jack turned to me and said: “Well, in fact that is elegant indeed!”.

Loredana Bessone