Presentation of the international cave expedition Sternes 2018 - 16 March, 2019
On Saturday, 9 March, at 12 hrs noon at the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Sfakia, the presentation of the Sternes International Speleological Mission in 2018 and its results for the first time was presented to the general public. The presentation was organised by the Speleological Club of Crete and the Municipality of Sfakia, which was the main sponsor and supporter of the whole undertaking.
The presentation was opened by Kostas Adamopoulos, a founding member of the Speleological Club of Crete with great experience in the caves of the White Mountains, who spoke about the first Greek exploration missions of the Sternes cave [Sternes, Στέρνες = cisterns]. The main speaker was Mark Digenis, a student of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Crete, and Vice President of the Speleological Club of Crete, who noted the internationally recognised speleological significance of the White Mountains, having 5 of the 10 deepest caves of Greece, of which the two deepest (Gourgoudakas -1.208m, Liontári -1.110m). He then referred to the characteristics of the Sternes cave and the results of his speleological exploration missions over the past two years. Among these is the new classification of the cave as the seventh deepest of the country (from the tenth that was before the 2018 mission) due to the addition of 127 meters of explored depth. To date, the total explored depth and length of the cave is -585m. and 830m. respectively.
At the same time, he stressed that because of the high altitude, Sternes cave has the prospect of becoming the deepest of the country. A description of the daily organisation and exploration results of 20 adjacent caves followed during the expedition with rich photographic material. Lastly, he referred to the objectives of the next mission (27/6 - 7/7 2019) in the Sternes cave, among which is further exploration, sampling of organisms and the creation of a camp inside the cave. A special feature of the mission was the participation of 56 cavers from 8 different countries (Hungary, Switzerland, England, Romania, France, Spain and Australia).
Important donors were the Municipality of Sfakia, Zoumboulaki Chalkiadakis, the Cretan bites, the European Speleological Federation and the Scurion, Korda's and Aventure Verticale speleological companies.
Significant supporters of the mission were the European Speleological Federation, the NMS of Rethymnon, the EOS of Chania, PHORS Sitia, PODGEAIA, Athens and BP.K.K. Heraklion.
The presentation was closed by Vasilis Gerovassiliou, postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture of HCMR, on marine biology and biodiversity. He pointed out that sea caves are typical formations of the rocky shores of the Mediterranean that offer shelter to rich and unique biodiversity. In the sea area of Sfakia are recorded about 15 semi-submerged and completely submersed sea caves. According to the results of the research carried out by HCMR in sea caves of Sfakia, in collaboration with the Department of Oceanography and Marine Life Sciences of the University of the Aegean and the Institute of Palaebiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, some of the marine caves in the region are of particular biological and diving interest. These caves, although located beneath the sea surface, receive cold fresh water flows from the neighbouring White Mountains. This water is rich in nutrients that support a rich fauna including rare species of sponge, coral and other organisms.
The presentation was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Sfakia, Mr. Georgos Protopapadakis, who addressed a greeting on behalf of the Mayor and Mr. Petros Sofoulis. Also present were municipal councilors, speleologists from all over Crete, and Athens, but also ordinary citizens and residents of the municipality of Sfakia, who came to know about the speleological interest of their place.
Finally, the opportunity was given for questions and discussion.
From: http://www.sfakia.gr/el/municipality/an ... CF%82-2018
More information (PDF) about the many caves in the White Mountains: https://www.selas.org/index.php/e-mainm ... crete.html