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Deepest Cave
MAY 2005
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In some cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.
Photograph courtesy Steven L. Alvarez

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    After 16 days of being underground and breaking a world record, the explorers finally came back to the surface on a beautiful sunny day. It was very emotional. We were so excited to see them make it out safely because Krubera is a dangerous place. To celebrate, we had wine, vodka, and the women picked flowers. It was very sweet.     On the third day of my assignment, I was in an unstable cave with author and team member Alexander Klimchouk when a rock fell off the ceiling and broke my assistant's hand. This was a big loss because I've worked with my assistant, Alan Cressler, since 1999, and cave photography is really a team endeavor. We've worked together so long that we don't even have to talk because Alan knows exactly what I want to do.  Alan felt better soon, but unfortunately, he couldn't continue caving, which was a disappointment for him.     Since Alan got hurt and had to quit, I used different people on the expedition as assistants. There was a Spanish woman who spoke pretty good English and some Ukranians who didn't speak any English but did speak a little Spanish. About three or four of these people came into the cave with me. Our decision-making process became absurd because we had to communicate in three languages. It felt like playing that game where everyone sits in a circle and whispers into another person's ear. By the time the message gets back to you, it's completely unrecognizable.

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