The Basics On March 23, the surface teams of Operation Deep Time received the first messages of the 15 explorers who had withdrawn from the Lombrives Cave since March 14. A recorded testimony from Christian Clot telling underground life in the community.
“It’s now been 12 days since the 15 Deeptimers entered Lombrives Cave in Ussat to spend 40 days without access to time,” recalls Coralie Jugan, press officer for Operation Deep Time.
At the head of this unprecedented mission, the explorer Christian Clot delivers himself from the bottom of the abyss in a letter and soundtrack he received on March 23 through the connecting lock installed halfway in the cave between the camp and the surface. A volume that the surface team had to work on a little, given the recording conditions, before it could be shared with the readers of the Dépêche du Midi.
“An engaging and fabulous experience”
This sound makes it a valuable testimony that describes life in community and the cycles of every person. Cycles that are beginning to differentiate …
“In my opinion there are nine cycles in which we entered the Lombrives cave,” says Christian Clot. And already now we realize that the experience will be engaging, fabulous and very difficult to live with, ”he says.
And for good reason, the 15 team members have been living in a cave for more than ten days, the humidity of which exceeds 95%: “Humidity is not an empty word. […] Since we entered, the temperatures have fluctuated between 10.2 and 10.7 ° C with 100% humidity. Insidious conditions, not extreme, but difficult to deal with on a daily basis, ”continues the researcher.
At least one person is always awake in the cave
The first cycles were very intense, says the researcher, who has already noticed changes: “The first layers appeared very quickly, as the rule is that each team member has to live at their own pace (sleep or eat if necessary, you can feel it yourself) while participating in collective and academic assignments. The differences between the first few cycles were mitigated by the desire to stay in one group as well as possible with each natural resynchronization. But over time this becomes less and less possible, “emphasizes the researcher, who continues …” And when I am in my 9th wake / sleep cycle, others are in their 10th, 7th or 8th year of life . We don’t know if we’re up for 3 p.m., 8 p.m., or longer, but we clearly don’t have the same biological or mental times. “”
Go to bed when tired, eat when hungry: biological rules the 15 living explorers adhere to during their 40-day out-of-time mission as they continue their program and planned activities.
“The main disadvantage is the ability to organize collective tasks (fetching water, generating electricity by pedaling, cleaning and managing the warehouse, running our protocols and others), with some tensions here and there which fortunately are quickly cleared”, Christian Gerinnen calms down.
Next step: the 3D topography of the cave
“In the meantime, we will continue our preparatory activities for string techniques and explorations and can begin our other work that complements the cognitive and human sciences, such as the 3D topography of the cave, the study of fauna or wall inscriptions the cave, The researcher says, always keeping an eye on this question that all team members ask themselves: Will we be able to live under these conditions, without time, without sun, in this damp cold, the planned 40 days and without major collisions between us ? »The Franco-Swiss explorer concludes.
Coralie Jugan, the operation’s press secretary, has not established a rule with the Deep Time mission team for how often connections will be made. “The difficulty is that Christian needs to be able to find time between activities to register […] The messages must be qualified as we received this letter on March 23rd, but we do not know when he wrote it. We only know that he slept 9 times, as they say here, ”she concludes.