Caves hold a certain mystery that make people want to enter and explore them. What’s even more exciting than a regular cave is one that is flooded with water, because everything becomes ten times more fascinating when it happens underwater.
Imagine the same spectacular rock formations that you are used to seeing in a cave, the same vast chambers and interesting nooks, but picture them all filled with water. What you get is the feeling of visiting an extinct world, a place of legends that has been sunken into oblivion. That’s exactly what makes places like the Orda Cave in Russia an amazing place to visit.
Orda is the world’s largest underwater gypsum cave, as well as the largest underwater cave in Russia. It is located underneath the western Ural Mountains and it spans over 3.2 miles, most of which (3.0 miles) is submerged. It is amazing how clear the water is inside Orda. Divers can see over 50 yards in front of them, which explains why many photographic expeditions have taken place here.
The reason why the water is so clear is very simple, actually. The area surrounding the cave is rich in minerals, which help filter the water, ridding it of impurities. This way, visitors can see the vast expanses of the cave’s chambers, which makes the whole experience even more humbling. Gypsum gives a lovely blue hue to the underwater environment, as you can see in the photo gallery.
Exciting as this may sound, it is actually not an easy feat to dive into the fascinating Orda Cave. The hollow formation itself is very fragile, as gypsum is not a very resistant material. Actually, even the air bubbles that come out of a diver’s mask can damage the frail walls. Photographers had to channel the air flow towards the cave’s mouth to avoid damage during their expeditions.
Also, the water’s temperature can go down to -9°F, so you should know that this is no place for amateur diving. Fortunately, we can all enjoy these incredible photos, so feel free to browse through.