Underwater wonderland: Divers take the plunge to reveal stunning images of beautiful crystal cave in depths of Russia
Last updated at 10:42 AM on 28th June 2011
A team of daring cave divers have produced an incredible photo-reportage of the longest underwater gypsum crystal cave in the world.
The Orda Cave in the western Urals region is three miles of eerily dramatic natural channels created by water so clear divers can see over 50 yards ahead of them.
Over a period of six months the intrepid team led by photographer and journalist, Victor Lyagushkin, 40, from Russia explored the water filled cave tunnels at temperatures barely above freezing.
Scroll down to see a video link of divers in the Orda Cave
Crystal clear: Cave divers explore the beautifully transparent Orda Cave in Russia's western Urals region
'This cave is unique - it is real wonder of nature,' explained Mr Lyagushkin. 'But if you want to see Orda cave for yourself, you must be experienced cave diver.
'It means few years of hard training, a lot of heavy and expensive equipment. That is why we decided to show pictures to people across the world.
'Now you need not visit Russia and go underwater - you may see it sitting in your own chair.'
Going deep: One of the team of divers heads between the amazing underwater rock structures
Teamwork: Three divers can be seen exploring the cave in the western Urals region
WHAT IS GYPSUM?
Together the divers documented their journey into Orda Cave as part of a project to raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of this barely explored natural wonder.
But the expedition was not without danger.
'We do control our risks - before each dive we discuss each moment, to find a solution to any situation we are faced with,' said MrLyagushkin.
'If it is too risky, we do not dive. We must be aware of each step, or you will die.
'But the reward is the possibility to see something beautiful, something that nobody has seen before you.
'For the millions of years this amazing place has existed water has formed it into a palace while no human was here.
'To visit this cave gives you a special feeling - I think the same feeling cosmonauts on the Moon have.
'You are hanging with no gravity in the strange unusual world. You fly like a bird over its landscapes.'
All the gear: The top-of-the-range technology has meant that the group of divers have been able to access this underwater wonderland
The environment of Orda is so delicate that even air bubbles from the divers can damage the ceiling of the cave.
This meant Mr Lyagushkin's team had to construct an underwater funnel to take their air bubbles safely to the mouth of the cave.
'Scientists are interested in the cave but they cannot get there,' he said. 'In this case, cave divers may help them.
'We took samples of water and silt and minerals in different parts of the cave to help them investigate the processes.
'If people do not see underwater world, they do not know its value, they do not understand that it must be protected.
'We hope they will come to know it better through our photos.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2008640/Into-void-Amazing-images-crystal-clear-underwater-cave.html#ixzz1QZK5sZv7