Highway to Hell
- Cave of Tsanís -
At the given coordinates you will find the mouth of the Cave of Tsanís at the plain of Omalos. You will need a flashlight to fullfill the log condition! Preparation at home for condition #5 is usefull.
The plain of Omalos is a flat circle shaped plateau on an altitude of 1200m. It's completely surrounded by the white mountains.
During spring, when the snow melts on the mountains, the water is collected at the plain of Omalos and creating a big lake. The water flows slowly out at several sinkholes and the the Cave of Tsanis. At this time the cave becomes a so called “Ponor”.
In the course of time sediments settled on the plateau and created a fertile earth; best condition for farming.
While a sinkhole basically is a depression of surface topography with a pit or cavety directly underneath, a ponor is kind of a portal, where a surface stream or lake flows either partially or completely underground into a Karst ground-water system. Steady water erosion may have formed or enlarged the portal in (mainly limestone) rock, in a conglomerate or in looser materials.
In other words, the cave of Tsanis is a huge karst cave working like an outflow. It forms a huge covered gorge.
In 1967 greek and french cave explorers, made it 2500m far and 240 deep into the cave, without finding an end. The cave is estimated to be many times deeper than this. But it's unexplored until now.
A legend tells...
Entering the mouth of the cave, you will find several sized boulders. If you get in deeper, you can find interesting karst formations like shown on the photos.
...that in these places, built from God, in Omalos, in Madares, in the Gorge, lived once upon a time a shepherd. He was an upstanding man, playing the lyre enchantingly. No one knew his name. They called him "the Lyre Player". He was sitting on the rocks, under the shadow of the trees, near above in the rocks, in the shade of trees, near water springs, or in the caves and he was playing the lyre, making celestrial melodies...
It was summertime when some people heard him playing. From mouth to mouth it came known that a lyre player in Omalos, competes the wind and the birds in playing.
Young and old people started to go and listen to him playing, hearing the voice of the lyre that was recounting the sufferings of the heart and was saying about the beauties of the world.
At some time the lyre player was lost with no warning at all. They looked for him everywhere, but he was not found. The search took months and years! In the end the legend wrapped him and his lyre... It was a night in October or November, noone knows for sure, with no moon. The wind was blowing strong, the sky was groaning threatening, the rain was falling like mad on the cypresses and the torrents were moving as if they were about to drown the ground. At that night the lyre player was in the beginning of the plain of Omalos and, not wanting to wet his lyre, he entered te cave of Tzanis.
Immediately, a strange warmth wrapped him. Something like a vision enraptured him. There were small ponds with water inside the cave and out of the water tall beautiful women were gushing, with faces like the bright moon. Their blonde hair was falling like a river of gold till their knees.
Suddenly they began to dance. But this dance was with beauty, greatness, it was air blowing, as the feather in the wind, as the steam in the sun. .. they were not dancing, they were flying! The lyre player began to play, accompanying the dance. The hours passed, the dance kept going on, and the lyre player, mad by the fairies - because they were fairies - as if they were not on the ground, was playing and playing and playing...
Later on he followed them, out of his mind and got lost with them...
Since then he never come up in the light again. Only the moonless nights returns with the fairies in Omalos, in the cave of Tzanis and accompanies their dance. He plays and plays with the lyre sad songs, without getting tired, with no stop, without taking a breath. The peaks, the cliffs and the gorges echo his magic music all around...
Be aware of the risks in caves!
To log this cache as a found...
- Never enter the cave, if there is water flowing!
- Never explore the cave alone!
- In case of emergency you are burried alive!
- Inform someone about your destination. The best would be to have someone at the mouth waiting for you and get help in case of emergency.
- Don't go too far in the cave. Always remember, that you have to go back the same way you get in!
- Upload a photo which shows you in the Cave of Tsanís.*
- Upload a photo which shows karst formations in the Cave of Tsanís.*
- Send me an e-mail and tell me how deep do one have to go into the Cave of Tsanís, to be in totally darkness (test it by turning off your flashlight).*
- Send me an e-mail and tell me what diameter does the cave have in a deep of about 50m inside.*
- Find a sinkhole (visit link) at the plain of Omalos and send me the coordinates via email or add a photo of the sinkhole to your log.(Google Maps could be usefull :-)
- In case of water flowing in the cave, the conditions 1-4 can't be fullfilled! In that case, you can post a photo of the flowing water instead.
And now go down in the cave and enjoy your visit!
More caches on Crete
Agia Sofía Cave(visit link), Agia Iríni Gorge (visit link), Ágii Patéres - The Cave of the 99 Holy Fathers (visit link), Ménies Bay (visit link), Highway to Hell - Cave of Tsanís - Earthcache (visit link)