Leningrad region’s most unpredictable and mystical caves are located 40 kilometers from St. Petersburg. Entrances and exists to these caves occasionally disappear - to re-emerge again.
Mariya Evsyukova, reporter: «Getting lost here is much easier than it may seem. You should download the map prior to going in - theres no network reception down here. Even better printing it out - you never know how long you’d be wandering here. Here, for instance, you can walk through - but in reality there’s debris blocking the path. So where would you go?»
Locals are sure that the ruler of the underworld is being naughty here - the white spirit of a speleologist. According to a legend, one explorer went down these caves and never returned.
Petr Nikitin, tour guide: «The sign of white speleologist’s spirit is a white stain. Pops us here and there on the walls and frightens people».
In order to please the rebellious spirit of an explorer, speleologists erected a cross inside the caves. Put a flashlight, helmet, batteries and candies next to it - all the things necessary for survival in this labyrinth. Petr Nikitin doesn’t believe in the invisible master of the caves. And thinks that the impromptu memorial is a good tourist attraction.
Go right - find a underground spring. Go left - you’ll find the Captain Nemo lake. Go straight - and get lost. One shouldn’t go down the labyrinths of Sablinskiye Caves without an experienced guide.
Petr Nikitin, tour guide: «The first sign of danger underground is any sound. If you hear a sound of something rolling - like a pool ball - exit the caves immediately. Sounds emerge underground when walls are own the move».
Organized tours only happen in the southern part of the Caves. The walls here are reinforced with pylons, while flooding is physically impossible.
- Syphons are impossible in the Leningrad region. Those which could hit the ceiling.
- How does it come out then?
- There are horizontal exits, one-dimensional. So nothing blocks the water from coming out.
Students of Mining University are frequent visitors to Sablinskiye Caves. They rely on a guide, but have enough knowledge themselves. They carry water, food and warm clothes with them.
Mikhail Efimov, student of Mining University: «I carry a loaf of bread, a kilogram of cheese and sausage. This could be enough for two-three weeks».
Although, these sand labyrinths have only 30-40 years left, according to experts. Unless walls are reinforced, these caves will be flooded.
Mariya Evsyukova, reporter: «In some places you have to crawl. Not only is it difficult, but its also scary. Especially when you realized that above you is solid rock the size of a five-story building. People overestimating their own size often get trapped here. I cannot squeeze through with my backpack, so have to turn back».
After several hours of being underground, the inexperienced tourists might experience hallucinations. Some hear voices, others see ghosts or have a claustrophobic attack. And the scariest thing is not what you might see, but the feeling of panic. In a state like this, getting lost in the world where you are merely a guest is very easy. So you should be aware of this and inform rescue services before going in.