Žrnovo is geologically the most interesting part of the island of Korčula.
Žrnovo is certainly one of the most beautiful settlements of the island of Korčula, and the hamlet of Postrana hides the deepest pit on the island, the one under the Bilušin Peak which is more than 130 metres deep. Another pit has now been discovered in the centre of the hamlet, where the reconstruction and extension of the bus station and a sidewalk recently began, reports Dubrovacki.hr on September 8, 2018.
In the morning, while looking for a suitable location to plant a tree, the locals stumbled upon a vertical cavity in the soil whose depth is currently unknown.
“We were looking for a place where we could dig a one-meter hole to plant a lime tree. At one place, I saw that the soil was not as hard and you could somehow hear the echoes from the depths. While I was digging, the soil suddenly collapsed. We immediately expanded the entrance a little bit and I decided to go in, even though I did not have the speleological equipment. I climbed down with my bare hands and some ropes. It was a very demanding and dangerous process, but we had two radio stations that I used to communicate with people on the surface. The pit has at least five levels. I descended to the fourth level or the fourth room, and each room is about two and a half metres wide. I descended to the depth of 35 metres, and the fifth level is still 20 metres deeper. And that is probably not the end of the pit,” says Tonči Borovac, a well-known extreme sports fan and the owner of a business which deals with excavations, mining and all kinds of specialized and dangerous jobs in extreme conditions and in places where the machine access is not possible.
Tonči says that at the depth of 35 metres the air is pleasant and cold, the temperature is only about 15 degrees, and the pit is full of stalactites and is very slippery and humid. At the depth of 15 metres, Tonči started checking with a lighter if there was enough oxygen. He is convinced that the bottom of the pit also hides an underground lake.
However, according to Milan Vojinović, a long-time member of ADIPA, the Croatian Society for Research and Conservation of Natural History and Diversity, it is unlikely that the pit hides a lake, but it is still an interesting discovery.
Milan was contacted by the locals immediately after the discovery. “I monitored Tonči’s descent via radio. For now, we do not know how deep the pit is since the channels continue, but we will certainly investigate it. The pit has some stalactites, which means that water passes through it. At one location there is also a puddle, and the pit is airy, just like other pits on the island. Postrana is extremely plentiful with pits, as well as the entire Žrnovo area, which is geologically the most interesting part of the island. Within a few days we will organise a descend and detailed excavation of the pit,” Milan explains.
Tonči will be back in the pit, but this time he will have professional equipment that will be given to him by Milan. Milan said that Tonči is the best candidate for the expedition because the entrance to the pit is extremely narrow and he is physically ready for such an effort. The expedition will be organised and planned in detail because, if something goes wrong, it is not easy to evacuate a person from such depths.
We will soon know what secrets hides the latest pit. Is it deeper and bigger than the others? “Under the Bilušin Peak, there is the deepest pit on the island, more than 130 metres. There is also a pit called Pod Kolač, which has a huge entrance, Butina and Jakasova Cave, which is beautiful and also an archaeological site. The people of Žrnovo need to do more and make their pits and caves better presented,” says Milan.
The locals have already secured the entrance to the pit in order to prevent possible injuries. They plan to cover the entrance with glass and illuminate it from the depths to turn it into a tourist attraction, but also to make it easier for future expeditions to get in.
Translated from Dubrovački.hr (reported by Dora Mikelić).