A short club history

On our way to Camp 3… Bulgaria 2021
E.A. Martel Speleo Club was officially established on January 1, 2022 as a structure of the E.A.Martel European Karst and Geology Institute , uniting two groups for speleological research with a very long history: The ATI Cave Exploration Team, led by Ivo Kalushev and the Tenebris Underground Research Group, led by Nikolay Zlatkov. Since 1996 the two groups have explored and mapped nearly 300 kilometers total of new caves in Europe, North and Central America. Some of the most significant achievements of our teams after 2010 are:
  • Discovery and exploration of the longest single entrance underwater cave in the world – Ixtlan, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. More than 2,600 cave dives were made in the period 2013-2022 as part of the research project, many of those world-record exploration dives at distances of over 12 kilometers from the entrance. The total length of the cave by 2022 reached 22 kilometers, with 24 open lines currently awaiting exploration.
  • Discovery and exploration of the “Magic Kingdom” cave system, Mexico – 2016-2022. One of the largest underwater cave systems in the world by volume. The exploration continues.
  • Discovery and exploration of the “Leonardo” cave system –  2015-2022. The exploration continues.
  • Discovery and exploration of the “M” cave system, Bulgaria* – currently the main focus of the club, 2020-2022 – the study continues. As of January 2022 there are three underground camps and the current length of the system is 12.3 kilometers, with 160 meters of depth. The potential of the cave system is to exceed 200 kilometers in length.
  • Discovery and exploration of the cave system “V22” France – 2021-2022. Depth as of January 2022 – -834m. The study was suspended due to COVID19 difficulties.
  • During the 2020-2022 period the ATI Team successfully passed most of the important cave sumps in Bulgaria – in the regions of Western and Central Balkans, Pirin, Vitosha and Shumen. At four of the sites, large newly discovered dry cave passages were reached and are waiting to be explored.
  • During the 2019-2022 period were located a number of new caves and pits on the territory of the Balkan Mountains, which are expected to be explored in the coming years.
  • During the 2022-2025 period, together with EMKGI, the club will participate in a large-scale hydrogeological study in the Western Balkans region.
* The cave names we explore are hidden, in line with our policy for conservation and non-dissemination of names and coordinates. For more information, please read: “Our Principles”.