ATI Cave Exploration Team

The ATI Cave Exploration Team was formed in 2013 in Yucatan, Mexico in connection with the Ixtlan Project, an initiative of the American Cleardeep Foundation and several private sponsors interested in exploring the newly discovered Ixtlan underwater Cave. The leader of the team from the very beginning is Ivo Kalushev, an instructor in cave diving, speleology and cave rescue, professional cave explorer with more than 30 years career in speleology and one of the discoverers of the cave.


In the period 2013-2018, the Ixtlan Project became the best-funded and largest-scale underwater cave research project conducted in Mexico in recent decades. The site of the entrance to the Ixtlan Cave was purchased for the study along with a compressor station and exploration base premises, and in five years were conducted more than 2,600 research dives leading to more than 20 km surveyed passages. As a result, Ixtlan became the longest single entrance underwater cave in the world and unique scientific discoveries were made and documented.

Ivo Kalushev, just before an exploration cave dive of the ATI Team, 2015 © Picture: Nikolai Zlatkov.
The ATI Cave Exploration Team during the Ixtlan Exploration Project in Mexico:
  • Ivo Kalushev – team leader. Research speleologist with over 30 years of professional career and dozens of discovered and explored cave systems on the European and American continents, speleology instructor (NSS, EMKGI), cave rescue and technical cave diving instructor, owner of the cave diving school DivingMexico.
  • Deyan Iliev – technical cave diving instructor (IANTD), speleologist.
  • Nikolai Zlatkov – technical cave diver (IANTD), speleology instructor (EMKGI), leader of the Tenebris Underground Research Team
  • Plamen Statev – diving instructor (PADI), technical cave diver (IANTD), speleolodist.
  • Nevena Staeva – cave diver (IANTD) and speleolodist.
  • Ivailo Valentinov – diver and speleologist.
  • Peter Kolev – diver and speleologist.
Aglika Gyaourova, Ixtlan Cave, Mexico, 2016г.