photos Video. Unprecedented exploration of slate at Fumay, in the Ardennes

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It had been 92 years since she was under the fleet, I was speechless in front of these beautiful items. A recent expedition to one of the Phumae List pits has had its share of good surprises, as expressed by Vincent Ansio, a local historian and enthusiast of slate, who admired the photographs immortalized by Belgian diver Jean-Marie Goffin in the water. Back on this day in several parts.

10:35 a.m. Final preparations

The entrance to the portico, whose name we will abide by for security reasons and to preserve the place, is not far on the heights of Phumai. This slate quarry has been closed since 1930, and was excavated in 1898, now under licensing, by Frederic Mengoto. This means that after mapping and analysis by the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research, this diver, a member of Team Cavex Minex Belgium, was able to put Ariadne’s thread underwater.

Moreover, the latter, like Vincent Ancio, was part of the expedition that explored the stone quarries in Rimón, in April 2021. Like his Rimongnate counterpart, with the Maison de l’ardoise, the idea remains the same: enrich the next fumacian Museum on the slab, in The former Carmelite monastery.

We’ll try to figure out what’s inside to bring back photos and videos of Fumay’s future memory point which will open in a year or two. Frederic Mengoto explains in the preamble before continuing: “
Here, there is a depth of one hundred meters. We’ll first bring in the equipment, we’ll prepare ourselves below, and we’ll dive in.
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And to announce what can be discovered: Old equipment, old hose, compressed air hose, pump hose. We still have insulators. I hope to find some tools. Gigs, I don’t think so, but we’ll see. The water is more in contact with the outside so it is turbid and greener. We’ll see what we can bring back. »

At 11.25 am, go down to the gallery

The plan for the exhibition is shared among the three divers mobilized that day: Aurélie Stainier, Jean-Marie Goffin, and thus Frédéric Mengotto. ” You go to the hole. Are you not afraid? asks this Fumacian, wayfarer.

The descent begins, wearing a helmet, with a headlight, well elevated. ” If you hear noise, it’s normal, it’s the train, there may be vibrations ‘, describes Vincent Ancio, to better warn the small group, before completing: We usually pass under a secondary road. »

At least, 260 steps later, it’s about 8 degrees max. ” A hundred meters can be reached on foot and after that, we dive underwater in five or six rooms Vincent Ancio summarizes.

Mist comes out of the mouths. Rusty bars are still visible. The walls are damp, drops of water are constantly falling.

12:35 pm, diving for the Belgian trio

1 hour maximum: This is the diving duration set by the tri-divers. After a flash problem on the camera, and then a technical problem with the jacket, the troops set out to discover the flooded rooms. Thanks to the air recirculation system, the oxygen bubbles do not degrade underwater clarity.

At 1:36 pm, go up to the roof

Divers come to the surface. “
I wasn’t waiting for this. It’s magical, wonderful, these rusty stalactites! When will we come back?
Aurelie Steiner, the first to appear, shouted. The two assistants don’t think of anything else. ” It is unchanged, saves water. For example, a wooden door is still intact. »

The ascent, consisting of 260 steps laden with scuba gear, was complicated by a lack of oxygen.
The ascent, consisting of 260 steps laden with scuba gear, was complicated by a lack of oxygen.

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