top of page

Diving in a Flooded MINE in Belgium

Updated: Jan 26

A neck-breaking slope gives us access to a creepy abandoned mine deep in the forests of Belgium. Besides reading this article, you can also watch the dive in this episode on the DiveSAGA channel:




mine diving denee belgium plongee duiken


It’s a chilly Saturday morning in the province of Namur in Belgium. Deep in the forest, behind mud and wet foliage, we are working to gain access to an abandoned mine. I had the opportunity to team up with Belgian cave diver Sanne Volja @tecdivesanne to tap into her expertise.



The entry to the mine is pretty crazy. So proper preparation for entry is definitely part of this dive. It’s vital to think about entry and exit and thoroughly stage the dive site before even thinking about entering the water. The mine is only accessible via a steep slope with loose slate rock and nothing but a rope to help guide our descent.


There isn’t much space near the water but we do what we can to stage our equipment. Including the beautiful set of pink doubles dive guide Sanne is letting me use for this dive. When the master offers you their personal equipment, you take it. Lastly we don our dry suits and helmets and get ready for our final hike down to the mine.


For this dive I’m using my Panasonic GH5 and two 5000 lumens video lights. It isn’t much for this type of diving, but it’s what I have. A 360 camera mounted on top of my housing can provide some extra wide angle shots at lower resolution.


As soon as we enter the mine, I see how the piles of slate stone and rubble have buried the story of this long forgotten place. Hopefully we can find some clues to uncover this time capsule. Countless men must have walked across the little bridge we see to start the day’s labor, entering early morning before sunrise and spending a working day until sunset. Once we get through the silt that was stirred up at the entrance, the grooves in the wall are unmistakable. Tonnes and tonnes of material have clearly been excavated over the years. Dive guide Sanne calls our attention to the base line, and of course an arrow that indicates the direction of the exit. Personal markers are left behind to indicate our presence and we start our journey into the belly of the beast.


Almost immediately we come across the large wheel Sanne was talking about. I must assume this was part of a mechanical pulley system to help transport material out of the mine.As we continue our journey, the stacks of slate rock are noticeable everywhere.


mine diving denee belgium plongee duiken


Sanne calls our attention to the environment. We are hovering above a deep chasm. The 360 camera doesn’t have the best resolution in the dark but it gives a great sense of scale. I don’t envy the workers who had to descend all the way down there just to earn a living wage.And to think we are down here for fun.


The bottom is silty and easily disturbed and there are many line junctions going to different parts of the mine so it’s important to dive with an experienced guide. A silt-out or loss of line in this mine would spell certain doom.


mine diving denee belgium plongee duiken

Rail tracks are noticeable on the floor. While they don’t substitute lines or proper navigation, they do provide some sense of direction in this subterranean maze. When we reach the end of the track, another sort of pulley system reveals itself. The hand crank on the side suggests the manual labor that went into operating this thing.


When we get to the next junction, it starts snowing. Our bubbles seem to have dislodged sediment from the ceiling. 


When we reach the end of the line, a variety of construction materials are scattered about. And a metaphoric bottle to celebrate reaching the finish line. Metaphoric because this is anything but the finish line. In fact, after checking out this ladder and the small alcove it leads to, it is time to turn the dive.


Backtracking isn’t necessarily boring. Seeing the mine shafts from a completely different perspective adds a lot of depth to the environment. It really is a maze. 






When we get near the end of the rail tracks, dive guide Sanne takes us on a quick detour to a third and much larger wheel.


We get back to our arrow and back to daylight. As we approach the exit, a horrible thought enters my mind. All this equipment has to get back up that hill…


I want to extend a special thank you to Dive guides Sanne for setting up this amazing dive. Head over to her instagram page @tecdivesanne for more amazing cave diving content.


57 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page