Underwater cave Korfos

Korfos belongs to the Municipality of Sologia in Korinthos. As mentioned by the writer Mr. Tasos Gritsopoulos, Korfos is the port of Sofiko that is the base of the Municipality. Many residents of Sofiko that were occupied with the trade of resin (in 1886 Sofiko produced approximately 640 tons of resin per year) moved to the east coasts of the area so that they could trade more easily their product via the sea. As time was passing by, these merchants stayed permanently at the seaside part creating Korfos while the majority of their descendants were occupied with the sea in general, either as fishermen or as Officers in the Navy. Within a small distance from the village, there is the bay of Selontas where the shelter of the submarine “Papanikolis” was. The captain of “Papanikolis” was Mr. Miltiadis Iatridis whose mother was from Sofiko. The bay of Selontas is the natural frontier between the regional communities of Korinthos and Argolida.

The underwater cave of Korfos
Approximately one mile away from the beach of Korfos there is an underwater cave where fresh water wells up. The entrance of the cave is almost 4 meters under the surface of the sea, its maximum depth is approximately 12 meters, its length is 85 meters and its width is 53 meters. After the entrance, the cave extends to the west where we can find the deepest part of it. There are many stalactite and stalagmite formations proving that once this cave was over the sea surface. A smallest part of it extends to the north but after almost 60 meters it ends. A part of the cave has air pouches on its top from where a diver can emerge and admire the formations of the rocks. It goes without saying that the fresh water is mixed up with the sea water creating the so called Halocline (a part where waters of different composition mix up and the visibility is limited) that can be found in different parts and depths. A usual visitor of the cave is the Mediterranean seal Monachus – Monachus that can be found by the local fishermen to swim in the waters of the bay or to rest at the shore.

The locals of Korfos informed us that in the past they noticed some animals (lambs, goats) drinking water from the sea. This is how they realized that there may be a part in the wider area from where fresh water wells up. In 2008, the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) realized a wide research project at the area of Korfos and especially at the underwater cave. As explained over the phone by Mr. Christos Tsamparis (Doctor in Physics of the National Technical University of Athens and Researcher of the Oceanography Institute of HCMR) this study was about finding out if they could take advantage of the underwater fresh water that wells up in the inshore zone. After a series of diving and the examination of the results of the sample controls, it was found out that the salinity of the water was 20mg/L (the sea water has 40mg/L). Due to the high salinity level of the water and the relevant high cost of the desalination, every effort of using the waters was abandoned. The members of that research mission were: Papathanasiou Evangelos (Director of Research at the Oceanography Institute of HCMR), Tsamparis Christos (Doctor in Physics of the National Technical University of Athens and Researcher of the Oceanography Institute of HCMR), Katsaros Kostas (Captain of the bathyscaphe “Thetis” and ROV operator), Stasinos Vassilis (diver) and Isaris Ioannis (Oceanographer and partner of the HCMR).