Project Coves Sant Josep (2018/2019)
1. Cave details
The Caves of San José or Saint Joseph’s Caves (in Valencia: “Coves de Sant Josep”), which are located in the nature reserve of the same name, are a system of natural caves situated in the municipality of La Vall de Uixó (Castellón) in Spain.
The cavity represents an active upwelling developed in limestones during the Middle Triassic period. Despite multiple visits of speleologists, the origin of the river and the end of the cave are still unknown. San José Cave, which has a constant temperature of 20°C throughout the year, is 2,750 meters long: It is currently the longest cave in the province of Castellón and the second longest cave in the Valencian community. Furthermore, it is Europe’s longest navigable underground river.
2. First Steps
It was at a workshop in Belgium in 2017, which was organized by Cave Lighting and the Caves of Han, that we met Juan José Tiscar Moya and Pedro Ramon Lara, two team members of Saint Joseph’s Caves. Both of them were highly impressed by the visit to the Caves of Han and the discussions they had with more than 50 show cave managers from all over the world. They brought back their impressions from Belgium to Spain.
Shortly afterwards, in January 2018, the Cave Lighting team visited Saint Joseph’s Cave and carried out various lighting tests within two days, together with the show cave management. The test results were really impressive. The cave director, Mrs Alba Fas Botias, immediately noticed the difference to the old lighting system and found it “phenomenal”. She was deeply impressed by the underwater test – so the project was quickly decided on.
3. Cave Tours
What makes Saint Joseph’s Water Cave so special is the fact that the tour takes place for the most part on a rowboat. The underground river has an overall length of 800 meters. The cave visitors are taken by boat to the first landing-stage, get off there and follow a footpath for about 200 metres. After that, they are taken back by boat.
4. Implementation of the project
In October 2018, the Cavelighting system was delivered and in November, two of our team members started work. Later, the team was enlarged by four workers and the installation was completed in March 2019.
Refurbishment measures in Saint Joseph’s Cave had to be carried out under difficult conditions: Most of the time we had to work in the water, with a water temperature of 18 – 20°C. In addition, the situation was made more difficult by repeated flooding, so that work had to be interrupted.
To give you an idea of our work, we have compiled the following video.
Swimming in Coves Sant Josep, Spain
LED light installation in Sant Josep river
Together with our Spanish partner Alejandro Hernáiz Gómez from InLocation, we installed a light and music show in the bat hall, including underwater and above water lighting.
InLocation specializes in GEO positioning in caves with an accuracy of up to 10 cm, which makes automated control and video guiding possible. Data transfer is via WLAN or Bluetooth. So-called markers are used to inform all devices about visitors’ location. This makes it possible, for instance, to start an audio/video show fully automatically at a certain place in the cave. The system is also perfectly suited for visitor management.
Therefore, the technology by InLocation and the Cave Lighting illumination system complement each other ideally.
6. Key data concerning the illumination system in St Joseph’s Cave:
• Fixtures type LSQ2 3 watt power – 610 items
• Fixtures type LQP2 12 watt power – 105 items
• Fixtures type Exterior 50 6 watt power – 10 items
• Fixtures type Exterior 100 17 watt power – 10 items
• Total power of the system – approx. 3,780 watt
• Total light output of the system – 300,000 lumen
• Number of junctions in the cave – 4 items
• Network – fibre optics
• Control – InLocation + WiFi
The show cave was put into operation in April 2019. Since then, the new presentation of light has already fascinated about 200,000 visitors.
For further impressions of the show cave refurbishment, please take a look at following pictures.