Spanish Athlete Emerges From Cave After 500 Day Experiment

Luke Allen, Editor

After nearly a year and a half living in near total isolation around 230 feet beneath the Earth’s surface Beatriz Flamini exited a cave outside of Granada Spain ending a successful experiment. Shortly after she exited the cave, wearing dark sunglasses to help her readjust to sunlight, she told reporters that she did not want to come out. In an interview afterwards she stated, “ “When they came in to get me, I was asleep. I thought something had happened. I said: ‘Already? Surely not.’ I hadn’t finished my book.” 


The team supporting Flamini’s expedition into the cave for an experiment studying the effects of isolation on the human mind and enclosure on circadian rhymes say she broke the world record for longest time spent isolated within a cave system. Flamini entered the cave on Saturday, November 20, 2021 before the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict, the end of Spain’s COVID 19 mask requirement, and the death of Queen Elizabeth. Her support team admitted that she did leave the cave for eight days while the crew performed maintenance to a router she used to send audio and video messages to report to her support team but remained in isolation during this time. 


Flamini spent the majority of her time underground doing exercises, knitting, painting, drawing, and reading. Along with her other supplies Flaminit took two GoPro cameras to document her experience and went through a total of 60 books and 1,000 liters of water during her time underground according to her support team. Her experience however did contain some hard points such as when the cave was invaded by a swarm of flies and when after day 65 she was unable to continue keeping track of time. Another major struggle for Flamini was retaining “coherence” , having to focus on eating well and dealing with the silence. “I didn’t talk to myself out loud, but I had internal conversations and got on very well with myself,” she joked. “You have to remain conscious of your feelings. If you’re afraid, that’s something natural but never let panic in or you get paralyzed.”


She looked forward to when her support team would send down new supplies including fresh food and clean clothes. Her support team was instructed to contact her under no circumstances although she was equipped with a panic button in case of an emergency or if she wished to end the experiment. Flamini was monitored by a group of psychologists, cave specialists, physical trainers, and other researchers who were studying the effects that social isolation and disorientation have on the perception of time, sleep, and patterns of brain function. She also stated that she would have doctors assess how her time in the cave impacted her body and mind before planning any future mountaineering projects.