Hello my friends!
I compiled the last few week-end into one email as I did not find the
time to write last WE. Since my last email I dived Ginnie, Peacock III
and Bonnet and did some
work for the WKPP.
It was great to dive with Rick Atkins again. He was one of my first
cave diving buddies, and the best one. He is back for the winter. We attempted
scooter dive with Nanci and Rick. Unfortunately we did not go very far. Rick's clutch broke in the Cornflakes. So we started swimming from there. When we got
to the mud flats (the day after Henderson died there), Rick's primary light went dead too. I gave him a vigorous thumbs up (meaning: end of dive). We all swam
leisurely, picked up the scooters and exited the cave. No problem. Rick was not a happy bunny. He would not even eat dinner until he fixed his gear...
On the way back from Wakulla where we pulled a few truck loads of Hydrilla
and learnt more stuff from George, we stopped over at Peacock. Rick knows
the Peacock III system and we had Trimix for a 200 foot dive. The viz was
at least 50 feet+. This was my first time in there. Same for Nanci. I found
the cave a lot
darker than Peacock I. There was a whole lot more silt too and it was not half as bashed either. I guess that there is less traffic there. The cave is mostly 55 foot
deep. We took a 32% nitrox stage to the slanted "restriction", 15 minute swim from the entrance of the cave. The plan was to use this as a deco mix. We switched to back gas (19/40) from there so that we'd have plenty of time for the oxygen to get out of our system before going deep. We swam for another 8 minutes and jumped down onto the Henley's Castle line. The cave drops very abruptly to 140 feet and pinches into a 3 foot high silty bedding plane. As the third person I did not see much of it... 100 feet later the cave opens up and drops abruptly again to the end of the line at 190 feet of depth. I poked my head down a bit where the line is tied onto a rock. It looks like it keeps going, but it's a bit tight for backmount... Henley's Castle is quite a big room. We looked around, saw a jump on the right hand side and made our way back. We decoed during the swim and spent 10 minutes on oxygen. Our bottom time was 80 minutes, though we only spent 15-20 minutes in deep part of the system. Rick was an excellent guide! That was a great dive.
Then last week-end Nanci and I had the honour of diving with the great
Bob Sherwood again! JJ gave him a day off... Bob taught me so many things
keep doing it I hope) I owe him a lot. We did a scooter dive up Main Land in Ginnie. The plan was to reach the main source of the flow. Unfortunately we did not do very well on gas so we turned the dive at the point where the line in Main Land goes up to 80 feet. This is after three jumps and the end of the mud crawl. We turned with 2500 psi in the back gas so that we could reach scooters and stages with at least 2000 psi in the back gas. In main land I saw a number of jumps left and right. There seems to be a lot to check out in there. I would very much like to spend more time in there. Bob was very grateful that Erik lent him his scooter but hated the was that machine was setup. So Erik gave me permission to balance it like mine. Bob, you need to try it again now. Your wrist won't fall off again...
Last sunday Erik, Nanci and I did a very nice dive in Bonnet Springs.
We went up the main line with the intention to find some new passages and
lay some line. Wishful thinking I guess, but you have to start thinking
about it sometime. Thedepth of this cave is only 30 feet most of the time.
The flow was negligible. Viz was
70 feet or so. After the Rocky section, we saw a nice tunnel on the left hand side. No line. So I got my reel (with freshly knotted line) out and went for it. It paralleled the main line for 50 feet or so and then forked to the left. I swam through a little restriction and found very tannic water on the other side. I started pushing it a little bit but as my dive buddies were not following I turned around and reeled the line out. We then swam up further along the main line, passed the first 4 way T and took the second T right. That looked like a line recently laid. We followed it to its end into a very nice little room. I think that the cave goes beyond that room and probably meets the line from the first 4 way T. We'll try to push it next time if no one else does it before. We had to rush back out as I don't trust primary lights beyond 2 hours of burn time and Erik's dad was waiting for us.
Now I'm back in Tampa doing some work on a new project. It seems promising and interesting. I found a hotel with a 25 yard swimming pool so that I can keep up my workout in the morning. I was the only in there this morning from 5 to 6:30. That was nice...