Hello my friends!
What a great Thanksgiving week-end! Nanci and I stuffed ourselves in
Melbourne and then headed up to Tallahassee to work with the WKPP. I dived
with George Irvine on Friday. On Saturday we did 3 in water support dives with Nanci including taking the mapper down. On Sunday JT took us upstream
A very big thank you to Tiffany's mum who cooked us a very nice Thanksgiving
meal. The company was good, the hot tub was very hot, the swimming pool
cool and we even enjoyed a nice walk on the beach - 10 miles north of the place where a kid was bit in half by a shark - and saw the local manatees. After such
a busy day, we just crashed on the floor at Tiffany's mum.
We woke up at 5 am, packed our stuff in as much silence as possible and drove back to Gainesville. Nanci did all the driving actually. We were not too sure about the way from the house to the Turnpike, but thanks to Nanci we got there without getting lost.
We got home just after 8 am, packed diving gear and clothes for the
rest of the week-end and headed up to Indian Springs to meet up with the
WKPP guys for a
mapper test. After a few electronic set-ups they gave the mapper to George and me who were patiently waiting in the water. We took it for a 15 minute scooter
ride and got it back out for the next team to take down. The viz in Indian was a good 30 feet. We only went downstream and back. I found out 2 days later that
the viz gets much better upstream. Nanci and Wayne Head took the mapper down after us. Then it was JT's turn with David Lennon.
On saturday we met up with the team at Village Inn at 7 am. We were
all (not many) at Wakulla at 8 am and started setting up. There were a
grand total of 5 or 6
support divers and as many gas divers. Nice ratio! After carrying a few scooters and stages down to the water, Nanci and I suited up for the first shift of in water
support. We took down the 120, 70 and 20 bottles and placed them in 3 dives. 30 minutes later we took the mapper down to 150 feet and let it take 15 minutes worth of data while we had a bit of fun at 180 feet on the right hand side of the entrance tunnel. It's fun to scooter back there. There's all kinds of rocks and the ceiling is fairly low as it pinches down from the main tunnel. 15 minutes later we picked up the mapper and took it up to the surface with a nice slow ascent but no real deco. At that point we left our doubles in the water and had about an hour rest while the first gas team (George and Chris Werner) went in with the mapper. We met up with them while they were doing their 170 foot stop. They gave us the mapper, another scoter and a few corroded safeties. We ascended slowly with that and gladly handed over to the next support team roundabout 2:30 pm.
Sunday was cool. We all met up at 7:30 am at Indian Springs. Jesse Armatrout
and Julius Tomsits were kind enough to take 2 teams of support divers upstream
a scooter dive somewhat past the first stage drop. I was diving with JT and David Lennon. We had about the same visibility as on Friday up to the first T that heads upstream. Then the viz improved to at least 70 feet. It seemed crystal clear to me. We were a bit on the slow side so we dropped our stages before the 1st stage drop with 2000+ psi in there. We then weaved our way through the beautiful tunnels of Indian. The walls are white nearly all the time with a few patches of black. There are a few breakdown areas where it goes up 20 feet and back down. We passed the Bone Narcosis area and soon got to the 1st stage drop. We met up with the first team: Jesse, Erik and Greg who were coming back out. I turned the dive about 300 or 400 feet past the first stage drop as we had 30 minutes of run time and I had a short Gavin with only 50 minutes of burn time full power. The way out was smooth. Much more efficient than the way in. The team work was good. We stayed together all the time, sometimes side by side though not enough in my opinion. Every dive is an opportunity to improve, especially when we dive with guys with way more experience than ourselves. Special thanks to JT.
Now we're heading back to Gainesville. We're on the side of I-27. I
called AAA 29 minutes ago. The rear right hand side tire ruptured. We have
a spare but the
side of the road is not sturdy enough in my opinion to lift the van up with no additional support. Our savior should be here soon. Time to spell check this and send it away!
I hope that your WE was also great and that your week to come is less crazy than mine. Here goes my itinerary: Gainesville, Tampa, Gainesville, Baltimore, Gainesville, Tampa, Gainesville. But as Erik says: "that's why they pay me the big bucks". He is such as phylosopher...