It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jackson Blue

On Sunday, we headed up to Marianna to dive at the mill pond. We stopped at a Sonic on the way there. I've never been to Sonic before, and always find it annoying that they have commercials for them on TV all the time, when there isn't one anywhere around (though I found out that there is one in Gilroy, which seems dangerous as it is on the way home from Monterey). I had no idea that part of Florida was in central time zone, but apparently we crossed a time zone on the way there. As a result, we ended up getting there earlier than I expected, and we had plenty of time to pickup tanks from Cave Adventurers, get settled in at the house (we stayed at Hole in the Wall House), and get some diving in at Jackson Blue. It was insanely crowded with people trying to escape the heat. Kevin was diving with Keith (a friend of Karl's who he had dived with before), so Rob, Elissa, and I dove together. Don had to be back at home for work on Monday, so when we headed to Marianna, he headed home. He was nice enough to loan me his light for the rest of the trip.

Jackson Blue is fabled to have flow, sometimes a lot of it. There was flow, but not as much as I expected. However, there are expanses where there aren't very good places to pull (or if they are, they are reasonably far from where the main line runs) which is sort of annoying. But I would say this was the prettiest cave we went to, certainly it had the best/most photogenic cavern zone. A pretty good map of it is here. Once you get to the line, you are in about 30 to 40' in the cavern zone for a little while but then it drops down fairly quickly to 80+'. There are a couple of breakdown rooms in the first several hundred feet. Between those rooms it is a wide fairly low passage (it's not really low, but it's much wider than it is tall). The easiest place to pull along is the left wall, though the line runs closer to the right wall. On the way in, we pulled along on the left wall for much of it, so on the way out it was nice to drift along with the flow on the opposite side, since we missed all of that on the way in. There is a T at 900', which is just where we got when I called it. I knew the T was coming up, but couldn't actually see it (since I was in the back), but apparently Rob had already placed a cookie when I thumbed it, which was *so* annoying :P We passed Kevin and Keith (on scooters) just after we turned the dive. On the way out, there were some neat little nooks along the side that I thought would be pretty photogenic. And of course the blue cavern zone would make for some nice pictures. This was the first cave where I thought it was really too bad that Rob didn't have his camera.

Elissa was soaked after the first dive (it's a common theme... apparently her zipper was going), so we walked her to the stairs to exit the water, and after hanging out in the water for a while, we did a second dive. I led the dive, and at around 600' I thumbed the dive because I was just too worn out to keep pulling :P So we returned to the cavern zone and played around in 30 to 40' for a while. There are tons of fossils of sand dollars and sea urchins all over the place in there. Eventually we got bored and headed out. By the time we got out, the crowd in the water had thinned out because the park was about to close. As we were packing up to go, Kevin and Keith got out of the water. We met back at the house and then headed to dinner. We tried to go to a steak place that Keith recommended, which turned out to be closed. The dinner options in Marianna seem somewhat limited. We ended up going to Sonny's for BBQ.

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