It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cave 1: Day 5: Ginnie Springs

David gave us the option of swimming in the pool or at Ginnie and of course we chose the pool (which Ted tells me is super lame). So we had to meet him at 7 in Gainesville. He asked us if we wanted to swim or do the breath hold first and we told him the swim (so I could mentally warm up for the breath hold). He said we had 14 minutes to swim 400 yards, and if it came in at 14:01, we'd have to do it again. No pressure though. I wasn't worried about the swim, since I somewhat regularly swim 500 meters to start off my swim workout, so by math, I knew I would take somewhere in the 8 to 9 minute range, and that's what I did. I felt like I was going really slowly though, because I shared a lane with Oleg, who was quite speedy. Then we took several minutes to recover before doing the breath hold. David asked us to go to the end of the pool (75 feet) and after the 14:01 comment, I did not think this was negotiable. I was super nervous at this point, since I can never make it to the end of the pool when I practice (though our pool is in meters, so a tiny bit longer). In T2, I think I made it about 70 feet before popping to the surface. But I sucked it up and went for it, and made it to the end. I was quite pleased. By the time I swam back to the other end, Rob had already told David and Doug that I had never before made it to the end of the pool. Rob was amused at how much better I perform when David tells me to do something versus when he tells me to. Rob has on a few occasions tried to motivate me to make it to the end of the pool with some fictitious scenario where Pepper is drowning at the other end of the pool and I have to save her. I have never quite understood why, in such a scenario, I would have to make it to the end in one breath (not to mention how Pepper would end up at the Oracle pool, since she is a strictly indoor kitty).

We headed to Ginnie after a stop at Starbucks (where I learned, thanks to David, that Starbucks has oatmeal! This could be the beginning of a whole new era of pre-dive eating when we stay overnight in Monterey and my normal granola and yogurt is not convenient. The oatmeal even came with little packets of my favorite oatmeal fixins'... nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar.) We got geared up and in the water. I was having some serious sinus problems and generally feeling like crap. We were entering through the eye today, so again, Doug played #0 and ran the reel to show us how. On this dive, we made it about as far as we did yesterday before turning on gas. There were a variety of failures including a lost diver and eventually we ended up sharing gas on the line with no lights, fun fun. It felt like a cluster, especially crossing the line (which I had not, up to this point, practiced while tethered to another diver via the long hose). When we got to the little room at 50', David cut the drill and we exited on backup lights. When we got to the surface, David said we had a lot to talk about (cringe). During the debrief he asked if we knew why he cut the drill, to which I replied "because we were spazzes", but it was actually because of the short restriction just ahead. Phew. We had one last OW drill to do and David gave us the option of doing one more short penetration first. We would get to do the afternoon dives by ourselves (sans instructor, not solo). We decided to do another dive so we could at least retrieve the reel. We made it to just before the keyhole. I don't think we had any failures on the way out (which makes sense, since it was an optional dive).

David wanted to do one more OW drill which he told us was not required for C1 but he liked to do (I didn't, at this point, understand if that meant that he required it to pass or not). He setup a line and we had one person on one end with his back to the other person on the other end of the line. That person takes off their mask, then takes their reg out and follows the line to the other diver, and finds their reg, takes it, and then swims back to the other end sharing gas in touch contact. Basically this simulates having to find a breathing source in zero viz when you have absolutely no gas left. This drill terrified me. While I am moderately comfortable with no reg or no mask, the idea of being without both freaked me out. Rob went first and I played the donor. Then David told me to go. I was on the verge of a panic attack (well, that may be a slight exaggeration) which of course makes the breath hold impossible. Needless to say, I epic failed this drill -- twice. I gave up quickly (Rob claims I made it only like 5 feet), came to the surface and literally started whimpering to Rob that I didn't think I could do it (when I told this to Ted, he quite aptly said "there's no crying in cave diving"). Rob gave me a small pep talk which went something like "just go back down and do it" and assured me that he wouldn't let me drown (in 3 feet of water). So I went back down and tried again. I made it marginally further/longer before giving up this time. Then I swam back over to Doug and David, who told me that this wasn't required for the class but I should work on it. Phew. I tried once more with my mask on just for my own enrichment (since I've never really worked on my breath hold in full gear) and did make it to the diver (but didn't take the reg, etc.). After that, David said we could get out, have lunch, and then do a dive or two without him. I assumed this meant we had passed, but he didn't make it official until we were back on dry land and out of our gear.

Rob, Oleg, and I had lunch and then headed back in for a couple of dives. As I mentioned earlier, I was quite fond of the turtles that we kept seeing in the water at Ginnie. After lunch, I was headed to the bathrooms, when I saw a little turtle waddling along on land. I got the guys' attention and told them to come over and bring the camera. Only once they got there did I approach it, since I didn't want to scare it away before they could see it. He was totally covered in mud. Very odd, but very cute. Anyhoo, on to the diving... it was Oleg's turn to lead, so he bravely manned the reel. We went in the ear (at David's suggestion). I was behind Oleg and I was just thinking I was glad I didn't have to run the reel. We didn't make it that far in because of the reel installation taking time. We made it further in on the second dive, basically about as far as we had made it on some of our earlier dives (just a bit past the park bench). Rob led that dive, because he wanted to bring up the reel. I finally managed to feel somewhat in control on the ascent (particularly at the 30' stop). Rob on the other hand... well, he got the line out without wrapping it around us or his manifold, so I guess we'll call it a success.

With two (very very puny) post-class cave dives under our belts, we packed up and headed back to EE. We managed to get back to GUE just before they closed, so I went on a little GUE logo-wear shopping spree (yes, I know it's lame that my idea of a shopping spree takes place at the GUE store). I found a hot pink and white t-shirt on the clearance rack for $5 -- what a steal! It matches my drysuit, so I know Clinton will like it. Back at EE, we ran into Mark Messersmith who had a C1 class that had just started. We chatted with him and his students briefly.

Friday night, we went to David's house for pizza and beer and to play with his pups. They are two of the cutest doggies I have ever met. They are like real live ewoks, but cuter.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"Needless to say, I epic failed this drill -- twice. I gave up quickly (Rob claims I made it only like 5 feet), came to the surface and literally started whimpering to Rob that I didn't think I could do it (when I told this to Ted, he quite aptly said "there's no crying in cave diving").

There are several schools of thought on that last sentence. Most, not all, have been elucidated by women. (Whimpering tends to get one smacked "upside the haid").

Re: the optional drill: One of my friends had occasion to put this to use. She was diving at Devils with a buddy who lost her mask. Neither diver had a backup (my friend was one of the Wakulla divers, so I'm surprised). She reports that exiting the cave with her maskless buddy was a stressful, ugly experience---they were somewhere near the Maple Leaf and needed to get out, pick up their O2, arrange themselves on the deco log, etc. A high point in her diving life. (She may have cried. I've seen her cry for less, and she's a tough cookie).