It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Great Kitty Cave Adventure

After a couple of years of talking about and putting off taking a cave class, Rob and I finally decided to do it. We decided to do it fairly last minute -- I think we actually put the plan in motion in late January. Part of the deal was that there wasn't going to be practice and preparation for the class. I told Rob that after taking T2 fairly recently, if I couldn't make it through a C1 class, then I must be so stressed out by the cave environment that I wasn't meant to be a cave diver. So I just wanted to do some easy dives in the month beforehand, so I felt confident going into the class, and that would be that. Rob wasn't that good with sticking to the plan though, so he insisted on running line for practice on a few dives. But other than that, I think we maybe did one valve drill each, plus a session in the Wallins pool to figure out our freshwater weighting (in the dreaded 104s). But I would say the most important preparation of all was sticking to the Ted-training regimen, especially given that we were diving the beasts.

We decided to do the class in Florida for a couple of reasons. First, because I wanted to take the class with David Rhea. (You know, for every class you take from David, you get a stamp in your David Rhea fanclub book, and when you collect all of the stamps, you can send it in for an action figure.) Second, going to Florida just didn't seem like as big of an ordeal as going to Mexico. I am, as Rob likes to say, an extreme visualizer. It's easier for me to sign on to a class in a place I know with people I know. Rob also had some desires to take the class in Florida so he could learn to dive in flow. He wanted to dive in both Florida and Mexico after class, so he thought that training in Florida and then diving in MX would be an easier transition than the other way around. Personally, I didn't really see it this way -- I was willing to take the class in FL despite the flow, not because of it. There was much pre-class whining ("what if the flow is so scary I never want to dive in caves again?") on this matter, and also the matter of diving 104s for a week. There was some initial whimpering about whether I could dive other tanks, but in the end I decided to just suck it up.

And so, without further ado, the class/trip report. I'm going to do it day by day (since I'm sure Blogger has some sort of per-post length limit that I would no doubt exceed if I tried to put it all in one post). As a disclaimer, Rob apparently no longer approves of posting class reports on the web. I think he's nutty, and I would be a traitor to the cause if I didn't.

Day -1: Travel

Day 0: Shakeout Dive
Day 1: Blue Grotto
Day 2: Blue Grotto
Day 3: Peacock Springs
Day 4: Ginnie Springs
Day 5: Ginnie Springs
Post class day 1: Peacock Springs
Post class day 2: Ginnie Springs
Class summary

Most of the pictures in the report were taken by our teammate, Oleg Butov. I am too lazy to go through and label each picture (Blogger really doesn't make that easy, or if they do, I haven't figured out how :P). So if a picture is good, you can assume it was take by Oleg. There are a few iPhone-quality pics taken by Rob or me. Rob put up a gallery of more pictures from there class here.

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