It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, December 31, 2010


Friday we went to Peacock. Kevin punted because his ears were bothering him. We started at Peacock 1. The viz in the basin looked great. There was just one other team, and we were both ambivalent about which line to do first, so in the end they said they would do the Peanut line and we'd do the Pothole line (and I would lead). We did that line in C1 on our first cave day, so we didn't really see very much of it. Also, the viz was not very good. Today we made it all the way to Olson, and the viz was much better. It made the cave feel a lot bigger, I thought. We surfaced at Olson and I got some video. As usual at Peacock, there were a lot of cave critters. On the way out, at the bottom of the chute, just near the sign, I saw a little transparent shrimp with some reddish-black markings and blue eyes -- it looked like it belonged in the ocean! About 300 feet before Olson, the line suddenly seemed to disappear, when it took a hard left turn through a hole in the wall. I think that hole in the wall would make a nice picture.

Once we got back to the reel, we moved it over to the peanut line and headed right in. At a little over 1000 feet, I found a smiley face drawn in the clay (eye-roll). We also passed, not long after that, some kind of scientific instrument hanging on the line. Not sure what it was gathering or for whom. Eventually we made it to 1600 feet before turning on gas. When we got back to the cavern zone, I shot some video and made Rob cleanup the reel.

We wanted to make it back to EE by 4 (closing early for New Year's Eve) to get fills for the next day, so we quickly headed over to Orange Grove, and figured out when we must be out of the water to make it. We were hoping to make it to Challenge, which should not be a problem gas-wise, but might be time-wise. When we got to the basin, it was incredibly clear, in stark contrast to the conditions there last time (when we spent 20 minutes just finding the entrance :P). After very briefly poking his head in the wrong hole (a slot just above where we wanted to be), I pointed out the cinder block to Rob -- someone else's line was nearby too (started in the overhead, cough cough), which made it a bit easier to find the way. Unfortunately that team was coming out just as we started to go in through the little tunnel to the main line, so we had to step aside while they came out. After all of the shenanigans, it was about 10 minutes before we tied into the mainline. And then we were off. I found a neat little fish bone at the bottom at some point. I decided it was neat enough to call Rob back to take a look, and he seemed to think so too. When we got to the little maze at 800', I took the bypass to the left and when I came around I got a big finger waggle from Rob for doing that. A little past the change in arrows, when we went down the little chute/corkscrew, the viz got much worse at the bottom of it. Not sure why. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, except that we were moving at a pretty good pace. There were several times when I was tempted to give Rob a leg push to tell him to speed up. We did indeed make it to Challenge, but we basically surfaced, looked around (it was really small, smaller than I expected) and then dropped back down and headed in. I didn't even get any video of it! On the way back down, I had some brief ear problems, but once those were resolved, we were off. We pretty much sprinted the 1700 or so feet back out.

When we got to the basin, we swam over toward the steps, and there was a big patch of duckweed on the surface over there. Without any warning, Rob dropped a little below and purged his regulator to clear it out of the way -- into me. I came out of the water with duckweed all over me, including all throughout my hair (the bit of my braid hanging below my hood anyway). Pfft. I managed to get out of the water and onto the steps much more gracefully than expected. On the walk back to the car I bailed out at the first set of picnic tables and had to have a little rest before continuing on -- my back was killing me! We very speedily tossed everything in the car and got going (since we were running about 20 minutes later than planned), and managed to get back to EE around 3:40 or so. Mark M. had a class in its last day, so he and Doug were there, and we ended up chatting with them (well, Rob chatted with Mark while I chatted with Doug). In the end we didn't get our tanks setup to fill until long past 4, but we did get our fills. We also met and chatted with a few other divers who were there.

After grabbing some provisions for New Year's Eve from the Winn Dixie and its attached (but not really) liquor store, we headed to Great Outdoors for dinner, which wasn't taking walk-ins since it was NYE (doh!) but did have a table at the bar for us (phew). We had a tasty meal and then headed back to the Country Inn. Amazingly, we actually made it until midnight. We wiled away the time watching Mythbusters and playing on our computers (really lame, yes, but I was hell-bent on finishing the last dive report for 2010 before 2010 actually ended). And we had champagne around midnight.

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