It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ginnie Springs

We managed to get ourselves out of bed not that late, and were on our way to Ginnie a little past 9. We were briefly waylaid by a sheriff's deputy with a radar gun, but after receiving our invitation to donate $194 to the state of Florida, we made it to Ginnie a but before 10. At that hour, the place was practically empty -- sweet. We parked by the turkey roost, and a bunch of the big buzzards were flapping around nearby, which was cool. We got geared up and into the water pretty quickly. I led the first dive, down the ear. The river was crazy clear, so that I could actually see all the way down the ear from the top (which I never have before). It was pretty cool, but at first a little disorienting! I've never run line through the ear before. It wasn't too bad -- there are quite a lot of nice primary ties to choose from, it's just a matter of flaring out all of your limbs to wedge yourself in (like Pepper when she falls in the bath tub, Rob says) while you put in the tie. Doug had said the day before that the flow was up at Ginnie (thanks Doug, for giving me something to fret about), but I didn't find that to be the case. I guess I have only a small sample size, so I don't really know what flow is typical. I was diving 32% for the first time ever at Ginnie, and I did not find it to be a problem. In fact I had a lot of fun pulling my way through the gallery, etc., since pull-and-glide is now my most favorite propulsion technique (I don't know why they don't teach that in fundies -- I would totally volunteer to demo it!). I think that because I was diving 32%, I was trying much harder to slow down and not exert myself, and as a result, we made it quite a bit further than I have made it in Ginnie before. I think the furthest I'd been before was just past 800', but today we got just past the 1100' arrow. I wanted to see this maple leaf that all of the cool kids have already seen. When I got to it, I asked Rob if this was the maple leaf, and he confirmed that it was. I must say, it's a little anti-climactic (which Rob denied when I told him this after the dive, and tried to explain to me why it is really cool). But what can I say -- now I have seen the maple leaf :P Just before and after the maple leaf, the cave gets way bigger. There are also tons of little clay banks where you can see the different-colored layers in the clay.

We did two back-to-back dives on the first set of doubles, leaving the reel in. The second dive looked quite a bit like the first :) On the way out, I tried going through the lips in a different area than usual (that I have always wondered about going through) and clank clank clank made it through with just a few bumps. When we got back to our reel, Rob told me to take it, so he could install the reel in the afternoon. I was amazed to find a decent "cavern zone" at the bottom of the ear, again due to the very clear river water. It was pretty cool. Reeling up through the ear was not exactly graceful; I can't exit gracefully even when I'm not reeling. First, Rob had added a "placement" to my lined on the way down the ear, around a little finger of rock that stuck out and then curled under. In order to get the line out I had to stick my finger under there and work the line out -- not exactly what you expect with a placement! After figuring that out, I moved up to the secondary tie, and then got pushed past it before I could get it un-done. So now I was like 3 feet past it with the line running down to the secondary tie and then back up to me. I was sitting there trying to work out the best way to get back down to the tie, when Rob (who was at 30' and had already turned himself around so that he was facing me) suggested that he go back to the tie (since he was facing the correct direction to swim to it) and pull it for me. Phew. The primary tie I was able to retrieve without too much difficulty, though in the process I decided that my reel really has a bit too much line on it. After that ordeal, we retired to the log for a while, and I got out the hero cam and got some footage of Rob posing on the log, and the fish, leaves, grass, etc. getting blown around in the flow. Since Rob got to the log first, he took the good spot, on the deeper end, so he was resting on it in like 15 degree trim. He left me the other end, where I had to rest in -15 degree trim on it. Pfft.

After we came up, Rob suggested running some line so I could work on my breath-hold (grumble). I told him I had to pee and he more or less convinced me to man-up and so we played with that for a little while. Well I have definitely improved a bit since C1. After we did that for a while, we cleaned up the line and got out for some food and to switch tanks. We didn't have a very long surface interval, as we wanted to squeeze in some more diving and also make it back to EE by 4 (they were closing early again) so we could get fills for the next day. Rob led the dive, but before we got in the water, he said that he thought I should give reeling up at the end "another try". I did not receive this helpful tip very well though. He also wanted me to work on my no-mask breath-hold some more in the spring run after the dives.

We headed in and around the gallery, Rob took off and left me behind. He got to right before the lips, and stopped there and gave me an okay with his lights. I didn't respond, because I wanted him to wait for me to catch up. And then off he went. I assumed he saw my light spazzing around while I pulled, and took that to be "okay", but I was still totally annoyed. I always stop before the lips to catch my breath and check on the team. So he should have known I wasn't ready for him to go through if I wasn't even there yet! Well, too bad for him. I was still going to stop and relax for a moment. I figured I'd find him waiting on the other side. I finally went through and no, he wasn't waiting, he was all the way across that room waiting before the keyhole. After some excited hand signals at him, we headed through the keyhole and made it to about 1000' feet before turning back. When we got back to the cavern zone, I asked if we should head up (Rob seemed really committed to making me do those line-following drills in the basin), but Rob wanted to do another dive. On this dive, we made it a couple hundred feet beyond the keyhole before turning back. About 50' after we turned, I crossed a jump line (I believe to the hill 400 line) installed from the mainline. It was like dark red or purple or something and quite hard to see. I had a brief moment of "oh crap, did I swim over that on the way in and totally miss it?" but I was sure it wasn't there -- as we approached that marked jump, I was even wondering if it would be installed, because it had been on the morning dives and I get the impression that is a sort of common jump. After the dive, Rob confirmed that the line wasn't there and that he had noticed a team not too far behind us on the way in. On the way out, Rob got to reel up the ear, bwahahaha. I got to 30 feet and waited for him and then he came along and shoo'd me along to go up to the log while he cleaned things up. I went up there and claimed the good end of the log and waited for him. He appeared a moment later. While we were hanging out on the log (it's just such a fun place to hang out and video each other :P) quite a lot of divers came through on their way in. Man, it's like all the cool kids are diving side-mount these days.

When we surfaced, Rob asked if I wanted to do some more drills, but I told him we didn't have time. Indeed, we just managed to make it to EE 5 minutes before close, but it didn't matter since their banks were empty anyway. This was a bummer, since we wanted to get an early start in the morning, but we figured we would just head over there early in the morning.

For dinner we decided to go to Gainesville and Rob found a few good-looking places on the Internets. It never occurred to me that stuff (well, restaurants) would be closed on New Year's day, but apparently they are. I can't even remember where we tried to go, but we found two of the places Rob had found online and they were both closed, plus a bunch of other places we passed were too. But we found a place called Harry's (that is New Orleans-themed) so we went there. I got jambalaya, which I wasn't too into, but that's because I don't like jambalaya. I don't know what I was thinking when I ordered it :) It always sounds good but I never like it. But we got a piece of key lime pie (the kitty's favorite pie, in case any blog-stalkers out there want to send me pie) to go which was super tasty.

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