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Me diving

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ginnie Springs: The Dome Room

On Saturday we went to Ginnie. It seemed the easiest option logistically, since Antonio had a long drive ahead of him that evening. Plus Madison was blown out :( We got a reasonably early start, meeting for breakfast and then getting to Ginnie a little after 9. So it wasn't too hot when we were gearing up. It also wasn't too crowded yet. We got geared up and into the water pretty quickly. The plan was to take the roller coaster jump to bypass the main line (or, more importantly, the flow on the mainline), and then up the mainline to the dome room jump. If we had gas once we got back to the mainline, we'd continue up it. We would also optionally take the Hill 400 jump on the way out. I was leading, but Antonio wanted to run the reel, so he led until we got to the mainline and then we switched. So he got to do the painful part of running line in high flow, and I got to do the fun part of picking a stage drop, installing the jumps, etc. Just the way I like it.

We went in the eye, since deco'ing there is much more civilized. That's too bad, though, since I think entering through the ear is much more fun. The flow was pretty typical, but I think I did a slightly better job of staying really high in the gallery. Except for one brief moment where I suddenly found myself flailing in the flow, in a little gap I was trying to cross on the left wall. I guess I was flailing enough that Rob gave me an "okay?" with his light :) We dropped our stages just before the Hill 400 jump. Once we got to the Roller Coaster line, there was a lot less flow. And it quickly became apparent why it is called the roller coaster line. Strangely, I never thought about it before... but it has lots of ups and downs, which were pretty fun. Right before the line ends, the line dips down in a little tunnel (which feels like an underpass), and there is kind of a pit on the bottom, and you can see all the layers in the clay on the sides of the pit. Then you pop out from the underpass in a big room, where the mainline runs. We jumped back to the mainline and there was a ton of flow. The tunnel is really big there, and there isn't anything exceedingly good to pull yourself on. I kicked for a while and then went over to left side wall for some mediocre pulling and gliding. When we got to the dome room jump, there were two zip ties on the line. I actually saw the jump line first, since it is to the left, and I was on the left wall. We headed up that line. After a couple minutes, we passed another jump to the left, which was somewhat confusingly tied into the same rock as the line we were on. Just a minute or two later, we hit the dome room. Just as we got there, I saw that I had hit my turn pressure. I wasn't completely sure that this was the last room, since I could see the line kind of disappear across the room, and I couldn't see it going anywhere beyond there, but I also couldn't see it distinctly ending. Antonio told me this was the room, so we took a quick look around, before turning and heading out.

We rode the flow out and were back to the roller coaster before you know it. And then we were back to the Hill 400 line before you know it. We had a brief conference and after all checking our gas, we agreed to head up that line. Rob was leading at this point. Just after we got to the point where the parallel line starts, I suggested to Rob that we jump over to it. At the next hole in the wall, we jumped over to it and followed that line for a while. It was small and not too pretty in there. Just a silty little tunnel snaking around for a while. In hindsight, I think someone told me that before. We eventually came out to within sight of the Hill 400 line, and for some reason when Rob asked what we wanted to do, instead of continuing up, I suggested we turn around. So we went back through the silty tunnel and then headed up the Hill 400 line further. Duh. We made it to just about the 1000' mark, where the hill is, before turning.

The trip out was pretty uneventful. When we got to 20', we each found a comfy spot and then negotiated the deco. I hurried over to the ledge that faces out the entrance, since I never get that spot and it looks so ideal. Cave deco is so nice. I pulled out my wetnotes to write some notes about the dive (which, strangely, I didn't think to reference while writing this report until just now!). At some point, Rob tapped on my arm and pointed to the entrance. I looked up, and there was a girl in a mermaid suit, free-diving. She was with another girl in a bikini. Rob seemed to enjoy deco quite a bit. When we (finally) surfaced, he commented on how great cave deco is, because there are mermaids. He said he thinks we need mermaids on deco at home. I said we need a rock ledge to lay on at 20'. Maybe Jim can look into installing one below the Escapade (and Michael Bryan can look into finding a mermaid suit :P).

While we were changing out of our drysuits, Rob was standing on a picnic table on the pavilion and spied an interesting caterpillar hanging out on the concrete along the top. He called me over to take a look at it, since he thought I would find it cool. It had two little horns and a row of spikey tufts on its back. It totally reminded me of a nudibranch! So I called it a nudipillar. Later I thought to try to get a picture of it, which wasn't too easy because of where it was, but eventually Rob got a nice picture of it.

Then, while we were packing up our gear, as Antonio was pulling his wing off of his tanks, I thought I glimpsed what looked like a little fish on his wing. I asked him to hold it up, and sure enough, there was a little creature suctioned onto it. It reminded me of a kelp clingfish, so I dubbed it the "wing clingfish". What an icky little creature! It was quite a productive day for critters!

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