It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ginnie Springs: The Ice Room

Matt and Leah were arriving in Florida on Friday to do a little cavern diving. Since they were arriving around noon, we worked in the morning and once they got in, we headed over to EE so they could pick up gear, and then to Ginnie for an afternoon dive. They were going to dive the cavern while we went for a dive, and then once we came up, they were going to take a peek at the ear and the eye, and then we were all going to check out the river... the river was unusually clear, so we figured it would be fun to drift down to the cavern entrance. For our dive, Rob wanted to go to the Ice Room. I wanted to approach the double lines from the opposite side, to see the whole path back to the Hill 400 line, so that sounded like a good plan to me. We asked Doug for directions, and he had some explanation of how to know when to jump off of the double lines line based on the shape of some rock on the bottom, which I was not very confident would lead to success. But I figured we would go up there and see what we could find. We at least recognized the description of where to jump off of Hill 400.

For some reason, Rob led this dive again, maybe because he was the mastermind of this dive? David definitely would not approve. The first 30 minutes of the dive seemed very familiar. Oh right, we dove here yesterday :) We continued up the Hill 400 line to the jump around 1200' and headed in there. It sort of goes up and then comes back down. The line on that end is pretty similar to the section that we just made it to yesterday, before turning. Every time I saw a passage off to the right that could have possibly gone somewhere, I was wondering if that was it. Eventually, somewhere between 1400 and 1500' I think (a bit further than where we made it the day before), we eventually found the jump, and it turned out to be marked, though we were told it wasn't marked. Rob installed the jump spool and went to check it out and then signaled me to follow a moment later. I followed his line and was a bit confused when I got to the end of the spool, because he had hit the line just before the first T (we were told there would be two Ts after we made the jump), like just inches before the T. It took a minute for me to realize which way we were to go, just because it didn't look quite as expected. But then I figured that the line we were supposed to jump to must have started over there (behind us and to the right), so the way we wanted to go was over there (ahead of us and slightly to the right). We got going and it was pretty silty and brown and got twisty and a bit low in some areas. It also got shallower. The depth difference from the double lines line to the Ice Room is maybe 25 feet. Finally we came to the room and it opened up and was quite tall. It was pretty obvious that this was our destination. It was a neat little room, not too huge around but tall and very dark. And the entry into it was fun, it reminded me of a spiral staircase :)

We were only there for maybe a minute and then Rob turned the dive, on gas I guess (shocking, since Rob doesn't usually breathe). And so we headed back out. When we got back to the spool, I told Rob to hold for a sec, because I wanted to look at where the line we jumped to started. It ended maybe 15 feet from where we jumped to it, but if we had jumped just a bit earlier and up and to the right instead of down and to the left, we would have intercepted the line at its start. Rob cleaned up the spool and we headed out. When we got back to our stage bottles (at the start of the Hill 400 line), we once again agreed to pick them up, carry them to the park bench, and then head off there. When we got there, he signaled for me to go ahead and keep leading. Hmph. Since we took the first jump to the left yesterday, I took the second. I'd never gone there, so had no clue how that would go. Like 30 seconds later (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration), the line ended. It was evidently just a short connector between two lines. So I jumped to the other line and arbitrarily headed right. And like 30 seconds later, that line ended. Double hmph. That line ended at the "big room" I think. At this point I was sick of pulling a spool out every 30 seconds, so I signaled to turn, and we headed back and past our spool. This was the same passage we ended up in yesterday, so after a minute or two, I turned it I guess on boredom, and we headed out.

When we got back to 20', the deco negotiations began. Well, it's more like I told Rob what the deco was (using my magic new formula) and he said okay. He didn't quite seem to grok my magic formula, but he knew I'd spent a bunch of time in front of Deco Planner the day before, coming up with the formula, so I guess he was okay with that :P For basically the same dive as yesterday (depth and time-wise, anyway) we did 15 minutes less deco, and lived to get bent another day. As I was approaching the surface, I noticed a guy in a red drysuit by the stairs, and when I hit the surface, I realized that Matt and Leah were getting in the water. Great timing! After chatting a bit about their first dive, and what to do next, we headed into the 30' room at the eye and played around in there for a few minutes. Then we swam over to the ear and Rob and Matt dropped down the chute to look around, while Leah and I hung out at the ledge at like 5'. When they returned, we drifted down the river.

Drifting down the river was pretty fun, though we had to keep popping up to look around and make sure we didn't miss the exit point. Aside from a bazillion beer cans and some cute little fish, the best find was a BIG turtle that Rob found. I had been talking up the turtles at Ginnie to Matt and Leah, who hadn't seen any on their dive (and we hadn't seen any on either day), so I was glad that we found at least one, and it was a big one at that! Eventually we made it to the exit point, and managed not to overshoot it, and basically walked down the run in 3 feet of water, since it was a bit of a pain to swim up the run, against the current. It was a pain to walk up it too, with two bottles :P Once we got out, the boys went to retrieve the cars, and after cleaning everything up, we headed to the Great Outdoors for dinner.

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