It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Little River: To the Well Casing

Rob wanted to scooter, and since I am terrified of scootering through the eye at Ginnie, I suggested we go elsewhere.  I suggested Little River, since it is a cave I have dived a number of times, so it seemed like a good choice.  We got there not terribly early, but the parking lot was completely empty.  Very nice.  Perhaps people were sleeping in because they knew it was going to be really freakin' cold in the morning.  Brrr.  The staircase seems to have been refurbished since the last time I was there (or at least the last time I dove there).  We walked our bottles and doubles down, and then dealt with the beasts.  Rob was capable of carrying my (26Ah) scooter down by himself, but carrying his (33Ah) down was a team effort.  "My" scooter doesn't really feel like my scooter, since so far the only encounter I have had with it was to put a sticker on the side that says "Allison".  It is in all other respects just a scooter I've seen at EE sitting on a charger :)  Kevin has dived it before, and assured me it was a lovely scooter.  While we were staging gear down there, I had a chance to look around for the best way to enter the water -- the water level was a bit lower than it has been when I've dived there before, but the same old entry worked fine.

We finally got into our gear, ran through our gear checks, and got into the water.  Ahhh, so warm.  The plan was for me to lead, and once we were in the cavern area, I was going to scoot around a bit and find the right length for my tow cord, etc.  Then we would head down the mainline for a while.  I ran the line into the cavern zone, and a little bit beyond where we dropped our O2 bottles, I dropped the reel so I could play on my scooter.  I thought I had the right length for my tow cord, but wimped out on leading the dive, and asked Rob to lead instead.  I felt a little too encumbered with the scooter :)  We headed in, and I quickly realized that picking Little River as an easier-to-scooter site than Ginnie was totally dumb.  It is so much twisty-turny-er.  What was I thinking!?!  Well, it was actually pretty good practice for maneuvering on a Gavin.  Eventually I got the hang of the technique and timing of turning the scooter, but there were definitely a bunch of spots where I was approaching a turn and realized I just couldn't make the turn in time and had to go off the trigger and kick my way around.  Hehe.  So I think we were probably a bit slow on the way in.  I have always had trouble corresponding what I see in the cave at Little River, with what I see on the maps that are available online.  So while I'm not precisely sure where we were on the map, we dropped our stages past the Florida room, after it got deeper and a bit smaller and twisty again.  I asked Rob if he wanted to drop scooters too, but he did not.  So we continued on, and not long after, it got twisty-turnier and annoying to scooter.  Then we popped out in a bigger room with a hill that we had to go over, and we ditched our scooters on the other side of that.  We continued kicking from there for another 10 to 15 minutes.  I had just signaled Rob to tell him that I wanted to turn it, when he gave me a "just a sec" signal and told me to keep going.  He had just seen the well casing, and wanted me to see it before we turned the dive.  I have never known exactly where (how far in) the well casing was supposed to be, and wondered if we could have passed it before but not seen it.  We had been talking to Mark a day or so before about this, and he said he didn't think it was possible to pass the well casing without seeing it.  And now I know exactly what he meant :)

Then we turned around and headed out.  I felt like much less of a spaz on the way out, and felt like we were making better time.  Yes, we were going with the flow, but there wasn't that much flow, so I think most of it was just getting the hang of things.  When we got to the Florida room, I had a lot of fun scootering through a bigger room.  When we got back to the T, I told Rob that scootering through the twisty turny areas sucked, but scootering through the Florida room was fun!  He laughed at me, and then we continued out.  The rest of the ride out was pretty uneventful.  When we got back to 20 feet, we got onto O2 bottles and negotiated the deco -- and there was so little deco!  That scooter sure makes the dive shorter :)  After switching onto my deco bottle, I decided to move my stage back, because it was annoying me.  As I whipped the bottle back with a flourish, I misjudged my proximity to a rock, and scraped my hand against it, eek.  I was practically just left with a bloody stump; it's a good thing there aren't sharks in the cave.  Once we finished, we surfaced to slightly less freezing conditions, and a few people loading gear into the water as we got out.

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