It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's 2013: Madison: The Courtyard and Godzilla Room

On Saturday we went to Madison.  We were worried it would be crowded there, since it seemed like every cave diver on earth was in town.  So we got there on the early side (I think we got there at like 9, so not *that* early).  We were the first divers there, woohoo.  So we took the good parking spot right by the bench by Martz, and started the gear schlep over to the platform.  We carried our bottles over and then clipped them all to the line and dropped them into the water.  I walked my doubles over to the platform and sat them on one of the little seats there, but the boys didn't want to do that.  So I got into my drysuit and walked over to the platform and got into my rig as Rob was getting into the water.  Kevin hung around until I got in, which is not a very graceful process, and then he went back to the truck to get into his gear.  But by the time I had fetched my bottles (which had been lowered down kind of far into the water) and returned to the surface, Kevin was back.  Turns out you can fit 3 people in at Martz, though it is definitely more cramped than with 2.  After some checks and discussion of the plan, we headed down and met up in the room at the bottom.

Platform at Martz (Oct 2012)
I was leading, and the plan was to go to the Courtyard.  The viz was pretty green in Martz, but it was quite good once we got to the mainline.  The flow was higher than it has been in the past, but lower than the last time I was here (in October), though it seemed pretty variable throughout the dive.  For some reason, on this dive, I felt super ungraceful.  It seemed I didn't fit anywhere that I should normally fit.  In the little tunnel before the half hitch, there was a lot of clanging.  Anyway, it wasn't apparent to me why I felt this way during the dive, though afterward, Kevin noted that the leash on one of my bottles seemed to be too long, and that bottle was hanging down a lot more than is typical.  So perhaps that is why it seemed like I couldn't fit anywhere.  So, since I was leading, I had to set the pace, which I am pretty terrible at.  I have noticed that when Kevin leads, he goes a little faster than I would go.  When Rob leads, he goes a lot faster than I would go (so I think it is optimal for Kevin to lead in and Rob to lead out :P).  So I was trying to go just a little fast, trying to emulate the Kevin-pace.  Because I've been yelled at before for going to slow on this particular dive.  A couple hundred feet up the mainline, Rob signaled and told me to slow down.  I couldn't imagine that I was going too fast for Rob, so I figured he could either see that I was going too fast for me, or that I was being a silty kitty.  But there was no evidence of the latter, so I think he just saw large plumes of bubbles coming from me and thought I should slow down.  So I did.  A while later, he signaled me again, and in his very calm, instructor voice (which I don't usually get) he told me to kick smaller.  Hehehe.  So eventually I managed to set a pace that everyone was happy with and we got to the jump from the mainline.

Once we were in the side passage, I was surprised that there was still a bit of flow (though less).  When we got to the sign before Potter's Delight, I decided to ditch my stage bottle.  Before the dive, I said that I might carry my stage through Rocky Horror, but might not.  But the guys were planning to carry theirs through, to give us more options in the event of any problems on the other side (I like this scenario... they do the heavy lifting, but I can take a bottle if I need it).  So I clipped my bottle off right at the clipboard, and moved the clip to "divers in" (the best part of leading the dive!).  There was some flow in Potter's Delight and Rocky Horror.  I was a clunker getting through Rocky Horror.  At this point, I had no bottle to blame, so I think it was just a clunky day for me.  I got out the other side and was happy that the flow on the other side was quite insignificant, which was good since last time I turned the dive on too deep with too much flow.  I really like the part of the dive shortly after Rocky Horror, where it becomes a smallish tunnel again... it's nice and small enough to really light it up.  The water just looks so blue back there!  We eventually came to the spot where I turned the dive last time, where it dips down to about 110 feet.  But I pushed on this time, and of course, once through the "doorway" that I couldn't see beyond from there, it got abruptly shallower (90 to 95 feet), and then a bit further up, it got even shallower.  I think the ups and downs back there are pretty fun.  It reminds me of the boulder piles in the breakdown rooms near the front of Jackson Blue.

I eventually turned the dive on gas.  I mentioned that there wasn't much flow, but when I turned the dive, I realized that there definitely was flow, since the exit was much faster.  This allowed Kevin to get a little video footage on the way out.  He got a really nice shot of the layers of a clay bank back there.  I enjoyed the swim out, since I was in the back now, so Rob and Kevin were lighting things up nicely for me.  I really don't like the idea of being behind someone in Rocky Horror, because it makes me feel "stuck".  Last time I went through there, I made Kevin go second on the way in and the way out.  I realize this makes no sense at all, since on the way in, if I am in the front, then there is someone between me and the exit, so in that sense, I am actually more "stuck" in the front.  Anyhoo, I decided not to play any such shenanigans on the way out this time.  I was thinking that if I followed someone else out, I might get some tips on how to get through there gracefully.  Nope.  Watching Kevin ahead of me, he didn't have any tricks for doing it any better than me.  He also had a stage bottle, so if anything, he was less graceful than me.  Eventually I saw a sharp right turn ahead and I figured we were to that last really narrow part before Potter's Delight.  I stuck my head in there and saw a cloud of silt.  Yep, Potter's Delight.  Needless to say, it was not terribly clear as the third person through.  The guys were waiting for me at the end, and I went back onto my stage, and moved the clip back to the "divers out" position.

Stairs to Martz (Oct 2012)
It was nice riding the flow out, much more relaxing than the way in.  We passed a couple of teams on our way out.  When we got to the Godzilla room jump, we took that.  The boys dropped all of their bottles on the mainline, but I didn't want our pile of bottles in the way there, so I waited until the jump was installed and dropped my stuff.  When we got to the jump where the line comes back around to complete the circuit, Rob dropped a cookie.  We played around in the Godzilla room a little bit, and then we went the whole way around the circuit today, and saw our cookie back on the line.  Kevin was a bit confused about why Rob dropped a cookie there, but he got it once we came to the end of the line.  From there, we headed out.  When we got back to the mainline, I was stuck with pulling the jump, hmph.  We had a short way back to the main spring.  Strangely, there didn't seem like there was a lot of flow right in the entrance there, at least in proportion to the amount of flow elsewhere in the cave.  But there was enough flow in the spring to make it sort of annoying to stand still.  So I found a rock to hold onto and got my wetnotes out to write mean things about Kevin.  Actually I was taking some notes on the dive, but Kevin seemed very interested in reading what I was writing.  So naturally I didn't let him, and now he refers to my wetnotes as my diary :)  Deco seemed to last an eternity, because I was cold.  But eventually it did come to an end, phew.

On a random note, Kevin rented a truck (an F150 I believe) for this trip, which was awesome.  We rented a sedan, and we ended up piling all of our stuff into the truck and taking one car for nearly all of the trip.  This was much more fun than taking two cars, and possibly more fuel-efficient, though with that truck, who knows?

After we very efficiently packed up, we headed to Lake City for a late late breakfast at Bob Evans (can't mess with tradition!).  While we were there, I got a text from Leah asking if we wanted to lunch at Great Outdoors.  They were on their way there from Peacock.  Since we were already eating, we decided to just meet them there for a beer.  So we went to EE, got our fills started, and walked over there to meet them.  She told me they had some other unnamed divers along with them, which turned out to be Kate and Tim, who we've met before on various trips there.

No comments: