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Me diving

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's 2013: Peacock to the Crypt

Since we got into Florida late on Thursday night, we got a later start on Friday.  We usually do our first day's dive at Ginnie, but I made a crazy suggestion to go to Peacock instead.  I was thinking it might be a bit less crowded, plus I'm always looking for excuses to talk Rob into going to Peacock :)  When we pulled into Peacock, I couldn't believe how crowded the parking lot was.  There was a lot of groaning coming from Rob.  It was so crowded that we actually had a bit of trouble finding parking spots for our two cars, though it had cleared out a bit before we were ready to get into the water.  The last time I was at Peacock, when I failed to dive due to a cold, the plan was to go to the Crypt.  So I suggested we do that today.  I had a fuzzy memory of how to get there, and so did Kevin, who I think had actually been there before.

Kevin led the dive, since he knew the way, followed by me, then Rob.  We went up the peanut line and through the crossover tunnel.  This is not the most direct way to go, I suppose, but I like the peanut tunnel and I like the crossover tunnel, so that is how we went.  When we crossed Olson, the path back down into the cave seemed a little more cramped with tree branches and such than I remembered it, and I wondered if this was caused by the storms.  I really liked the section of cave just after Olson, which is like a vertical crack, tall and relatively narrow.  We were still in this section when we came to the jump, which is really not very far from Olson.  After we took that jump, once past the zig-zag, we landed in a fairly straight tunnel, that I would call small-to-medium sized for Peacock.  There were also a far number of ups and downs.  From there, we were told to take the first jump or T to the left.  Having not looked too closely at the map, I had no idea how soon that would be.  After not very long, Kevin pulled out a cookie.  I knew he was out of spools at this point, and the next jump would require my spool.  So, I got my spool out, but then when it became obvious that there was no jump, I didn’t feel like putting it away, so I clipped it to my chest D-ring.  For the entire swim to the jump, I was worried about it.  Not that it would get tangled in the line, or dragged in the silt; no, I was worried that Rob would try to sneak up and steal it.  Not that I’ve ever done anything like that before :P

Eventually we did come to that jump, which was in a little room that sort of opened up from the tunnel, and I finally got to hand over that damn spool.  Once you make that jump, it’s really not too far to the Crypt, less than a 10 minute swim.  The very last part before you get into the Crypt goes a little deeper and its in a smaller tunnel with some ups and downs.  A fun tunnel to swim through, though as I was swimming through it, I felt kind of uncomfortable.  I couldn’t understand why, because we were swimming at a very leisurely pace, and it was not particularly deep or technically challenging.  (I remembered having the same thoughts when I was wonked out on CO2 with a barely breathing regulator, but I decided my regulator was breathing just find today.)  Then we popped out into the Crypt and I felt much better.  The crypt is a fairly big room (quite big by Peacock standards) with big boulders on the bottom.  The last time I was at Peacock, not diving, but instead walking around on the surface, I was the poster board above the Crypt, which had a picture of the room.  So I already had a pretty good idea of what it looked like in there.  We played around in there for a couple of minutes, and then we turned it.  As soon as we descended into that first tunnel, I realized why I had been uncomfortable on the first pass through… it was hot in there!  I’m sure the water was just a degree or two warmer, but it was discernably warmer, and definitely a bit too warm for my 400g undergarment (which I just brought to town, to replace my 250g).  But after a couple of minutes, we were back to the cooler water.

Before you know it, we were back to the room with the jump.  Kevin cleaned it up, and then as we were swimming out, I put my hand back so he could give me the spool once it was cleaned up.  And instead, as an homage to Ted, Kevin held my hand, which caused me to laugh so hard I almost spit out my reg.  Kevin told me that after he did that, he just saw a huge plume of bubbles coming from me, and he knew I was amused.  Our plan was to head back through the crossover tunnel, and then go further up the peanut line, so back we headed.  I had dropped my stage bottle just on the other side of Olson, and I decided to try to be slick and switch onto it while swimming, pausing just long enough to get Kevin to verify the bottle.  Instead of being slick, I had a total Ted moment.  I didn’t clip my light off (which I usually don’t if I’m just picking up a bottle, but usually do if I am going onto a bottle), and I somehow deployed my reg over my light cord.  I figured that was no problem, I’d just pass the lighthead back under it.  But I guess when I tried to do that, I passed it under the clip from the bottle to my D-ring.  So now my light cord was basically tied in a knot around that bolt snap :)  You see what I mean about a Ted moment?  I was really trying to fix this without Rob figuring out that anything was amiss, which was of course not possible because of all of the passing the light back and forth trying to work this out.  So of course Rob eventually turned around and I gave him my best “nothing to see here” look, he shook his head, and continued on.

When we got back to the peanut line, we waited for Kevin to pull the spool, and then confirmed that we were going to head up to that tunnel further.  I waited for Kevin to go ahead, which I guess irked him, but I hate when the team gets reordered on the way out… if I’m leading on the way in, I want to be in the back on the way out!  We made it through the peanut restriction and to the end of the peanut line, which I’ve never done before.   It’s been ages since I’ve even been up the peanut line past the crossover.  I really like that section of the tunnel; it has some pretty clay.  Anyhoo, I now understand why it’s called the peanut restriction.  Kevin and I maneuvered ourselves through the obvious lobe of the peanut, which the line runs through, and then of course Rob came swimming out of the other side, which was much more spacious.  Rob always does that!  We got to the end of the line, and there were three jump lines connected back into the main line.  Three lines!  This is when it occurred to me that despite seeing oodles of people in the parking lot and the basin, we hadn’t seen a single person in the cave.  Weird.  I guess they all went up the peanut line and then jumped back into the main line :)

From there we headed straight out, uneventfully.  We did finally pass another team in the peanut tunnel.  Of course as soon as they saw us, they froze in that “must give way to exiting team” way that cave divers often do, and they squished over against the wall, on the opposite side of the line.  They were in one of the more narrow parts of the tunnel, with a wider part of the tunnel just ahead of them.  I tried to signal them to go ahead, but they weren’t budging… we were the exiting team, and they were giving us the right of way whether we wanted it or not!  Since the dive was insanely shallow, we had no real deco to do, but we hung around at 20 and 10 for a few minutes each.  While I was at 10 feet, some other diver came barreling between me and Rob, which I found odd.  Then he came right back in a minute later.  While we were cleaning up after the dive, I happened to overhear a buddy team who had apparently become separated, and one of them came all the way out to the basin looking for his buddy, then went back in.  So I assume that’s what was going on.  Yikes.

By the time we got out, the parking lot had about half as many cars as when we pulled in.  But there were still quite a few people coming and going in the basin.  We got out of there quickly so we could get a quick lunch at the Luraville Country Store, and still make it back to EE in time for fills for the next day.  While we were filling tanks, I noticed that Kevin was wearing a really cool hat, which his Mom made for him, so I had to snap a photo for the blog:

We wanted BBQ for dinner.  We usually go to Newberry, but since we were bunking with Kyle, we asked him if he had any suggestions.  He suggested David’s Real Pit BBQ in Gainesville, so we tried that.  It definitely doesn’t have the same ambience as Newberry’s (if you call live bands and karaoke ambiance), but I liked the food better.  However, as a total package, I’d rate them about equal.

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