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Me diving

Friday, March 8, 2013

Indian Springs by Braille

When I initially ping'd Meredith about diving on the trip, she asked something like "if we could get into Indian on Friday, would you want to go?"  Let me think about this... um, hell yea.  I didn't know that Meredith was becoming a guide at Indian, but apparently it just became official.  We are always pestering Mark to take us there again, but it's always hard to get our dates to line up.  So after a couple days, she confirmed that we had a reservation at Indian for Friday.  Woohoo.  The reports from the previous weekend were that downstream viz was bad, but upstream it was clear.  I hadn't been to Indian since it reopened.  The new procedure isn't too different from the old, except that you have to stop at Cave Connections to check in (which is like a one minute drive from Indian, so really not a big deal).  There was another team diving that morning, but the plan was that they would be diving earlier than us, so would either be finished or on deco by the time we got into the water.  Being scheduled for a later dive was fine by me, since it meant that we didn't have to get up early for the long drive :)

It took us a while to get all of our gear sorted out, because we had sent a bunch of bottles with Meredith (to load-balance the cars).  But we eventually got everything to the water and nicely organized in the basin (where the water was clear), and then we got geared up and into the water.  We dropped down and dropped our oxygen bottles around 20'.  Then we headed in, and the viz got quite bad.  Rob was leading, I was #2 and Meredith was #3.  When we got to 70' and dropped our bottles, the other team appeared (on their way out).  Meredith had a scooter problem, which was not fixable, so we had to head back up to the surface to deal with that (she brought a spare scooter, which was in the car).  So we ended up on the surface for a bit longer (during which I acquired a lovely sunburn :P) and by that point the other team had finished their deco, and surfaced.  They reported crap viz as far in as they got upstream.  They said that the crap viz in the mud tunnel just never really opened up.  Awesome.  We changed our plan a bit and decided to scooter to the T and drop scooters and kick from there.  Scootering in crap viz the entire dive just didn't sound too fun.

So with our amended plan, back in we went.  It is true that the viz never got any better.  We got to the T (which has moved since I was last there, or since I last remember where it was), dropped our scooters and headed upstream.  It's amazing how much different it was from what I remember (which is white walls in clear blue water).  The walls were still white and pretty cool to look at, except you could only look at them a few feet at a time.  I would call the viz 10 to 15 feet, with a definite yellowish tinge.  Normally I would call bad viz either green or brown, but it really did seem like a pretty yellowish shade of brown to me, ick.  There was also a bit of flow; nothing too bad, but clearly discernible.  Overall, I would call the dive "interesting".  It was kind of stressful, I stayed really close to the line (perhaps comically so), and felt like I was huffing and puffing to keep up with Rob (out of practice with the kicking I guess).  But even only 15 feet at a time, the cave is quite pretty.

We turned a little past 2000' I think (on my gas, huff puff).  The ride out was easy with the flow.  I definitely enjoyed the ride out better than the kick in, both because of the easy kicking and because I had grown more accustomed to the poor viz.  Before you know it, we were back to our scooters, and after a bit of gear-monkeying, we headed back up the mud tunnel.  I had been a bit nervous about scootering the mud tunnel (in possibly questionable viz) before the dive, but after this dive, I don't think that will seem like a big deal :)  We got back to our 70' bottles, and let Meredith come up with the deco (she has very detailed deco tables in her wetnotes).  She called Fibonacci deco, which I was quite amused by.  Then she amended it to be "pragmatic" which I found somewhat disappointing, since I found the Fibonacci deco to be easier to remember (I think the 50% stops were literally the Fibonacci sequence starting from 2).  When we got to 20', Meredith whipped out her hero-cam and took some video of the (icky) basin.  For some reason that I never got to the bottom of, I felt insanely head-heavy all through the deco.  (I was borrowing Meredith's tanks, so we can't rule out foul play.)  I was quite uncomfortable!  Rather late in the 20' stop, I realized that my 50% was still really heavy, and when draped over my legs made a very nice counterweight.  Ahhh.

After surfacing and having a chuckle about the conditions, and accidentally peeing in my drysuit, we started the arduous process of bring gear back up to the cars.  Okay, it wasn't that arduous, because Meredith has a very sturdy hand-truck.  Way more robust than our fold-up one.  When that was all finished, we headed out and stopped for oysters at Revells -- the real reason Rob wanted to go to Indian!

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