It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Main Land and the River Intrusion Tunnel

We got into town a bit before one in the afternoon, and Rob came up with some convoluted plan for what order to do things (go to storage unit, go to Country Inn, go to EE).  He dropped off his scooter and my light battery to charge at EE while we were running around doing other things.  Eventually we had finished the scavenger hunt and even managed to pick up some sandwiches from the Station Bakery for lunch.  We headed to Ginnie and checked in and moved our bottles and scooters over to the water.  As I was getting my gear all sorted out, I remembered that Rob kept telling me to remind him to retrieve my light battery from the charger at EE, which I had not done.  Doh!  Turns out he had not remembered to do it on his own either.  So he headed back to EE to retrieve it, while I stayed behind with all of the gear.  By the time he got back, it was about 3:30, so needless to say we got a late start for the dive.

The plan was to go up to Main Land (or is it Mainland?) and, well, go wherever.  I have been up past the T back there, and just a little bit up to the left from there, but not too far.  And not to the right at all.  It's been a while since I have been up there.  On our New Year's trip, I was planning to dive it on the last day, but I ended up being too sniffly to dive.  I don't think we really had a concrete plan for where to go on the way out, though the River Intrusion Tunnel may have been mentioned.  Rob was leading the dive.  Once in the cave, we found that the start of the main line has moved a bit.  It now runs up to the 50 foot room in the Eye.  I think that the old way that it ran gave a bit more room for several reels running in through the Ear.  Also, I'm not sure what is the benefit of the new way of running the line, except that if you don't run line, you are less likely to end up lost in the Catacombs if you try to exit through the Eye.  But do people really need more incentive to not run line at Ginnie?  Hmmm.  Anyhoo, back to the dive.  I was using a borrowed scooter, since my scooter has been in the scooter hospital for the past two months (though at this point, the prognosis is good).  I decided in the gallery that I didn't like it, and so I traded with Rob, since he is less picky about such things.  It was not weighted quite enough and I felt like it was moving slowly (though that may have just been in my head, because it was awkward to drive a slightly positive scooter).  This dive had the distinction of being the first dive where I felt like I actually successfully made it through the Lips on the trigger.  Without giving up halfway through and just pulling myself through :)

The front 1000' or so was chock full of jump lines installed, e.g. at the Park Bench, the Hill 400 line, and the Maple Leaf.  I dropped a stage at stage bottle rock, and eventually we made it to the Main Land jump, where we dropped our scooters and off we went.  Once we made it through the low part of the tunnel, the viz got really good, and it only got better as we made our way to the big room.  The water back there just looks so blue, and the walls really light up.  Rob really needs to schlep a camera back there and get some pictures sometime!  When we eventually got to the T, we headed left, and after pinching down (where we turned it last time), it got bigger again and we crossed through what I would call a room around 3900' (though it doesn't particularly look like a room on the map), and then the tunnel becomes smaller again.  After not too much longer, Rob signaled that the tunnel ahead got small and he turned it.

We headed back to the T and went the other way (the "right" side from the perspective of entering the cave).  From there you go through a little narrowing and then come back out into a bigger space, and are almost immediately at the next T.  We went very briefly left, just long enough for Rob to show me a jump to the right, which he said gets small pretty quickly, and so does the line we were on if you keep going.  Then we turned back to the second T and went back the other way (to the "right").  This is the tunnel that takes you to Sweet Surprise, though I didn't know it during the dive, because Rob's convoluted (wrong) explanation of his previous dive led me to think that the jump took you to Sweet Surprise.  Anyhoo, at this point I was leading, and the tunnel fairly quickly became small, and then after maybe 100' it got a bit smaller.  At the point where we finally turned, it probably approximated Rocky-Horror-small (but with a more delicate bottom).  I finally turned it when I got to a cookie that said 4050'.  I thought it was odd that there was a 50' marker, and didn't know if this had some sort of significance.  I turned just after this, when I came to a little nodule in the passage where it would be easy (well, that's relative) to turn around, and beyond which I could see no areas where it would be easy to turn around.  I maneuvered around, and then backed up (further into the tunnel) so that Rob could use the little wider spot to turn around.  But he was oblivious and just managed to contort himself to turn around in his smaller part of the passage.

We meandered back out to the first T, and from there we had the flow helping us out.  When we got to the point where the line turns, at the "start" of the big room, I took the jump to the left, which is within arm's reach of the line we were on.  I wasn't sure if this line went anywhere, and wondered if it was just a line running across the room, because I had seen on some map that it did not go far.  It does actually go a bit further than just across the room.  After traversing the room, a tunnel veers off to the left and a little bit deeper.  But then not too far after that, the line disappeared into a hole, which I had no interest in going into.  I considered sending Rob in to take a look, but decided to just turn us around.  On the Hancock map, the line is not very long at all, so I'm not sure if it actually goes much further than this.  From there we headed back out to the mainline, with just a couple of pauses along the way so that Rob could look at some jumps off of the line for possible future visits.  When we got back to the mainline, I realized just how much better the viz was in Mainland, because the viz on the mainline really didn't look that good.  We made our way back to stage bottle rock, and then agreed to drop gear there and go up the River Intrusion Tunnel.  The last time we went up there, we did it on a kick dive (oy) and didn't make it too far up the tunnel.  I couldn't remember precisely where the jump was, but after a little bit of poking around, we found the jump, fairly far back from where Rob had tied his spool into the mainline :)

Not too far up the tunnel, we hit a T, where we went right (just as we had on our last trip up this tunnel).  The tunnel sort of goes up a little and gets a bit smaller and continues for not terribly long.  Rob got to the end of the line and turned it (or so he says... I didn't actually see the end of the line since we were single file).  We came back and went the other way at the T, and soon I saw something shiny ahead, and realized it was our pile of bottles, on stage bottle rock.  I wasn't exactly expecting that, though I guess I should have, since it is quite obviously so on the map.  We swam over to our gear and picked it all up, and then cleaned up the jump (we first had to go back to the T to fetch our cookies, which we almost forgot about :P).  From there we headed straight out.  On Rob's last dive at Ginnie (without me), he discovered the wonder that is the Keyhole bypass.  Like pretty much anything Rob does on a dive without me, he couldn't stop talking about how awesome it was.  He couldn't wait to "show it to me".  So as we were scooting through just past the Hill 400 jump, I was going to signal and tell him to go first.  But he seemed to know that that's what I wanted, so I went off the trigger, gave him the "after you" signal and we repositioned on the fly.  While I make fun of Rob a lot on here, the fact that we can so easily we can read each others' minds like this is just one of the reasons he is an excellent dive buddy.  The Keyhole bypass is interesting, but really not life-altering in the way that Rob, Kevin, and Doug may lead you to believe.  It's nice because you don't have to worry about getting whacked in the head as you go through the Keyhole at a high rate of speed, but you still have to go up a pretty abrupt slope, which I prefer to do off the trigger in any case.

When we got back to the deco ledge, it was (as expected) completely dark out.  We had a fair bit of deco for a Ginnie dive.  I initially called 40 minutes and then a couple minutes later, I revised it to 45.  I was pretty hungry and a little cold, so I was pretty much watching the minutes tick by.  I briefly attempted to do a sudoku in my wetnotes, but found myself too dumb for that.  So then I turned to sketching kitty cats in my wetnotes (which, sadly, I forgot to snap a picture of and those wetnotes live in Florida, otherwise I would post it :P).  Finally the minutes ticked by, and we made our way to the surface.  It was quite cold out, so after all of the clock-watching, I no longer wanted to get out of the water.  Brrrr.  We were pretty efficient about getting packed up (motivated by the air temperature).  Then we took stock of our limited dinner options (since it was after 9) and decided to head to Mason's in Alachua (where Kazbor's used to be) and met up with Meredith there.  I found the food and the menu to be marginally better than Kazbor's.  And most important, they have corn nuggets :)

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