It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Back to Jackson Blue

Our plan was to go to Hole in the Wall on Saturday, but when I woke up on Saturday, my ears were killing me.  I had my doubts about whether I'd actually be able to dive, and in the event that I could not, I didn't really want to sit on a boat on the Mill Pond for 3 hours while I waited for the boys to get back.  So I made a couple of alternative suggestions, and in the end we settled on just going back to Jackson Blue.  I was still sort of regretting that we had not gone to the end of the line (or thereabouts) the previous day.

So we came up with a pretty simple plan, which was to go to the end of the line, or well, to the part before it gets way shallower (the stratosphere, I believe it's called).  Then on the way back, we'd check out some of the side passages on the other side from where we'd gone the day before.  While I've done some diving on the "right" side of the main line, I've never really even noticed anything on the left side, but Kevin claimed there was some stuff to do, and suggested Source Nouveau.

After all the brouhaha about clearing my ears, I actually had a much easier time with my ears today than I had yesterday.  Strange.  Things started out pretty uneventfully; we made our way through the two loop de loops (4 Ts). Kevin had some problem with the weighting of his scooter, which he'd identified when we were still in the basin, but decided it was okay to dive.  Rob tried to convince Kevin to switch scooters with him, because, you know, Rob is a much more talented scooter driver than Kevin, and thus would be able to deal with the mis-weighting better, snicker.  (Though if it had been me, I totally would have taken Rob up on that!).  So, once we were in the cave, Kevin seemed to be able to ride the scooter just fine, but every time he went onto the trigger, the scooters trim would be a bit wonky and he'd kick up a bit of silt from the bottom.  After this happened several times, I pointed it out to him and things did improve.  So we got into a rhythm once we were past the fourth T, though we were moving really slowly.  Kevin says he likes to dawdle on the way in (at least on the breathers, when having enough gas to get to your destination is not a concern), but I secretly think he has the slowest scooter in the history of the world.  That might seem like a lot of extraneous commentary on Kevin's scooter, but eventually this becomes relevant.

So there we were, moseying along at like, I don't know somewhere in the low 3000s of feet, when I realized I could not see Rob's light.  Between you and me, I don't think Rob is always the most on top of keeping his light where I can see it.  Well, that's not really far, but what he does do which kind of drives me crazy is that even when I start doing the turn left, turn right, looking for my buddy dance, he doesn't make himself anymore obvious.  So I looked left, I looked right, still didn't see him, but figured he was just being Rob.  So then I slowly did a big loop around so I could see behind me (because who wants to go off of the trigger), and he wasn't there.  So I stopped Kevin, asked him where 3 was (in case Rob was still hiding in some blindspot I hadn't looked in) and he agreed that Rob was not there.  Hmph.  So we headed back.  We weren't going that long, though it seemed pretty long, before I saw a tiny beam of light -- so tiny that I thought he had gone onto a backup light, but actually it was just that far away.  As I approached him at first I thought he was pointing down a passage, as if he'd stopped because he wanted to make the jump (the thought of which annoyed me), but then I realized he wasn't pointing, he was holding something up... his prop.  Doh!

There was a brief moment before I remembered that on the Suex's, you can remove the prop if something gets sucked into it.  So I looked at the shaft and sure enough, there was some thin bungee wrapped around it.  It was no problem to remove, but Rob just didn't have quite enough hands to hold his light so he could see the bungee, while simultaneously removing the bungee.  So I offered him a third hand and he quickly fixed that.

Where he had stopped was quite close to a jump to the "left", so we decided to just head up there.  I think Rob proposed this, though I'm not completely sure.  It was a pretty annoying jump, because there was really nowhere to drop scooters and bottles.  Kevin found a spot just big enough to drop his scooter, and then when he tied the jump spool to the jump line, which was pretty much on the ceiling, we were able to drop our scooters up there, without them touching the silty bottom.  But there was no place to drop our bottles.  So we continued in with our bottles.  We passed some Ts and even at least one 4-way intersection, which seemed a bit odd, but seems quite a bit better than all of the double Ts that we passed yesterday... you know, there's a T and then like 4 feet later, there's another T, requiring two cookies be dropped when a 4-way intersection would require only one (and we passed several pairs of Ts like this!).  While the intersections may have been nice, I didn't find this passage very beautiful.  In fact, as we were swimming along, I was thinking it seemed more brown than white, compared to yesterday's very white passages.  And I had to schlep my bottle, because I literally never found a spot to drop it.  Eventually we came to a T in an actually T-shaped part of the passage.  Rob chose to go left, even though it was smaller (lower).  I kicked in like 10 feet and decided that this was not a reasonable passage to go into with a bottle.  I signaled to Rob to turn around.  He was, of course, annoyed, but we headed back to the mainline (since I wanted to go further up, and I really wasn't too into this passage).

Once back to the mainline, we continued up toward the end, making pretty slow progress.  Maybe it was in my head, or maybe I was just misremembering, but we eventually got to an area that was kind of low and a little silty compared to what I remember, and the line was on the ceiling which is always kind of annoying.  Now that I think of it, perhaps the last time I went there, we dropped our scooters earlier and kicked to the end.  Anyway, it was getting a bit dusty, so when we got to a T and Kevin stopped to point it out to me and tell me to remember it, I called turn.  We were at the T that you can take to go back to Crinoid Glory, which is what Kevin was showing to me.  This is pretty dang close to the Banana Room; if I'd realized how close, I probably would not have turned yet.  So we turned around and I tried to make my way out of the dusty part as quickly as possible, and once out of that area, I realized that I could not find Kevin's light.  Seriously!?!  Kevin is usually quite good about making his light known to me as soon as I show any sign of looking around.  So I quickly identified that he was not there, and stopped Rob, and back up the line we went.  We found Kevin all the way back at where we had turned; he had become entangled in the line (in a really annoying spot around his breather O2 bottle) while turning around, and decided it would be much easier to wait for us to dislodge him.  So there he was, tied to the ceiling.  Rob dislodged him (and said he probably would not have been able to get himself out without cutting the line), and we headed out.  After this, things went smoothly, and we managed to get all the way back out of the cave without any team separations :P

By the time we got back to the deco rock pile, I was pretty cold.  It had been cold before the dive (high 40s I think), and my suit was leaking through the zipper.  Brrr.  I was glad when we hit the surface both because of that, and because I really needed to blow my nose :)

Living it up in Tallahassee
So, about that bungee in Rob's prop... Once back on the surface, Kevin asked Rob how that happened.  Rob confessed that the bungee had come from his wetnotes.  Turns out, Rob was annoyed about Kevin's bad scooter trim, so he decided to take out his wetnotes to write Kevin a note (not sure exactly what it said, but probably something like... "I'm a better scooter driver than you, let's switch").  While on the trigger.  And that didn't end too well.  Sigh.  Can't take them anywhere.

After we packed up from the dive, we went to Edd's to fill some gas and then hit the road for Tallahassee.  Since we were in the big city for New Year's Eve, we were actually able to find a bar (if a chain restaurant bar counts -- we went to the BJs just across from our motel).  We only managed to stay out until like 9:30, but it was still a more exciting night than the previous two :)

No comments: