Unified Team Diving

A weekend in Florida Cave Country - A new cavers 3rd trip to some Florida Springs.

I made it down to Florida Cave Country by 1:00 on Friday, so I decided to go over to Ginnie Springs and practice line work in the Caverns. I spent about 75 minutes in the water working on some skills and just blowing some bubbles. After a quick run over to Amigos for a fill, I made it back to"downtown" High Springs by around 8 to meet up with my buddy Chris who was running a bit late due to heavy traffic coming up from Fort Myers

Saturday we took our time, but made it over to Peacock Springs in Lureville http://www.floridacaves.com/PeaockMapFull%20copy.pdf by 10AM. As we were getting our gear ready; we were surrounded by some of the Who's Who in of cave and technical diving. Lamar Hires, founder of Dive Rite was readying a Optima rebreather class next to us, and just across the parking lot was Jill Heinerth http://www.intotheplanet.com/About_Jill.html, a true explorer (how about cave dive inside a crumbling Antarctic iceberg), UW photographer and cave instructor.

We made two dives before lunch from the Orange Grove sink entrance. I'm really starting to feel more comfortable in this unique environment. On our second dive, we followed a side mount group going in. With a slow pace, we made it to within about 150' of the distance tunnel taking it nice and easy.

After some fills at the Dive Outpost (a full service cave resort right near the entrance to Peacock - http://www.diveoutpost.com/index.htm ) we had a quick lunch at the Lureville General Store. Our timing was perfect as we made it the water well before the 4:00PM last dive start limit that Peacock observes. This dive was from the Peacock 1/Peanut entrance. Most groups were gone, and it was just Chris and I and one other two man team left in the park.

This was an awesome dive - funny, but the slower we go ,the farther we get. On this dive we made it all the way to the Olson Sink (refer to the Peacock cave map). We surfaced at this hole in the middle for the forest for a short break. The hole is about 40' across give or take. Chris scouted out the continuation of the main line for future reference as Olson is just a stopping point that allows for continued egress into the system. This was our turnaround point, so we soon were on our way out of the cave the same way we came in.

After 82 minutes (about 61" max depth) and an estimated 3000' of swimming; we were back on the surface, big smiles on our faces - simply fantastic!

Sunday we decided to go over and give Manatee Springs a try. This would put us closer to home after our dives. While Chris had been in the basin at Manatee a couple of times, this would be his (and mine) first run into the cave system at this beautiful state park located near Chiefland,FL. Manatee is a bit deeper (we hit 95' max) and has moderate flow in general. Here is a link to the cave map at Manatee http://www.floridacaves.com/manateeoverlay.JPG

Our plan was to enter at Catfish Hotel, go into the flow toward Sue's Sink and then exit back at Catfish (covered with some of the thickest duckweed matting I had ever seen). The good - the dive went as planned and we easily found the gold/main line. Once out of the cavern zone this cave got very dark with pretty iffy vis when compared to Peacock or Ginnie. On entry, we typically could not even seen across the wide cave opening as it was totally black ant the vis was limited due to lots of particulate in the water. We made it about 75% of the way to Sue's before we turned the dive. Coming out we stayed a bit higher in the water column and this helped a lot in getting a better perspective of the cave.

Now for the stupid diver activity of the trip. I was leading on the way out when we came upon two divers about 300' into the system. God was really shining on these two morons with their single ALU 80's, no back up regs/tanks and just a couple of yellow beam open water lights to guide them in the dark. Chris got them turned around and they exited most likely with no air to spare (they did not do a safety stop as they were out of the water before Chris and I even hit the cavern zone). Why would somebody pass by two signs that expound upon the dangers of cave diving without proper training is beyond me.

Upon surfacing at Catfish for an in water SI, I told Chris that was one spooky cave. We have been told it really clears up after Sue's, but I am in no hurry to go back without a local guide or diver experienced with this system - we were certainly underwhelmed as we expected better visibility.

Views: 9

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Manatee is definitely dark and spooky. I enjoyed it, but then, I like Naharon, too, and it's similar. We didn't quite make it to Sue's, but we really enjoyed the dive. We went in a second time, and it was our first cave dive without an experienced "guide", so Manatee holds a special spot in my heart!

Definitely a place you don't want to see open water divers in, though. We had a similar experience at JB, watching two single tank divers in split fins swim into the cavern. They came out, though.
That's a great trip report Jeff. I'm going to start having you ghost write for me. A friend of mine, Kim is heading down to FL for a few weeks. Keys and Lauderdale areas, to do some diving... I told her to look you up. You both can enjoy your "time off" diving.
Janet sent me Kim's contact info yesterday. We are going to try to meet up when she is down here and maybe get in a dive or two. I plan on getting in another weekend in Cave Country at the beginning of April. Still on the fence whether to just continue to practice skills and dive with some folks or take another class.

If I can work it out I might go take my Apprentice class w/Advance Nitrox. Just a comment about the UTD training protocol. One of the things that deters me (and I am sure many others) about going the UTD Overhead route is the 5 day duration. Many divers want to take their classes in smaller chunks. This may be based on a variety of factors including available time, physical fatigue or just simply the cadence/retention of learned materials. Just something to consider to make UTD a bit more marketable to the cave community (this might be a good discussion topic for your instructor groups in the future),

Have a good one.

James Mott said:
That's a great trip report Jeff. I'm going to start having you ghost write for me. A friend of mine, Kim is heading down to FL for a few weeks. Keys and Lauderdale areas, to do some diving... I told her to look you up. You both can enjoy your "time off" diving.
Hey Jeff,

We've changed the overhead training program recently. There is now a class called Overhead Protocols, a three day course covering line work, teamwork, and emergency procedures. It takes place in 20 feet of open water with a blacked out mask and is a prerequisite for Cave 1 and Wreck 1, which are also three day classes. Or you can still do a five day stretch that includes Overhead Protocols and either Cave 1 or Wreck 1.

For details about the class, click here.

Jeff
Jeff,

My comment was focused toward your Cave 2 class as it is a major commitment of time, money as well as a large chunk of learning/comprehension. I was just offering a suggestion that it may not be an approach that fits many divers (including myself). I am looking to go from an Intro (with Doubles qualification) to the next level and Cave 2 just does seem a an alternative that I would consider based on the the factors I previously noted. I like smaller chunks, working to be come more comfortable and competent through practical dive experience and then move on. Just my thoughts and musings.

Jeff Seckendorf said:
Hey Jeff,

We've changed the overhead training program recently. There is now a class called Overhead Protocols, a three day course covering line work, teamwork, and emergency procedures. It takes place in 20 feet of open water with a blacked out mask and is a prerequisite for Cave 1 and Wreck 1, which are also three day classes. Or you can still do a five day stretch that includes Overhead Protocols and either Cave 1 or Wreck 1.

For details about the class, click here.

Jeff

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Students - Purchase Gear Here

UTD on the Net

In the News

UTD STUDENT PROCESS

New and Exciting at UTD

EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

UTD Equipment

 


UTD News

CURRENT NEWSLETTER IS READY...CLICK HERE.
Click here for our Newsletter archive.

MEMBERSHIP SPECIAL EXTENDED THROUGH 2012!
Join UTD or renew your UTD Membership in 2012 and receive access to the famed UTD Student and Diver Procedures Manual and/or an ONLINE DVD. CLICK HERE NOW.

Contact Info

Unified Team Diving

 

Websites:
Main:
unifiedteamdiving.com
Community:
unifiedteamdiving.com/main
Students:
my.unifiedteamdiving.com
Equipment:
utdequipment.com
E-Store:
utdequipment.com/

 

Street Address:
11211 Sorrento Valley Rd.
Suite I
San Diego, CA, 92121
USA

  

Phone:

+1 (855) DIVE UTD

+1 (855) 348-3883 

+1 760-585-9676

+1 760-585-9681 (fax)

  

Email:

info@unifiedteamdiving.com

Email:

sales@utdequipment.com

 

Skype:

unifiedteamdiving

© 2014   Created by Unified Team Diving.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Web Analytics