Monday, February 7, 2011

Mill Pond, Day 1 of 4

If you have been keeping up with my latest adventures, I have been giving Florida Caves one last go before I move back up north.  So far on my trip, I have managed to add six news systems in five days to my list of caves.  Yesterday, the 6th of February I drove up to Marianna to meet a group of friends to dive the mill pond for four days.  After getting in to Marianna unloaded the gear to the Hole in the Wall house, went to dinner and came home to get all our gear ready for the next day of diving.

Today started off with setting up the rest of the gear, walking over to see Ed at Cave Adventures to pick up the boat and then bringing the boat back to the house so we could go diving.  After a few motor issues leaving the dock, we successfully made it to the dock behind the house and started loading all the rebreathers, scooters, bailout bottles, etc.


Since it was my first time in Jackson Blue and the rest of the group’s first time back cave diving in over a few months, the plan was to scooter up the mainline nice and slow.  We also brought along two stage bottles to be left in the system for the duration of our trip.  Just getting to the cave was pretty cool.  We arrived by boat, dumped everything in the water but our CCRs, put on our rebreathers and jumped in to gear up the rest of the way in about 5' of water.  Once we were suited up and did our bubble checks, we had to make our way to the underwater fence surrounding the swimming area.  After finding a decent sized hole under the fence we scootered thru the swimming area and into the cave basin.

Our final destination inside the system was the Stop Light, at this point the dive was turned and the group headed back out.  On the way in we stayed to the right at both Ts and on the way out pulled our cookies and stayed to the right again, completing the figure 8 pattern.  The exit was very cool because being in the middle of the group of four the tunnels were well lit and I was able to scooter back thru tunnels that paralleled the mainline.  Upon reaching the sign I could start seeing the glow of ambient light and the massive schools of fish.  It was really starting to make me hungry since I had missed lunch.  The visibility was 100', very low flow, BT 1 hr 28min, RT 1 hr 40 min, Avg Depth 76', Max Depth 95'.

Being this is my first time at Mill Pond I want to try and get in as much as possible in my limited time.  On the short drive back from Jackson to the house I tried recruiting the guys for a second dive.  I was able to convince one sucker (Just kidding Andrew) of the group to go dive Hole in the Wall.  We dropped off the other two, grabbed a quick snack and headed back out.

This was to be a short dive and since Andrew all ran the reel today it was my turn.  Thought I could get out of it on this trip since I never been here, but guess not.  I tied off to the log just outside the cave and we made our way in.  There is a restriction at the entrance which I was told/warned about but no biggie we slide right in then dropped down the shaft to the upstream gold line.  The first thing I noticed even at the surface was the water temperature was colder then at Jackson.  When we tied in to the mainline and began swimming the visibility was not good at all and milky.  At about 200' I turned to Andrew and asked what he wanted to do.  So far it was cold and bad vis, but we continued in to the system.  At 400' we made a jump to the right in hope to find warmer and cleaner water.  The jump was small linearly but at the end opened to a big dome room.  At this point we called the dive and headed home.  The exit was uneventfully and the safety stop was dark between the sun setting and fishing stirring up the bottom.

Time to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow.
If you have been keeping up with my latest adventures, I have been giving Florida Caves one last go before I move back up north.  So far on my trip, I have managed to add six news systems in five days to my list.of caves.  Yesterday, the 26th of February I drove up to Marianna to meet a group of friends to dive the mill pond for four days.  After getting in to Marianna unloaded the gear to the Hole In The Wall house, went to dinner and came home to get all our gear ready for the next day of diving.

Today started off with setting up the rest of the gear, walking over to see Ed at Cave Adventures to pick up the boat and then bringing the boat back to the house so we could go diving.  After a few motor issues leaving the dock, we successfully made it to the dock behind the hose and started loading all the rebreathers, scooters, bailout bottles, etc.

Since it was my first time in Jackson Blue and the rest of the groups first time back cave diving in over a few months, the plan was to scooter up the mainline nice and slow.  We also brought along two stage bottles to be left in the system for the duration of our trip.  Just getting to the cave was pretty cool.  We arrived by boat, dumped everything in the water but our CCRs, put on our rebreathers and jumped in to gear up the rest of the way in about 5' of water.  Once we were suited up and did our bubble checks, we had to make our way to the underwater fence surrounding the swimming area.  After finding a decent sized hole under the fence we scootered thru the swimming area and into the cave basin.

Our final destination inside the system was the Stop Light, at this point the dive was turned and the group headed back out.  On the way in we stayed to the right at both Ts and on the way out pulled our cookies and stayed to the right again, completing the figure 8 pattern.  The exit was very cool because being in the middle of the group of four the tunnels were well lite and I was able to scooter back thru tunnels that paralleled the mainline.  Upon reaching the sign I could start seeing the glow of ambient light and the massive schools of fish.  It was really starting to make me hungry since I had missed lunch.  The visibility was 100', very low flow, BT 1 hr 28min, RT 1 hr 40 min, Avg Depth 76', Max Depth 95'.

Being this is my first time at Mill Pond I want to try and get in as much as possible in my limited time.  On the short drive back from Jackson to the house I tried recruiting the guys for a second dive.  I was able to convince one sucker (Just kidding Andrew) of the group to go dive Hole In The Wall.  We dropped off the other two, grabbed a quick snack and headed back out.

This was to be a short dive and since Andrew all ran the reel today it was my turn.  Thought I could get out of it on this trip since I never been here, but guess not.  I tied off the the log just outside the cave and we made our way in.  There is a restriction at the entrance which I was told/warned about but no biggie we slide right in then dropped down the shaft to the upstream gold line.  The first thing I noticed even at the surface was the water temperature was colder then at Jackson.  When we tied in to the mainline and began swimming the visibility was not good at all and milky.  At about 200' I turned to Andrew and asked what he wanted to do.  So far it was cold and bad vis, but we continued in to the system.  At 400' we made a jump to the right in hope to find warmer and cleaner water.  The jump was small linearly but at the end opened to a big dome room.  At this point we called the dive and headed home.  The exit was uneventfully and the safety stop was dark between the sun setting and fishing stirring up the bottom.

Time to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow.

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