Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mill Pond Day 2 of 4

Today started at 7 am to the sound of rain coming down outside, but managed to pull my behind out of bed and get the day started.  As I made my way to the living room to check to make sure all my batteries had charged up, Ted was in the kitchen getting the coffee started.  Soon there after the rest of the house woke up and the prepping of gear began.  First all the Diluent, Oxygen and Inflation bottles where filled from Ted's trailer (aka mobile fill shop), then the rebreathers were assembled.  After the main gear was set we kinda messed around with stuff in hope that the rain would stop and Mark setup his new video camera system on his scooter.

Finally the rain let up, all our gear was ready to go and by this time the plan was to do one long dive.  Instead of being a four man team we split up in two groups.  Mark & Ted were going to go in mess with the video camera then leave it on the line and go do a dive.  Andrew and I planned on going to Avalanche Alley in Jackson Blue, leaving any spools for the other team to follow.  So the plan was set, we suited up and off we went.

Andrew and I got our gear situated and made our way from the boat, under the fence to the basin of the cave.  At this point the other team had already started making their way into the system.  We passed Mark & Ted at the base of the chimney where Mark was filming us making our way down (video looks sweet).  Andrew dropped a 70' bottle and off we went.  Again on this dive we took both Ts to the right, reached the stop light, checked our safety and continued in.  We scootered up to the elbow, at this point we left the scooters and began the swimming portion of our dive. 

A jump spool was installed at the second jump past the elbow and we followed all the Ts staying to the right except the very first one which will bring you back to the gold line.  I have to say what an awesome cave it is, I never know what to expect.  It went from clay floor with no silt and rock ceiling to rock floor with silt, high ceilings and massive boulders.  Andrew and I managed our way through all the Ts almost running out of cookies, but manage to make it to what I believe is the passage that paralles Avalanche Alley (Marked in Red).  We then turned around and on the way back to the gold line, at the fourth T on the exit we went right and it looped back around to the line we had been previously on (Marked in Blue).  After completing the circuit we made it back to the gold line were we decided to continue on in to the system.

Route followed during dive.
At this point we were still swimming and agreed to go for a little longer, at about 2800' jumped to the right (Marked in Lime Green).  We continued in pass the sharp left turn for a little ways and I estimate we were about halfway through that tunnel.  Here the dive was called, made our way back to the gold line picking up the jump real then the scooters.  Once reaching the stop light, I checked the safety bottle while Andrew took a bathroom break and we continued exiting the cave again staying to the right of the Ts.  At the 1000' mark we stopped check our other safety bottle and continued on out off the cave.  I had a BT of 2 hr 20 min, RT of 2hr 45min, Avg Depth 80' & Max Depth 97'.  The flow is way down, I never been here before but its less the Ginnie in my opinion.

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