Breathing Gas– 32% Backgas / 100% Deco
Water Temp– 72F
Met up with Brian Richardson at Extreme Exposure in High Springs around 8am since he needed some Halcyon stuff, and then headed towards Cave Excursions East to get fills. Talked with Rich about our dive plan, and was given the advice to just scooter through the buoyancy changes that we would encounter in this cave.
Upon arriving at Manatee Springs State Park, we were told by a park visitor that there’s now a courtesy cart that divers may use to carry their gear (it’s a long hike from the parking lot to Catfish Sink). This is a REALLY nice upgrade since I had dove there last. With 2 stages, deco, and a scooter each, it would have taken several trips with the dolly. The air was cool, which made the walks back and forth much easier than it typically is during the summer months.
Once in the water, I ran the primary, as you have to go a ways here before reaching gold line. Brian had offered before hand to “tidy up” the line behind me. Since we had so much crap on us, and the flow really is bothersome at this site, teamwork is the best way to get a primary into this system.
The flow was up, and visibility was down. This cave is so dark, with this poor of visibility I felt as if I were scootering and blindly following a line in hope that the cave would clear up somewhere and I could actually start to see something. Because it was cloudy, we couldn’t even see light come through at Sue Sink or Friedmans. About 1900ft beyond Friedmans, my 21w HID decided to fail! I swapped to my Halcyon Scout and began the near 4000ft journey back home. Having trouble keeping my eye on the line due to the particulate reflecting Brian’s light in my face, I had Brian go to his Scout as well, amazing how fast things escalate!
In the end, we exited via Catfish with an uneventful deco. While packing up, we did get a pleasant surprise, 5 deer decided to visit us in the parking lot!