James Garrett's Blog

Ginnie Springs Photoshoot

To test my new FLX Extreme, Philip and I decided to head to Ginnie Springs, so that he could play with his new camera and housing as well.  I won’t say much about this one, as the photos speak for themselves.

Posted 7 years ago at 1:30 pm. Add a comment

Seeing what all the fuss is about…the “New Ginnie”

Having resisted the temptation for several months now, I finally decided to venture beyond the old end of line at Ginnie Springs and see the new section.  For those of you who have been living in the dark for the past two years (or don’t cave dive), the “New Ginnie” refers to a newly explored section of the cave.  Ginnie was believed to have been walled out years ago, but Swiss cave diver Marius Frei discovered a no mount lead through clay which opened into a new, reasonably large passage.  Over time, Mark Fyvie would extend this line (and survey, which Marius isn’t known for), but passed away in a diving accident in the process.  Shortly after, UCLA professor Andrew Ainslie added additional line (5600ft at that time) and provided Anita Berman with an extension of the existing map that her husband produced.  Agnes Milowka added some line, and also produced photos in the NSS-CDS journal.  Finally, James Toland came along and as he seems to do literally everywhere he dives, he extended Ginnie’s end of line out to 7100ft, which only a few have managed to even follow his line, which is currently EOL at this time.  Bob Schulte is in the process of surveying the section and will produce a map in the future.

Anyways, enough with the history of the section…Andreas and I had talked about going here for a decent amount of time, but never went due to other sites taking priority.  Ginnie is pretty hard to motivate me to do a “big” dive in, due to the substantial amount of damaged cave that you have to go through to get to anything pretty.  I typically consider it a training cave with a few pretty sections, but this was different.  Scubaboard hosts an annual megadive event, where close to 100 divers invade the park to camp, eat, and throw one massive bonfire party.

Our plan was reasonable simple, 3 stages, using helium to make them easy to carry, sidemount gear configuration (due to the rock restriction) and DPVs.  Because of the high flow, a 6 man team taking forever to exit while we held on for dear life (cave courtesy is to allow exiting teams to pass), and drag from the stages, my SAC was abnormally high and I burned through my first stage by stage bottle rock at 1800ft.  The next stage got me to just beyond the Heinkle Restriction, and the final stage got me to the end of the old gold line.

Beyond the old end of the line, you’ll find somewhat pristine cave (this tunnel is no secret– and traffic shows), with a few large rooms where the rock alternates between jet black and a very unique tan color.  We made it to the third T, which was right at 5000ft penetration.

Posted 7 years, 7 months ago at 1:00 pm. Add a comment

Photo Shoot with Becky Kagan Schott of Liquid Productions LLC

Tonight I finally had the opportunity to go on a photo shoot with Becky of Liquid Productions LLC, something I had wanted to do for a long time.  Andreas was my buddy for the shoot, which worked well, as we had tons of time with a single stage and back gas since we’ve both dove Devil’s quite often.

This was my first shoot with a professional photographer, and I was very impressed.  I had worked with Becky before when I was Vice President of the UCF Dive Club, where her and her husband David gave a presentation on shooting video and photos underwater, as well as the Weeki Wachee exploration footage.  Becky did an excellent job on the surface explaining the complex shots that she had planned, and also with directing “on the fly” underwater after we completed the staged shots.

Posted 7 years, 9 months ago at 9:26 am. Add a comment

Scootering Devils – Mainline to the Insulation Rooms

After getting off work, Jeff Marchand and myself decided to head over to Ginnie Springs for a quick dive and some camping.  Since this was our first scooter dive with the camera, we kept it simple and went mainline to the Insulation Rooms.

Devils Ear to the Insulation Rooms from James Garrett on Vimeo.

Posted 8 years, 2 months ago at 5:34 pm. Add a comment

Devil’s – River Intrusion and Insulation Rooms

Met with Stacey after I got out of church to get a few photos for her graduate school presentation.  She has been doing research measuring pollutants in the Devil’s system for over 3 years, and is finally getting ready to present it!  The dive plan was to scooter to the insulation rooms, grab a few photos, then scooter back to the river intrusion rooms, take photos, and then exit.

Posted 8 years, 7 months ago at 10:02 pm. Add a comment

Devils – Sweet Surprise

Breathing Gas– 32% Backgas / 100% Deco
Max Depth– 104ft
Avg Depth– 85ft
Visibility– 75ft
Water Temp– 72F
Dive Time: 72min

Notes:
Met up with Stacey at Cave Excursions East to get fills and then headed off to Ginnie to do a quick dive before the super bowl.  Our original plan was to hit mainland, but another team was already in there, so we cut it back a bit and just went to Sweet Surprise.  According to Forrest Wilson here, Sweet Surprise got it’s name because Dale Sweet discovered it, even after it had been missed by other explorers.

To get there, simply scooter in on a stage until about p2100 and then look for a tunnel that looks like it “goes”.  The jump line is cut pretty far back here.  We made it back to the first T, which is the turtle tunnel and takes you to Mainland.  Due to recent rains and flooding, viability was poor for the Devils system.

Posted 8 years, 9 months ago at 4:33 pm. 1 comment

Ginnie Springs – Scooter to the White Room & Wonder Tunnel (yes, I’m that lazy)

Met with Jeff around 9pm after I got off work and had to fight Orlando traffic.  Once we got signed in it was off to the Devil’s pavilion to get geared up.  As soon as we got in the water Jeff’s UV26 had the prop spin off because the clutch had cracked.  Since we knew this dive was easy to do within overall 1/3rds, I just towed him to the Wonder Tunnel/White Room to save time and energy.  Took some video on this dive since I haven’t been doing that for the blog recently.

Swimming from the Bone Line to the White Room

Heading towards the White Room in Ginnie Springs from James Garrett on Vimeo.

Barrel Roll Practice-

Scootering fun near the park bench from James Garrett on Vimeo.

Posted 8 years, 9 months ago at 7:15 pm. Add a comment

Devil’s – Hill 400

Breathing Gas– 32% Backgas / 100% Deco
Max Depth
Avg Depth
Visibility– 150+ft
Water Temp– 72F
Dive Time:

Notes:
After diving with Brian in the AM, I had a surface interval and then met Ryan and Sam to do a quick run down Hill400.  This was Sam’s first time off mainline Ginnie, so we covered the dive plan and were in the water.  Sam ran the primary, and had an interesting time due to the fact that the NACD conference visitors had left 5 primaries already in the system, which left very few good tie off spots.  The two of them would lead, and I would scooter along behind them, as I’m still trying to gain scooter hours.  I had a stage bottle that I would breathe, and reserved all of my back gas to ensure that I had enough gas to swim out sharing gas, since scootering out wasn’t an option with only 1 scooter between the 3 of us.

Ginnie Springs -- Devils Ear to Hill 400

Posted 8 years, 11 months ago at 6:30 pm. Add a comment

Devil’s – To Mainland…or not….

Breathing Gas– 32% Backgas / 100% Deco
Max Depth– 101ft
Avg Depth– 85ft
Visibility– 150+ft
Water Temp– 72F
Dive Time:

Notes:
Met with Brian to do a dive to Mainland.  The plan was to double stage on the scooter ride there, dropping the first stage at stage bottle rock (about p1800), and then breathe the second stage all the way to Mainland.  From there we would use limited backgas to see whatever we could, and then head back.  Unfortunately I got a little ambitious, and jumped about 10ft too early into a low, silty, and probably better off side mount passage.  One thing I learned, make the OTHER guy lead in a siphon, a single errant fin kick blitzed the viz, and we were both left on the line for the exit. Once we returned to mainline, viz was about 10-15ft, but still enough to get on the scooters and try to speed up the exit.  Viz cleared around the Insulation Rooms, and by the time we were getting to the Maple Leaf, no evidence of our error was left (whew! I thought we were going to read about ourselves on CDF or TDS!).

Posted 8 years, 11 months ago at 12:30 pm. Add a comment

Devil’s – To the Scraper

Breathing Gas– 32% Backgas / 100% Deco
Max Depth– 104ft
Avg Depth
Visibility– 150+ft
Water Temp– 72F
Dive Time:

Notes:
Met with Jeff after he got off work at Ginnie and headed to the Devil’s area to gear up.  The plan was a simple scooter mainline dive here, nothing fancy.  We would scooter until it became too small, drop the scooters and start swimming.   We hit our turn pressure around the scraper, all in all a pretty uneventful dive.

Posted 8 years, 11 months ago at 11:00 pm. Add a comment