WKPP 2001 Update
Wakulla Basin. Photo: Steve Auer
Surface Manager Dawn Kernagis checks deco bottles.
Extreme Exposure’s Charlie Roberson
Open Circuit Team 1, Chris Werner and George Irvine, found the visibility in the Wakulla Springs basin to be excellent as they headed out to the A tunnel to check the condition of safety bottles, some of which have been in the cave for over a year. Safety bottles are rotated into and out of the cave on a regular basis, ensuring functionality in case of an emergency.
The visibility in many of the WKP systems was much better than anticipated. Project Coodinator Casey McKinlay made these observations:
Wakulla: Basin visibility excellent at 100ft+. A-Tunnel visibility at 75ft+ out to >3500 and clear wall-to-wall. Several pockets of tannic water on the ceiling between 2200 and 3500 but good enough to ride high off the line. B-Tunnel visibility unlimited as usual with exceptionally strong flow. Low water levels in the Woodville Karst Plain and high B-Tunnel output are enhancing the siphoning effect as clear water is pushed back into the cave, effectively flushing the system out. Anticipate improvement as long as we continue to see little in the way of rainfall.
Sally Ward: exceptionally clear as well with decent outflow. 150ft+ in the Cube Room and Downstream. Low water level in the spring run.
Indian Springs: currently clear in the upstream section but siphoning water from the spring run into the cave with 5-10ft of visibility in the cavern and downstream.
Cheryl Sink: undiveable – tannic on top.
January 6: Setup began at 8am Saturday morning with divers placing decompression gases for the two open circuit teams heading into the cave. In addition, Gas and Deep Support divers took advantage of the light schedule to escort some of the level 2-3 support divers to the entrance restriction and beyond. Visibility was excellent. A huge thanks to Dawn Kernagis for running things up top and doing a great job. Heading into the season this year we have a strong surface management team and things should run smoothly. Thanks to Steve Auer for taking time to shoot photos in Wakulla and Sally Ward. OC Team 1 (Irvine, Werner) traveled A-Tunnel to 3500 to check and remove safety bottles as necessary. They reported wall-to-wall visibility all the way out with only a few tannic pockets in the ceiling between 2200 and 3500. OC Team 2 (Jablonski and McKinlay) assessed the main line and flow in B-Tunnel. The main line is in horrible shape as a result of patching by several dive teams over the years and needs to be replaced. Flow is quite high and contributing to the clear conditions out A-Tunnel.
January 7th: On Sunday team divers took advantage of clear conditions in Sally Ward for photos and Indian Springs (upstream) for training. At the moment we anticipate improving conditions as things continue to dry out. The water levels in the WKP and Wacissa Basin are quite low and hopefully we will see Leon Sinks clear soon. Looking at Feb 3-4 for some more action.
Project Coordinator Casey McKinlay
All surface photos courtesy of Jarrod Jablonski.
Casey McKinlay and Dave Sweetin
Support divers at Wakulla
Sally Ward. Photo: Steve Auer
Project Director George Irvine.