WKPP update, February 2000
Project Coordinator Casey McKinlay reports on the continuing dives during the WKPP’s 1999-2000 exploration efforts at Wakulla Springs: WKPP divers stayed busy during the first two months of 2000 in spite of poor visibility. Conditions delayed exploration and video efforts in the main Wakulla Springs cave system during January and February, so the team shifted its focus to secondary sites in the Woodville Karst Plain.
Divers worked Cheryl Sink, Little Dismal Sink, Indian Springs, Sally Ward Springs, Sullivan Sink, and Bird Sink. While team training was the primary objective for many of the dives, divers conducted various biology, water quality, and video projects in several systems. Conditions in the WKP have steadily improved over the past 8 weeks. Wakulla Springs appears prime for setup and exploration starting in March.
Bird Sink: WKPP divers conducted two dives into the system in January. The objective of the first dive was to continue downstream exploration of the system. Upon entering the system, divers found the guideline missing and decided to reline and re-survey the entire downstream section before adding to the end. The second dive resulted in additional surveyed passage and thorough exploration of the side leads. Average depth: 160. Double Gavins, Double stage.
Sullivan, Cheryl, Little Dismal: WKPP divers conducted several dives upstream and downstream of Cheryl Sink. Downstream, divers encountered a wall of tannic in the main passageway to Clearcut sink on three separate occasions. Upstream, visibility was fair with a slight green tinge to the water and light particulate. A lead was discovered to the left of the 2nd stage drop and will be investigated in the coming months. Sullivan Sink saw activity in both the upstream and downstream sections. Sullivan typically remains clear when the other systems go under. Little Dismal does not see much activity due to the major entrance restriction. Earlier this year WKPP divers cleared the entrance restriction with a hydrolift but it appears to have filled in again and remains one of the few “sidemount only” systems in the WKP.
Sally Ward Spring: WKPP divers took advantage of high water levels and poor conditions in the main spring to capture video and photos in Wakulla’s lesser known cave system. Support divers cleared the entrance restriction allowing several teams to video the entrance tunnel, Cube Room, and first downstream room. WKPP photographers captured dive teams entering, exiting, and working in the system. Flow was exceptionally high and visibility was excellent.
We expect continued dry conditions in the WKP for the next two months allowing for continued exploration in the main Wakulla system and downstream Turner Sink. All the pieces are in place: support, setup, and exploration teams. Several new gas divers have stepped up to support the rebreather teams and new support divers have joined up to fill the ranks. We look forward to the return of BMA Productions and the Japanese Public TV (NHK) team as they continue to document the efforts of the WKPP and emphasize the importance of this valuable resource.
Individual Dive Reports for February 2000: