WKPP Update, Spring 2000
The spring of 2000 brought mixed results for the WKPP. On one hand, Jarrod Jablonski and George Irvine set a new world record for cave penetration at depth by extending the end of the “18,000 foot” line on April 1, a day that most expected would be used for setup dives for future exploration pushes. As Casey McKinlay reported, “exploration teams picked up where they left off nearly two years ago and set the pace for this coming season with several impressive dives into O-tunnel. WKPP divers have been waiting for the system to clear since last year and with weeks of dry conditions the stage was set.” Unfortunately, the weather in North Florida did not cooperate. Moderate rainfall compromised visibility across the WKP. The team made a full showing on April 29 with the expectation of making the most significant new exploration at Wakulla since the 18,000′ record dive two years ago. In spite of the impressive work of the team in setting up for the long haul, conditions were poor enough that JJ and George called the dive once they realized that even the spring tunnels were pumping out dark water.
If April’s weather didn’t allow for the new exploration that the team had hoped for, the renewed focus on future exploration did allow for new team members to get in practice dives at locations across the Woodville Karst Plain. The WKPP requires that each team member work up through different support levels by diving with as many different team divers as possible. The new support team members were able to become familiar with a number of sites such as Cheryl and Sullivan that will be key to the team when attention shifts away from Wakulla and back to the caves of the Leon Sinks region.
May and early June produced more “hurry up and wait” weekends for the team. Filming continued with NHK Television from Tokyo, but in spite of drought conditions the water quality at Wakulla remained diminished. A few leads were walled out, but otherwise the team was not able to stage the major exploration push that they had anticipated.
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