20071215 – Turner – Wakulla Traverse – World Record Cave Dive

Turner – Wakulla Traverse


WKPP

World Record Cave Dive

On Dec 15, 2007 divers from the Global Underwater Explorers’ WKPP team completed one of the most celebrated cave dives in the world. Jarrod Jablonski and Casey Mckinlay completed this dive in order to prove the connection between Wakulla Springs and Leon Sinks cave systems. As a result of the connection the two caves have become one system formally known as the Wakulla- Leon Sinks Cave system. This cave is the longest underwater cave in the United States and the fourth largest underwater cave in the world. In order to prove the connection the divers traveled a distance of nearly seven miles (36,000 feet). The Scuba dive set two world records including the longest cave dive between two entrances and the longest traverse in a deep cave. The dive required the use of Halcyon rebreathers which allowed the divers to spend nearly seven hours at a depth of 300 feet, followed by approximately 15 hours of decompression.

This effort is one aspect of a more elaborate endeavor to map the complex cave systems beneath the land surface of Florida. This multi-decade project is known as the Woodville Karst Plain Project- a project of the non-profit Global Underwater Explorers and involves the efforts of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations including explorers, researchers, regulators and concerned citizens. The group has dedicated many thousands of hours to the exploration and mapping of complex, underwater cave systems and is often called upon to assist government and private organizations to study and conserve this fragile ecosystem.

Wakulla Springs cave system has been called the crown jewel of the Florida State Park System and is important because it contains billions of gallons of fresh spring water; this water provides an important resource to support numerous ecosystems across many miles of the state of Florida. The same spring water is a vital resource to support the millions of people inhabiting the state.

Recent research conducted by the group demonstrates these caves transport precious water many miles across the state; the research also shows these caves and their ground water supply are being contaminated by the surrounding population, namely by water from the city of Tallahassee Sewage Treatment Facility. Partly as a result of this research the city has agreed to refine its water management practices as one part of an ongoing effort to protect the ground water supply.

See the PR document for the dive here.

Read detailed support reports from both Wakulla and Turner here.

Also see some of the media coverage of the dive:
National Geographic
Miami Herald
WCTV
Wakulla County
Tallahassee Democrat

A few pictures from the dive…

 

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