Wakulla Springs w/ Gallery – Sept 18, 2012

Wakulla Springs – Sept 18, 2012


Dive Date: Sept 18, 2012

Objective: Conditions check, safety equipment check and flow-meter replacement

Conditions: Basin visibility less than 20ft near surface and less than 10ft at depth. High flow discharge, tannic.

Team 1: Jablonski, McKinlay

Support Team: Blake Wilson, Meredith Tanguay

Heavy rain in recent weeks along with constant rain throughout the summer are having an impact on the cave systems. Discharge is up and visibility is down. We dropped over the ledge at 20ft, motored along the ceiling through the cavern and then dropped directly down to sand near the 70ft deco station. We decided to use RB80s so that time would not be a factor if the meter swap and safety pull took longer than expected. At 70ft we picked up the basin line along with the flow meter cable and followed it down and through the restriction at 170ft to the pole mounted NWFWMD flow meter. We positioned ourselves and removed the old meter with the ratchet and wrench provided; removing the bottom bolt first and loosening the top bolt as we prepared to swap the old with new. Jarrod did the swap while I held the bolts and old meter. We disconnected the cable, reconnected to the new meter and finished by securing the top and bottom bolts. We then headed to 190ft to pull the safety tanks from 2011. Visibility was extremely poor at less than 10ft. We pulled both 190 safety tanks and headed for the basin for a meet and greet with the support team who extracted the tanks and meter and headed for the surface. Oddly enough, the 50ft decompression trough was gone along with the 40ft decompression trough. We found the 50ft trough next to the white habitat at 30ft and secured it. We could not tell if the 120ft trough was still in position and will have to check on the next dive. A short, uneventful decompression followed and then on to lunch at St Marks.
Bottom time: 25 minutes at 170ft

Huge thanks to Kris with NWFWMD, Pete Scalco, Blake and Meredith. Conditions are poor to say the least and unlikely to improve for any serious exploration diving this fall. If conditions begin to dry out and Florida avoids any additional tropical systems this year we could have an exploration window this winter. Wait and see.

Casey McKinlay
Project Director
Woodville Karst Plain Project

Two safety tanks removed from the cave. One with a zink-anode attached, and one without.