Ginnie Spring
We now have two more CCR Cave Course instructors at Dive Addicts. One of our students recently finished up his course in Fort White, Florida and he loved every second of it!
CCR Cave Diving by Scott Olcott
Last week I went to Fort White, Florida to take a CCR Cave Diving course. I went with my father-in-law and brother-in-law who were training to be instructors for the course. We left on Friday afternoon and got there that night. Our instructor for the class was Phil Short who is an instructor trainer from the UK. The course was pretty stressful especially at the beginning, but towards the end of it I really started enjoying the dives.
Maddison Blue
Peacock Springs
I missed my wife and daughters while there. I wish they would have been able to come with us. We were able to video chat almost everyday. Unfortunately, since we were in a course we didn't get any pictures or video of us while we were diving. I did get some pictures of the outside of two of the caves we dove. The first couple of days I was concentrating so much on getting my gear set up, trying to remember all of the skills we were going to be doing and remembering where we were supposed to go in the in the caves that I didn't think to take any pictures. On Saturday we did some lectures and line drills. On Sunday, we went to Ginnie Springs and dove in the Ballroom which is a cavern where a lot of people do their cavern training. We did a few drills like following line with a covered mask, finding the line with a covered mask, and swimming for 50 feet with out any regulator supplied air. On Sunday afternoon, we went to a different part of Ginnie Springs to dive in the Devils Ear/Eye Cave System. However, I wasn't able to dive because my dive computer on my rebreather had a small leak and wasn't working correctly. The main line through the cave is called the gold line. When going down the gold line you encounter plastic cave arrows every 50 to 100 feet that point towards the cave's exit. You will also come across to cave arrows that are with in a couple inches of each other. This means that there is another line close by that goes to another part of the cave. When you want to go down the other line you attach a line to the gold line between the arrows and then swim to the other line and attach it so that you always have a continuous ways out of the cave. Connecting the two lines is called a jump. On Monday morning we went back to Ginnie Springs and dove in the Devil's Eye. We entered the cave and once we made it to the gold line I attached a reel to it and practiced using a reel through the Catacombs. When we were done in the Catacombs we attached the reel back to the main line. Then we continued into the cave and went about 950 feet into the cave to the Maple Leaf and made a jump to another line and then turned the dive. On the second dive we went a little ways into the cave and made a jump to another line that went through the Big Room and Bone room and the came back where we had put in a jump on the previous dive by the Maple Leaf. Since I was the last person on the team I removed the jump and we exited the cave. While exiting the cave I removed all of the jumps that we had put in and we again went through the Catacombs where we practiced a no visibility exit and I removed the primary line back to the surface. On the first dive I was really nervous since it was the first time I had been in a cave in over a year and the first time I had been in one on a rebreather. I had to keep reminding myself to slow down and take slow deep breaths. Also on the way in you are going against the flow of the cave so you have to pull yourself along. The nice thing about exiting was that you could usually just float out with minimal effort. Also on the first dive we went farther into the cave than I did in my entire open circuit cave course. That is one of the benefits of CCR cave diving. I think it really hit me on one dive where I looked at my computer and noticed that I had been in the cave for over 80 minutes and I didn't have to worry about running out of air. On day 3 we went to Little River Spring where we did 2 more dives and went through the Mud Tunnel and the Merry Go Round. I did most of the line laying and jumps again and removed them on the way out on the second dive. Laying line and jumps seemed to be a common thing for me to do through out the week. On day 4 we went to Peacock Springs. Peacock is a little different from the other caves because there is no flow in the cave so you have to swim everywhere you go. Unfortunately I made the mistake of not wearing the pair of socks that came with my dry suit under garments on the first dive and I got blisters on the back of my heels. That made the rest of the dives that week somewhat painful. We entered through the Peacock 1 entrance and and made our way through Olson Sink where you almost surface. Before you get to the Olson sink the gold line ends and you have to put in a line connecting it to the gold line on the other side. From there we went all the way to the exit of the Peanut Restriction where we put a jump into it and then turned around and exited. On the second dive we entered the Peanut Restriction from the other side near the Peacock 1 entrance and swam all the way to the jump we put in on the first dive at it's end. We then removed that jump and exited the cave the same way we exited it on the first dive. The total for the day was about 8000 feet. Everyone was very tired after this. On day 5 we went back to Ginnie Springs and did the Hill 400 circuit and the Rollercoaster circuit. There was a lot more people at Ginnie diving that day than we saw the rest of the week. On the second dive my father-in-law and brother-in-law took the dive off for various reasons but the dive was pretty awesome. On day 6 we went to Madison Blue Springs. When we first got there a couple of other divers had just finished. They said that it was a boring dive. They must have been crazy. We went into the cave and did the Godzilla room Circuit and then continued farther into the cave and surfaced in Martz sink for about 10 minutes. Then we went back into the cave until Half Hitch and turned around. On the way out we practiced the lost diver drill and then with about 300 feet left I was told I was out of air and I switched to my bailout for the remainder of the dive. Thankfully this was the last dive of the trip, because I was worn out. For the week I accumulated 820+ minutes of cave bottom time and over 1000 minutes total which includs deco and safety drills. On Saturday we had a few short lectures and a test. It was a great experience and I am excited to do more cave diving in the future!