News & Links : Ricks Cave Update 1

Sept. 5th 2009
Update and Photos by Josh Thornton

Almost a year after my dives in this system last fall, I was finally able to see the end of the line and actually lay some new line!

Richard and Tom Lamb went in first. They waited in the dry section so they could get some video of us coming around and up into this beautiful section of the cave. Michael Thornton, Matt Mimnaugh and I went in as a team about 20 min behind Richard and Tom.

After navigating Wayne’s Waterfall (we all agree it is much easier to leave your cylinders attached…) Michael and I started in on the first dive past the Moon Pool since Oct 10th of 2008. We were pleasantly surprised to find my thin exploration line was in great condition after a year under water in a high flow cave system. We only had to repair a section of about 30 feet.

I had almost forgot the beauty of this 2nd part of the cave. Swimming through the giant crack, and swimming along the bottom that is covered with large rounded stones (recently named “Michael’s Stones”) reminded me of my adventures last fall. As we came up on the end of the line (appox. 2000-2200 ft penetration) Michael was eager to lay line in a virgin passageway in the cave.

Michael took the lead and laid out another 200-300 ft of line. At this point we were headed up the giant crack. Soon, Michael called the dive right as we were engulfed in a cloud of silt. The visibility quickly went from 100 ft to 1 inch. Because of the lack of tie off points, we reeled in 150 ft of our new line and left the reel at our last tie off point. Cold and tired, Michael and I made it back to the dry section to talk to Tom and Matt who were to go in after us.

We explained what we had done to Tom and Matt as they headed into the Moon Pool. They were to go to the reel we had left, and continue laying new line. Shortly into their dive, Tom’s primary light failed, so they had to call the dive. Very frustrating for all, but what are we gonna do?

We are very excited to continue surveying the first section, and start the survey of the 2nd section this fall! Hopefully sometime soon we can have a rough map of this beautiful system right in our backyard!

Special thanks to Randy Thornton for his supporting roll- he came up to dive, but ended up just helping all of us that day.