Tuesday Sept 22nd
Update and Photos by Josh Thornton

Josh Thornton, Matt Mimnaugh and Amy Smith ran up to Ricks for a quick dive. Amy ended up volunteering to clear rocks from the entrance for an hour (MANY THANKS!) while Matt and Josh went on what was to be a leisurely dive. The dive was full of the usual excitement in being in a barely known cave, and the awe of the 100+ ft of viz.

Getting to the first dry section (1300 ft.), Matt and I still had plenty of gas and decided to climb Wayne’s Waterfall and haul our cylinders to the Moon Pool (1600 ft) and see if we couldn’t make it to the end of the line. We picked up the reel that Michael and I left a few weeks ago and started looking.

Matt swam with the reel in the direction I thought was the way to go, only to hit a dead end. At that moment we both looked up and saw air above us. I think it is safe to say that we both thought this was most likely another small air space as seen in previous areas of the cave. Seconds later I notice water running into the space right above us. At that moment I new this had to be another dry section similar to the first, which was about 750 feet behind us (rough estimate). I signaled Matt and we headed towards it.

As we popped our heads up, I can’t explain the feeling that rushes through not only your mind, but also your whole body as one lays their eyes on such a beautiful cave, a cave that no one had ever seen before. Not missing a beat Matt and I ripped off our fins and started up the rocks.

I came around the corner to find Matt awestruck looking up and to the left. “Now THAT’S a waterfall!” he said, as I looked up. That moment might very well qualify as the most exciting moment in my diving life. A stunning 20 ft over hung waterfall spilled into a 10 ft pool of crystal clear water. We were like two boys in a candy shop!

After exploring the second dry section we now have 2 different ways to go. The first would be up the waterfall- we shinned our lights up into a large room where the water enters the dry section. The second will be another source of water with an entrance similar to the original entrance to Ricks. We “poked our heads” back about 50 ft into this passageway, and it looks promising.

Although we only added another 30-50 ft of line from where Michael and I explored last time, this dive was a huge success. Of course Michael was excited to hear about it, but a little upset that we barely missed it last time. The visibility was a decent 10-15 ft on the way out, which we can’t complain about. Without any survey work done past the first dry section Matt and I estimate that total penetration, including the second dry section is around 2500 ft.