Today the team went to Sanlando Spring for bacterial sampling. This small cave system exhibits high flow up through a 45 degree shaft into a placid surface pool used for swimming and sunbathing by the surrounding community. The furthest a diver can get is to a depth of 45 feet where the cave passage is blocked by breakdown (broken rocks). The dive team today consisted of Karl, Renee and Andrew. Renee and Karl took the all-important water samples whilst Andrew took photographs. This cave is hard work to get water samples from because the high water flow tends to rip the sample containers out of the diversÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ hands.
After fighting their way past the cloud of catfish and through the narrow entrance restriction, the divers took the first sample at the start of the permanent guideline in the cavern, still dimly lit by daylight coming in the entrance. They then fought their way down the narrow shaft to take more water samples at the mid-point of the tunnel. It took considerable physical effort to progress into the cave and at one point Renee and Andrew had to stop to deal with a line entanglement. Sampling in the ferocious current was tricky but Renee and Karl accomplished this with great skill. Finally they moved onto the breakdown area at the bottom of the shaft, taking more water samples for analysis by the scientist on the project. The sand in the cave here when disturbed gets picked up by the flow and flung into the diversÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ faces, creating an underwater sandstorm. Finally, they made their ascent carefully up the narrow shaft, being careful to hold on to prevent the current causing too rapid an ascent and possible decompression sickness. After a 5 minute safety stop the team surfaced to join the analyses crew topside.
Thank you again to Seminole Scuba in Lake Mary, Florida for your support! And to Karl, our apologies for forgetting to list you as an author yesterday, thanks for all your help!!
Amy and Allie Giannotti