Rock Springs – February 5, 2009
Team Ice Cube gathered at Kelly Park in the guard house to greet the park staff. Due to below freezing temperature we had the park to ourselves! Welcome to Kyle Dilliplaine who has joined us for the first time. He is a senior at Seneca Valley High School in Harmony, PA. Assisting with this project will help Kyle fulfill some of his graduation requirements. We met Kyle and his Dad Mark this morning for the first time. We are very pleased to have Kyle along with us and we anticipate he will leave here better prepared for his future as a biologist!
Today I, Kyle, have arrived at Kelly Park to take part in this weekend’s cave exploration. Upon arrival I was greeted kindly by all park staff and Cambrian Foundation members. As I am not yet trained in cave diving, my duties for the week are topside. I helped to log divers in and out of the water as well as gas consumption. The divers maintained their own dive statistics as I am not an experienced surface supervisor with the Foundation. It will also be my duty to run through checklists every morning and prepare for collection of isopods, and amphipods. I will then preserve the specimens in alcohol for later analysis and identification.
Today’s focus was to lay new line in the cave system and map previously uncharted cave. However, a previous restriction had proven too small, and the flow too strong, for the divers to pass. There was no progress made farther on but side channels have proven promising for tomorrow’s push.
As the divers spent hours in the cave, I spent my time enjoying the beauty of Rock Springs. The striking palms and crystal clear water coupled with vibrant wildlife paint a great picture. Apart from the frigid air, this would have been a great place to dive and I am very jealous. As an aspiring marine biologist myself, I am just glad to be a part of this project and would love to join them again soon, hopefully as a diver.
Andy, Renee and Bob dived together to get some photographs around the ‘Dali pendants’, some striking rock formations about 200-300 feet into the cave which have been formed by dissolution of the limestone around them. After seeing Bob out of the cave, Andy and Renee then continued on to try to get through the restriction at Eureka Sink. After about 45 minutes of swimming and pulling into the strong but crystal clear current, they arrived at the small room at the end of the line. The flow coming out of the fissure in the floor has created a gravel slope with sharp rocks and surface debris such as paint tins and broken glass held up by the water flow coming up out of the vent. Unfortunately the irregular shape of the opening and the strong flow combined to make the restriction impassable today. They therefore made their way out, taking care of some outstanding survey work on their way.
In an effort to keep warm while changing the team used a collapsible hunting blind purchased by Renee. This proved to be a useful tool for changing and also for hiding from lions and tigers and bears. It’s not a very good tool for sneaking up on isopods though! Hot chocolate and Krispy Kreme doughnuts (not hot now) made the team extremely happy!
Once dry and still not warm, the team headed over to Seminole Scuba for some fills. Thank you Laura and Bill at Seminole Scuba for donating fills and supporting our efforts!
Tomorrow two more divers will join in for the slightly warmer fun!!