Hot Hot Heat!

Cambrian diver Bill Ward emerges from the inky darkness of Rose Sink

Cambrian diver Bill Ward emerges from the inky darkness of Rose Sink

Rose Sink – June 27, 2010
Sarah Brightman

My name is Sarah Brightman and I’m the 2010 Boston Sea Rovers Frank Scalli Annual Summer Intern. One part of my summer internship with the Sea Rovers includes spending a week in the Florida Springs working with the Cambrian Foundation. My main goal while working with the Cambrian Foundation is to learn more about research diving in submerged caves.

Today, the Cambrian Foundation made its way to Rose Sink (an offset sinkhole) which is part of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. After setting up shop and getting the gear ready, the first dive team consisting of Conrad Pfeifer, Bill Ward, and Karl Shreeves descended below the surface of duckweed and into the cave. After about an hour under, the dive team surfaced and brought back water, invertebrate, and bacteria samples.

Amy and Carl S. prepare to deploy the sonde with the dive team

Amy and Carl S. prepare to deploy the sonde with the dive team

As the second dive team, which involved Jef Frank, Terrance Tysall, and Carl Saieva got ready to go, the temperatures climbed to the high nineties. With little shade and no wind, the heat was practically unbearable as the research team on the surface analyzed all of the water samples. The surface team (comprised of Amber Taylor, Dr. Franklin, Marissa Williams, and I) was analyzing the water samples for alkalinity, ammonia, sulfide, and iron while on-site. Each of these parameters plays an important role in the way that microbes make food inside the dark cave.

Alex fills sample vials with water so they don't get crushed under pressure during the descent

Alex fills sample vials with water so they don't get crushed under pressure during the descent

At the end of the day, everyone packed up our small caravan of cars and headed to Amigos Dive Center in Ft. White, Florida, where Wayne Kinard provided the Cambrian Foundation with donated air fills.  Thank you so much, Wayne!  Chef Marissa and her kitchen assistants provided a lovely meal of tacos and appetizers and LOTS OF WATER which marked a yummy end to a wonderful (but hot) day!

During my stay, I am beginning my cavern training with Conrad Pfeifer, a cave diving instructor and scientific diver with the Cambrian Foundation. Due to the short time period I am spending in Florida, I may not have time to finish a course, but I hope I will! So far I have learned that it is one thing to read a cavern diving manual and another to put your skills to the test. Just practicing line drills on land is hard enough! However, the more I am around the research divers at the Cambrian Foundation, the more I learn from them and the advice they have to offer to a newbie. The surface team is fun, but it’s much cooler in the water! Hopefully tomorrow after we finish our sampling and analysis, I’ll be able to experience a taste of what these divers are getting to do on my first cavern dive!

Questions or comments for the Trilobite?

 

The sampling team provide proof that cave diving CAN be a spectator sport!

The sampling team provide proof that cave diving CAN be a spectator sport!

Team Members:
Sarah Brightman, Boston Sea Rovers Intern
Jef Frank
Rima Franklin, Ph.D
Amy Giannotti
Bob Giguere
Alex Houston, Cambrian Foundation Intern
Conrad Pfeifer
Carl Saieva
Kris Shannon
Karl Shreeves
Amber Taylor
Terrence Tysall
Bill Ward
Marissa Williams

A view of Peacock Springs State Park just before sunset on the drive home

A view of Peacock Springs State Park just before sunset on the drive home

The steep bluff of porous karst at Orange Grove Sink is a common geological feature of offset sinks

The steep bluff of porous karst at Orange Grove Sink is a common geological feature of offset sinks

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