Troglobitic Critters Present Themselves!

Survey Essentials

Rhiannon prepares for survey

Terrence and Renee strike a pose

Andrew views crustaceans

Troglobitic crustaceans

Terrence preserves fauna

Today the dive team were working on producing a map of the no-mount cave at Wekiwa Springs. Terrence and Andrew, using the same no-mount cylinder configuration they had been using all week, followed the cave to the previous limit of exploration and then set about finding out if they could get any further. Having drawn a blank at the most obvious continuation of the cave passage, they tried another passage with a lot of flow coming from it. But then the flow seemed to disappear and it was almost impossible to get any further. After careful searching they managed to make a little progress, but it appears that the cave at this point is too small for a diver to swim into even with the most streamlined equipment configuration. Reluctantly they turned around and surveyed the cave passage on their way out.

Meanwhile, Rhiannon and Renee had the task of surveying the cavern of the same cave. Both of them were using sidemount gear which made getting through the entrance restriction rather more difficult. After a bit of sand shoveling they entered the cave and commenced the survey. A fixed point in the cave was established where the line begins. From this point they measured radials using a tape. Depth, azimuth and specific features were also noted in the survey. Rhiannon and Renee had to change their survey plan due to an added challenge. While exploring upstream, Andrew and Terrence dislodged various particulates that flowed out through the cavern reducing the visibility to near zero. After nearly an hour, the exploration team exited the cave restoring the conditions for proper survey. The survey team continued for another hour then emerged from the system with little difficulty. The data collected will be evaluated and added to the existing map.

Several troglobitic crustaceans were collected from the Wekiwa Springs system today. They were properly preserved and are being sent to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL, for identification and documentation.

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