Mission Ludicrous

Cuban Tree Frog listens in on post – dive briefing

Lunch with Ms. Hole at Macaroni Grill

Renee prepares to collect bacteria from the cave

Terrence checks the sampling equipment pre – dive

Woody using hydrolab to measure surface conditions

Marissa fixes the samples for Dr. Franklin

Today the Cambrian Team dove in Sanlando Spring, a scientifically significant spring in a private subdivision. The dive team had three goals: to collect water samples at four stations, to document organisms found in the cave, and to survey line in the cave put in by Terrence and Andrew Pitkin previously. The topside team would collect, analyze and record the data from the surface and from the samples brought up by the dive team.

The work began with Woody, Ricky, Joshua, and Boz helping the dive team schlep their equipment waterside, followed by Amy’s scientific equipment. Then while, waiting on the dive team, they performed qualitative water evaluations (went swimming).

Sanlando is fascinating, but a small and tight, high flow system. The entrance is very restrictive, requiring both finesse and strength to enter (especially if you’re Karl, who has the latter but needs more of the former). You squeeze into a small room, then follow the line, which goes nearly straight down in a tight corridor, so that you feel like you’re swimming down the throat of a giant fire hose nozzle, except that in a fire hose you don’t have rocks and debris flying up at you.

Terrence began by collecting the water samples, assisted by Ricky in open water. As samples from each collection station came up, the surface crew, guided by Amy, documented ph, iron, sulfide, temperature, oxygen, salinity and other characteristics. Clawing his way in and out of the system, it took Terrence about 45 minutes to collect seven samples at each of four collection stations.

When Terrence finished his job, Karl and Renee entered to survey the cave, which proved an exercise in futility. Both reached the end of the line (after tremendous effort), joined by Terrence in the tiny high-flow room, just to make things interesting. Buffetted by the current, it took Karl 10 minutes to get the first azimuth and depth (primary survey data). After an aborted attempted at measuring sidewalls (the current kept spooling the tape measure away), he and Renee moved up to survey the next station. Located in the aforementioned nozzle, attempting to stop at this station – much less gather data – proved ludicrous.

While Karl and Renee were busy gathering information on different ways this cave cannot be surveyed, Terrence looked for cave organisms, coming up with some cave bacteria. They finished the dive after 90 minutes for Terrence and 45 minutes for Karl and Renee. Upon completing the day’s activity, Ms. Patty Hole joined up with us for dinner. Ms. Hole is the mother of Legare R. Hole, III, for whom the Legare R. Hole, III Memorial Scholarship is named.

Team Members:
John Boswell
Woody Dunkum
Amy Giannotti
Josh Owen
Renee Power
Karl Shreeves
Ricky Simon
Terrence Tysall
Marissa Williams

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