09/30/2006(Sat) No.1 - Paradise Springs[Florida]

Diver : Michael Clay
Dive Master :
Buddy : Ed Clay
D.Service :
Weather : Sunny
Temp. : 75 Fahrenheit
Ave.w.temp : 74 Fahrenheit
Min.w.temp : 74 Fahrenheit
Diving Suit : Dry Suit
Inner Wear : Polartec
Weight : 0 Lbs
Tank Material : Steel
Equipment : Cave Gear
S.I.Time : 00:00:00
Time In : 10:31:25
Time Out : 11:07:22
Dive Time : 00:36:00
Ave.Depth : 52 ft
Max.Depth : 95 ft
Safety Stop.Depth : 15 ft
Safety Stop.Time : 3 min
Tank Capacity : 232 Cu/Ft
Pres. In : 3600 PSI
Pres. Out. : 2800 PSI
Air Consum. : .91 CuFt/Min
Visibility H. : 60 ft
Visibility V. : 60 ft
Access1 : Shore
Access2 : Spring
Rating : **
Dive Number : 207
Total Time : 176:56

This was supposed to be an easy, cool dive for my dad. I wanted to show him the history in this cavern. He was a little light and had trouble getting down. I offered to get him more weight but he said he'd be ok once he got down. I, on the other hand, was doing well for my first time diving dry with my side-mount gear. I expected to have to do more trimming out. We headed down to the bottom where I showed him the cave entrance. I took him around through the restriction above the cave entrance and we started up. On the way, I stopped at the side-mount restriction on the left there. I signaled to my dad that I was going to head in and asked him to wait. He said, "OK".

I looked in the crack and it just looked like rocks on the floor but I figured that proper procedure required me to run a line. I grabbed a spool and attached it to the main line and proceded to enter the restriction. It was kind of tight but I made it in without too much effort. I went back to the entrance of the tunnel. I noticed that the floor, while it looked like rocks, was really crunchy and very silty. I decided to turn around at that point because I really wasn't planning on leaving my dad alone for very long. As I started to turn, I realized that the line had worked it's way between my legs. Since my back was against the soft ceiling and my stomach was on the silty floor this posed quite a dilemma. I stretched my arm out to my side holding the spool as far from my body as possible and straightened my legs. The line popped free. As I turned around, I found myself in a complete whiteout. Zero Viz! I took a deep breath and jokingly told myself that I was going to die and leave my dad out there wondering. :-) I tugged the line to determine which way was out and started following it back. I cleared the silt and could now see the exit. That was really cool! Some day I'll have to go back in and follow it to the back.

As I came out, I saw my dad patiently sitting on a rock waiting for me to return from my endeavor. I grabbed my line off the main line and motioned for my dad to follow me. I checked his gas supply and saw that he was already at 1,000 PSI. We started working our way back up the cavern toward the exit. I took him up to show him the fossilized sand dollars. As we got to them, he started having buoyancy problems again, bouncing off the ceiling. I tried to get him down to show him the big one. I think he saw it but he couldn't keep himself down. I pulled away from the wall and quickly looked for the mastadon bone but figured that it was more important to get my dad out before panic set in. We swam toward the exit. My dad was almost vertical, swimming down. I had him grab the float anchor and told him that we should do our three minute safety stop. He said that he was OK so we hung out there for a while. :-) After the three minutes, I led him around a few rocks up to a post where we could make a controlled ascent.

I felt a little depressed after this dive. I was expecting this to be a real cool experience for my dad but it seemed to be nothing but problems. I get the feeling that he only dives with me because I want him to. This experience will most likely exploit that reluctance. :-(