03/17/2012(Sat) - 1 DiveNo.421 - Weekie Wachee[Florida, USA]

Diver : Michael Clay
Dive Master :
Buddy : Billy Fowler
D.Service : Geekdiver
Weather : Sunny
Temp. : 82 Fahrenheit
Ave.w.temp : 73 Fahrenheit
Min.w.temp : 73 Fahrenheit
Diving Suit : DUI Dry Suit
Inner Wear : T100
Weight : 0 Lbs
Tank Material : Steel 108s
Equipment : Cave Gear
S.I.Time :
Time In : 17:17:53
Time Out : 17:41:14
Dive Time : 00:21:25
Ave. Depth : 46 ft
Max. Depth : 111 ft
Safety Stop.Depth : ft
Safety Stop.Time : min
Tank Capacity : 80 Cu/Ft
Pres. In : 3000 PSI
Pres. Out. : 2500 PSI
Air Consum. : 10.7 Cu/Ft/Min
Visibility H. : 100 ft
Visibility V. : 100 ft
Water Cond. : Current
Access : Shore
Water Body : Spring
Tank Gas : Air Rating : ***
Dive Number : 421
Total Time : 344:47
Dive Type : Cave Dive

This was a qualification dive for the Weekie Wachee exploration project. There were about 12 divers attempting to get into the cave at 200ft. Only about 4 made it. I was *not* one of those. :-) Billy was our team leader. There were two others in our group for a total of 4 divers.

I started the dive with 4 tanks; double (sidemount) 108s with 10/50 Trimix, aluminum 80 with 32% Nitrox and my aluminum 40 deco bottle with 100% Oxygen. I got down to the platform at 30ft and stowed my deco bottle. I followed the team down into the crack, fighting the ~380cfm flow. I don't mind high-flow caves and did relatively well getting in. We made it to the perch at 110ft. I saw Billy drop his travel bottle and started to take mine off. As I reached back, I accidentally unclipped one of my steel 108s. As I felt it start to pull away, I grabbed it and attempted to re-attach it. With such high flow, I was unable to get it reconnected quickly. I saw Billy leave the perch and continue into the cave with the other two in our team. At that point I decided to abort my dive and start working my way back out.

Billy later told me that he was just trying to get out of my way. Had I known that, I may have spent a little more time trying to re-secure my 108. But with the team already ahead of me, I didn't want to hold anyone up.

As I worked my way back up the crack, I moved slowly and deliberately to ensure that I didn't get carried out, uncontrolled by the current. I was still holding the loose clip of my 108 to keep the tank from flying away from me in the current. As I got back to the top of the crack, a couple of the safety divers approached me to make sure I was okay. I gave them the signal and proceeded with me ascent. I worked my way back to my deco bottle, then back to the exit point. With my head hung low, I surfaced and admitted defeat.

Joe was just getting ready to go in with his team. He asked me to take his deco bottle down to the platform and stow it. As you can see in the dive profile, I was happy to stay in the water a little longer and be of some use. I came back to the surface and explained to Joe where his bottle had been stowed. At that point, I decided to exit the water and remove my gear.

Billy surfaced a few minutes later. He said that one of the other divers had panicked and he had to help him out. One of the divers (maybe the same) got into the flow and shot to the surface, blowing his deco stop(s). He quickly dropped back down to the platform for an extended deco stop. Billy's head was bleeding. He said that the flow had blown him into the rock wall and almost knocked him out.

Once out of the water, Billy's head had a pretty bad gash in it. Billy was in pain and a little dizzy. We blew off the team dinner afterwards and Billy asked me to drive home. Billy told me the following day that he went to the hospital with his wife and got 3 staples in his head. OUCH!!

It was an exhilarating dive but kind of sad at the same time. They did say that we were all welcome to come back and try again. I may have to do that...