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Rock Bluff – 10/13/2009

Jerry launching his canoe.It’s finally cooled off a little bit and after a beautiful paddle up the Suwannee, Jerry and I finally pull up to the spring. We can see the boil at Shotgun like a crazy thing and I wonder how hard it’ll be blowing out down below. Throwing the tanks in the water and getting dressed, we josh back and forth about the usual stuff, letting the cave bubble away silently behind us.

Finally we’ve said all there is to say and it’s time to go adjust some attitudes, so we grin, drop down and Jerry grabs the shovel and starts getting the worst of the rocks out of the way. I’m staying back just a bit, whack, obviously not far enough as a good size chunk of rock tags me so I decide to retreat a foot or so. My buddy slithers in like he’s done dozens of dives here, which of course he has and I grit my teeth and head into the tiny slit. My reg starts gushing so I wrap my lips around it trying to get a handhold and I’m wedged, finally! I take a moment to try and get my breathing under control and continue to push in. I wedge a fin up in the ceiling behind me, my elbow edges in, I get some leverage and sweet, I pop up and out of the flow. I look over and Jerry’s grinning at me having tied off the primary, but I need a second to recover, holy smokes I’m getting old! Finally we head off, I decide to switch regs, wham, and a free flow just starts kicking. Angrily I flash my buddy, take the offending reg apart, clean it out and hesitantly take a breath, cool we’re off….

Getting ready to paddle to the cave.Rock Bluff is a beautiful cave varying from gorgeous domes to wicked restrictions with two spring tunnels converging approximately 40 feet from the entrance. The North route, the bigger and siltier of the two, will be the second part of our dive today but first we’re off to explore the South route which is definitely the tighter of the two.

I drop into the steady rhythm of breathing and start to enjoy the small sidemount cave. Jerry’s doing the beautiful kick up in front of me and even though there’s silt, it’s acting relatively benign. I’m keeping a good eye on features and line positioning as we head in, since it seems like it’d be good knowledge to have on the exit! While things are small, it’s not uncomfortable by any means and the groove starts to find a nice rhythym. We turn a corner and finally I’m confronted by the first major restriction. Jerry negotiates it nicely, so while thinking to myself “oh, how bad could it be”, I flip onto my side and start wiggling. Luckily, it’s not too silty and after a couple of contortions, I pop through. Jerry glances at me, I give him the hang loose sign, he grins through the reg and we continue on.

Due to my antics at the entrance I hit turn pressure a tad prematurely, reluctantly flash Jerry and we flip around. The ride out is uneventful, although having the flow behind me while wiggling back through the restrictions, made me understand the whole cork in the champagne bottle thing.

The backup dive vehicles :-)We hit the primary reel, wait for a moment for the silt to go by, recalculate gas and confirm our line to the North route. This is almost a different cave, billowing silt piles instead of tight rock squeezes, but still gorgeous to behold. We head up and down, following the twisting tunnel through the confines of the rock and life is good, another kickass day of diving. All too soon, Jerry gives me the turnaround and we slowly work our way back through the puffy clouds of nebulous silt that flutter everywhere. My hand idly traces the line in case we lose vis, but it’s all good as I look down, see rock, look up and see our reel.

Finally I head back to the entrance with Jerry behind me and scoot out through the small entrance hole in a cloud of sand and shells. As we pop out of the fissure crack I’m laughing through my reg as I head up to the daylight and yes, another day has been exemplified by a great cave dive. I start babbling away at Jerry and don’t even notice the elderly gentleman and his wife behind us on their boat. He asks “y’all were in that cave?” We reply “yes sir” and he just shakes his head……

  1. Scuba Steve Said,

    Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google. I’ll bookmark your site, thanks for the post!

  2. Ceteatork Said,

    Thanks for this info.

  3. Rich Said,

    No problem, thanks for taking the time to read it…. 🙂

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