Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Peacock at the Zoo in Syndey

Quick Update: The Pit, Bailing Out and Unconscious Diver Lift

I wanted to give you a quick update on current events.  First, I didn’t pass my multi-stage course last week.  I completely blundered the last dive.  I was diving sidemount with two stages and a scooter.  Each tank had a different starting pressure and I was exhausted.  I was in over my head and it really showed.  Steve told me to go and practice and come back for one more day.  I am writing a detailed article, however, we have been working on our Pit Project and I just haven’t had the time or the energy to complete it.  It should be a good laugh for you.

Now about our Pit Project, Patrick and I have started to assemble a deep diving team.  We recruited two divers for intermediate and surface support, Etienne Rousseau and Alain Pocobelli.  We had our first team meeting on Saturday night.  Patrick and I laid out our plans, the rules/expectations, and roles.  They both agreed.  So now we have the makings of a team.

On Sunday, the four of us went to The Pit.  The first task was to setup and test a method to lift an unconscious diver from the water.  We spent six hours rigging and testing.  I was lifted twice and Alain once.  It was a painful experience and we learned a lot.  By the time we got through rigging, Patrick and I called our dive.  Alain and Etienne went for a dive to 155ft to check out the site and find the start of the main deep line.  Both were diving air and were seriously narked.  It was kind of funny.  After finding the line they returned on schedule.  We cleaned up and left a little disappointed but overall satisfied.  We really wanted to make our dives.  However, the day was a success; now we know how to lift someone.

Today, Patrick, Chris and I went back to The Pit.  Chris is a Polish cave rescue expert.  He came out to help us rig our diver lift system.  His advice was invaluable!  We were about 80% there with our system.  Chris landed us a home run.  It isn’t perfect, but it is better.  We need to collect additional climbing gear to perfect the system.

When we were done, Patrick and I staged our tanks on the down line and we left for my first dive into the Wakulla Room.  We had two objectives for the dive:

  1. It was my deepest dive and I wanted to reach Wakulla and check all my swim times.  At this level I need to know how much time it will take to transit and how much gas to plan for.  What I discovered is that I am slower then Patrick, no surprise there.  We planned 7 minutes to the turn at 220ft and 7 minutes swimming in at 280ft.  It took me 9 minutes to reach the turn and I will need another 5 or 10 minutes in the Wakulla Room to traverse it.
  2. Patrick and I both agreed we should bailout from the Wakulla Room to confirm gas consumption and for practice.  Today was his chance.  We were just a couple of minutes from the By-Pass and Patrick gave me the bailout sign.  He switched over to open circuit and started to exit.  This experiment confirmed our estimates for his gas consumption and provided some good lessons for the both of us.  Two hundred eighty feet is really deep.  And in a cave, it is deeper.  As a side note, I bailed to my BOV a couple of times and watched the SPG.  It dropped with each breadth, wild!  19cuft tanks are pretty small.

Tomorrow, we are going to The Pit with Alain and it will be my turn to bailout.  I am looking forward to the exercise!  I think it is going to be a lot of fun and educational.   Patrick’s objective is to check the alternate restriction into Jill’s Chamber.  We are looking for an easier route for passing a scooter through.

Again, there is no need to fear.  When we are done with this series of dives, we will write detailed articles and share what we learned!