Had an interesting dive into Giant Cave today- Heading to the crack from the boat at about 10 feet of depth, vis dropped to less than a foot. Had to feel my way down to the deco line at 20 feet then do the same into the top of the Chimney. Vis went between 1-3 feet all the way down the chimney thru the restriction. It cleared almost immediately after popping out in the big room. Had an easy line to survey that was fairly close to the entrance, then I planned on just poking around a bit before heading back out. Going back into the restriction, vis again was 1-3 feet, but as I got closer to the chimney it went down to less than a foot and stayed that way all the way up. When I got to the end of the chimney line which is still about 40 feet from the surface and still an overhead environment, where we can usually see daylight - it was black as night- At the end of the line I started to rise up to the ceiling thinking I would just follow it out, but right away, bumped into a wall where I thought it should be open. I then dropped straight down to the bottom of the ledge near the end of the line (vis with my50 watt light less than a foot) and decided to swim along the floor as that is what I am familiar with because that is the route I always use going in and out. I have well over a hundred passages thru this part of the cave so I should know it like the back of my hand, but there is something a bit unnerving about coming to the end of a line and seeing only blackness. Swimming along the floor I again bumped my head into the wall, but as I did I felt the rope that goes straight up to the end of the chimney hit my shoulder. I grabbed the rope and followed it up. Next prob- How to find my deco bottle at 20 feet. worst case scenario I swim up to about 22 feet and swim around the crack until I run into to. Fortunately muscle memory sort of kicked in and a floated right up to the line about 5 feet from my bottle.
So what did I learn from all this....? Because I have been in this cave so many times, I just took for granted that making the last 40 feet or so from the end of the line to the surface would be no problem in the low to no vis. I was very wrong about this. I should have run a quick and easy line from my deco line to the end of the guideline at the beginning of the dive and saved myself the headache and stress of getting the last few feet to the surface. We have had a couple divers get a bit turned around in this area in the past, so I should have known better. Also when I got to the end of the line coming out- I should have tied my expl. reel to the end of the guidline while searching for the entrance, but ego got the best of me. So just sharing this as I really thought I had see all the entrance to Giant Cave had to throw at us. But learned today again that Giant Cave can be a MF.... Great lesson learned. Marty
Another great piece of diving history discovered in Caye Chapel Cave- A Jim Bowden line arrow circa mid 90's
I have been telling people that I have about 7,000 feet of line in Giant Cave after our exploration this past year. Well, that was totally wrong... It's 13191 ft and counting. Thanks Jim Coke for the help with that math. So, does any body want me to do their taxes obviously I got some skills at arthritic.
After a year of more than a hundred dives in Giant Cave. Yesterday the conditions were such that it felt like a whole new cave when I dropped into her. I love surprises. It certainly keeps you on your game!
Today Chip created a "main loop" in Giant Cave. This loop, which is about 2500 ft long, ties together the work of many of the Giant Cave explorers over the past 30 years. While it might require some tweaking because visibilty for much of the dive was limited, hopefully this will be the final "gold line" for Giant Cave. In short we have established a base camp and are one step closer to opening Giant Cave up to the general public.
Another nice piece of diving history- The discovery of a Jim Coke arrow. Jim Coke was instrumental in helping to make cave diving what it is today in Mexico. Jim is one of the few early explorers in Belize as well, being among the first to Dive Giant cave as well as the "Inland" Blue Hole and Caye Chapel cave to name a few- Thanks Jim!
Well it took a while. But we are finally getting the re-surveys to a point where we are starting to see the work of previous explorers. —
Giant Cave Entrance