Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Record Cave Dive

Ralph Buttigieg
Sydney NSW
Due to computer problems I have been off line for over a week, but those problems have been largely solved. In the meantime explorers have been busy. Here's a report of an expedition in Dennis's home state of Florida.

Photograph courtesy David Rhea

On Dec 15, 2007 divers from the Global Underwater Explorers’ WKPP team completed one of the most celebrated cave dives in the world. Jarrod Jablonski and Casey Mckinlay completed this dive in order to prove the connection between Wakulla Springs and Leon Sinks cave systems. As a result of the connection the twocaves have become one system formally known as the Wakulla- Leon Sinks Cave system. This cave is the longest cave in the United States and the fourth largest cave in the world. In order to prove the connection the divers traveled a distance of nearly seven miles (36,000 feet). The Scuba dive set two world records including the longest cave dive between two entrances and the longest traverse in a deep cave. The dive required the use of Halcyon rebreathers which allowed the divers to spend nearly seven hours at a depth of 300 feet, followed by approximately 15 hours of decompression.
This effort is one aspect of a more elaborate endeavor to map the complex cave systems beneath the land surface of Florida. This multi-decade project is known as the Woodville Karst Plain Project- a project of the non-profit Global Underwater Explorers and involves the efforts of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations including explorers, researchers, regulators and concerned citizens. The group has dedicated many thousands of hours to the exploration and mapping of complex, underwater cave systems and is often called upon to assist government and private organizations to study and conserve this fragile ecosystem.....