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DIR- GUE Cave 1 course report - Florida + Meredith Tanguay

Discussion in 'DIR' started by elgoog, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. elgoog

    elgoog DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco Bay area
    @CheckedBubbles and I headed to Cave Country in North Florida to do C1 with @mer. We also had the added bonus of having Annika Persson, a T1 instructor from Norway, join the class as part of her journey to becoming a cave instructor.

    Before I get into the report, I wanted to call out and give a big thank you to the North Florida Springs Alliance for all the work they put in to build and maintain the steps, decks and tank racks at the various state parks we dived on this trip. The difference it makes is truly significant - please consider donating so they can continue working for the cave diving community.

    A little background on the dive team - I had already done TDI Intro last year and it took me months and lot of work to get my tech pass. Bubbles is a T1 diver who got his tech pass on the first shot and whose T1 class is now used by our local instructor as the gold standard for how you prepare for and go through T1.
    So, uh, yeah. No pressure.

    Relatively short summary with key points below - quite a bit more detail on my blog.

    Day 0 at Troy Spring - Shakedown dive to make sure all our gear was functioning as expected. Nothing exploded and neither of us had forgotten anything super important when we did the drills. It was our first time with the Big Bertha HP130 doubles and a 60lb wing which was also uneventful. We also got familiarized with the fill setup at EE which is totes awesomesauce as you don't need to lug tanks back and forth between the van and fill station everyday. Also, heck yeah, cave fills!!
    Day 1 at EE for lectures/field drills and Gilchrist Blue for the swim test - Classroom work was pretty standard stuff for a GUE class and we covered a fair bit. The swim test was interesting as we swam along a 25yd tape laid out in the sand - no walls to push off but we completed it with oodles of time to spare. Breath hold was a non issue as well and we both made it 25yd on the first attempt.
    Day 2 at Blue Grotto - Fundies review (I felt super spazzy - my back kick was awful) and intro to reel work in the overhead. The bubble gun came out almost immediately, which surprised me as I was expecting a gentler progression into task loading. We already got cascading failures on the second reel run so my entire mental idea of how the class would build up went out the window. I'm pretty sure no 2 GUE classes are alike and the fact that we had Intro and T1 between us likely was a factor. Everything builds on top of the previous thing so you're always thinking and every experience comes with lessons. We had enough gas left and stayed in the water to do multiple trips around the line course in various combinations of mask off, blackout mask, touch contact and gas sharing.
    Day 3 at Peacock Springs - First real cave dives of the class starting on a super cold morning. We couldn't wait to get into our drysuits and in the water. We did 4 dives total on the Olsen and Peanut lines with light and reg failures and no-viz exits. We did a 24min run of no-viz exit and only covered 300ft as we were both figuring out the right technique. Lots of learning moments and extremely detailed and focused feedback at the debrief. This is my first GUE class on the tech ladder and today brought home the fact that it's a whole 'nother ball game.
    Day 4 at Madison Blue - Super pretty cave and a relatively gentle intro to flow. The failures cascaded a lot more today and resource management was they key. No viz gas sharing exit in flow was quite the rodeo. Anticipating and noticing even small depth changes and staying ahead of wing and drysuit buoyancy is key.

    Day 5 at Ginnie Springs - Oh boy, this was a lot more flow than yesterday and they told us it was moderate for around here :eek: Learning to use the cave well was the focus for the day - swimming into it as well as finding good spots to stabilize and deal with various failures. Reeling in and out of the Ear was its own special thing. The lost line drill truly illustrated the evil and sentient nature of cave line. Stay on top of it or it will fark your kaka up just 'cause it can. Both of us had our tie-offs fall off and had to unentangle it before we could continue and successfully find the line. Fun times. Also, my pull-and-glide deteriorated exponentially towards the end of the day so the outcome of that was fun too.
    IMG_20191123_082409.jpg PANO_20191123_081527.vr.jpg IMG_20191123_170936.jpg
    Day 6 at Orange Grove - Lots of improvement on the final day in all aspects. No viz exit over 200ft took us 9min and an all-3-posts-closed gas sharing exit from 300ft back on Olsen, up the mail slot and to the surface felt easy peasy. Wrap up with line entanglement and unconscious diver recovery drills followed by our graduation dive in Orange Grove :yeahbaby:
    We stayed in familiar locations for our post class dive days but got to see a lot more in all the passages. At Ginnie, we got to the areas near the Hill 400 and Roller Coaster jumps and at Peacock One, we made it to the Olsen sink gap and about 1200ft on the Peanut Line.

    The entire week was an absolutely amazing experience and I've come out of it as a much better diver - not just in the cave environment but overall. We were already looking at flights and work schedules for the next trip on our way back home! Can't wait :)

    Now, my fast ends and I can shovel Thanksgiving food into my face.

    - elgoog
  2. Jack Hammer

    Jack Hammer Solo Diver

    I saw the end of your class at Peacock. Congratulations on the pass
  3. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

    Congrats on passing the class. Sounds awesome.

    Why the huge rebreather wing and large tanks? Any specific reason or you just wanted to fill less?
  4. Jack Hammer

    Jack Hammer Solo Diver

    HP130s/LP104s are a pretty common BM tank size in cave country. The 60lb wing is the appropriate size for those. (That doesnt look like a rebreather wing to me).
    EireDiver606 and Caveeagle like this.
  5. elgoog

    elgoog DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco Bay area
    Yep, what @Jack Hammer said about those doubles being standard for BM.

    The wing I used for C1 was an Evolve 60. I use an Evolve 40 at home with LP85s and I think it would have probably worked for diving with these tanks, just not on the surface. I guess you could use your drysuit for that if you didn't have a 60lb wing ...
    EireDiver606 likes this.
  6. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    It’s pretty amusing to see little Mer climbing out of the water with them. I think she said her rig weights more than she does.

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