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Thread: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

  1. #1

    RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    We are pleased to announce the successful completion of one of the biggest dives in the history of the WKPP. Thanks to a massive team effort, the lead exploration team of Jablonski and McKinlay explored the new "R-Tunnel" cave out past 23800'/7254m, adding 7640'/2328m of new line in the process. Jarrod and Casey were both using Halcyon RB80 rebreathers during the dive, as well as RB80s rigged as deco breathers once they returned to the basin. Total time in water was over 25 hours. Here are two short stories about the dive from the local television news report, as well as Casey's preliminary summary:

    WCTV - HomePage
    WCTV - HomePage

    ---------
    Casey McKinlay's Update:

    Huge thanks to everyone that assisted with this past weekend’s record dive. The goal was to push north and west from the Wakulla side for a connection between R-Tunnel and Leon Sinks. Jarrod and I gave it everything we had and then some but the cave refused to give it up despite adding 7,640ft in some of the most incredible cave discovered to date in the WKP. The cave stayed large and deep as we worked our way upstream; first west, northwest, north and eventually breaking it open into massive conduit bearing northeast. We believe we worked our way around a large collapse of some sort and are back on track to intersect Leon Sinks somewhere downstream of Turner Sink. Along the way we observed multiple leads, parallel conduits, tannic tunnels and a 2,000ft section containing milky white water, abundant crayfish and bacteria covered floors. We eventually tied off in massive, deep, clear conduit with noticeable flow. Todd Kincaid has the data and is updating the map this week.

    The dive:
    Bottom Time – 580 minutes at 270ft
    Decompression – 15.5 hours
    Total Run Time – 25.5 hours
    Exploration – 7,640ft added
    Total Distance from Wakulla Springs – 23,810ft

    The goal of the dive was to connect the systems and update the map as to the specific locations of the cave conduits. The map data is then used by the State of Florida as part of their land use and land acquisition process to protect the water sources feeding Wakulla Springs. 23,810ft from Wakulla Springs exceeded our 20,000ft May, 2006 push into Wakulla’s Q-Tunnel and firmly establishes a new cave penetration record for the WKPP.

    The entire team should be proud of a challenging, yet exciting weekend where everyone pulled together and adapted as needed to get the job done. Running a 30 hour operation takes a great deal of preparation and Todd Leonard along with the entire support and setup crew did an outstanding job. Each team member shares in the success and I was glad to see everyone refocus and come back strong after the May 19 dive at Turner. You guys are the best.

    Casey McKinlay
    Project Director
    Woodville Karst Plain Project
    Last edited by true; 25th June 2007 at 22:10.

  2. #2
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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    Impressive!
    And congratulations.

    Is there a map of the cave system somewhere on the homepage of WKPP?


    Cheers
    Morten

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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    WOW!! Well done!!
    Last edited by Explorer; 25th June 2007 at 21:16.

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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    Congratulations!

  5. #5

    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    I've seen an early draft of the survey data, and it appears that the current end of line in R-Tunnel is within a few hundred feet of downstream Turner, but almost a thousand feet north of the end of the Turner line.

    A final plot of the data on the topo map should be done by the end of the week. It's a massive discovery. I don't think anyone would have ever speculated that a major passage of Wakulla would run right down the middle between Turner and the end of the line at Chip's Hole.

    -anthony

    Quote Originally Posted by mortenkjerulff  View Original Post
    Impressive!
    And congratulations.

    Is there a map of the cave system somewhere on the homepage of WKPP?


    Cheers
    Morten

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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    This is going to sound rude and I don't mean it to but; are they just laying line or surveying as well? If they are surveying what methods are they using?
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  7. #7

    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    Nothing rude about it. Everything is surveyed, and all of the data is provided immediately after the dive to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Geologic Survey. At each line wrap Casey takes a compass reading and records relevant info in his survey book, all the while counting knots between each wrap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve  View Original Post
    This is going to sound rude and I don't mean it to but; are they just laying line or surveying as well? If they are surveying what methods are they using?

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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    Quote Originally Posted by true  View Original Post
    The entire team should be proud of a challenging, yet exciting weekend
    Understatement of the year!

    Truly awesome stuff. Amazing what great teamwork can achieve

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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    Can't even find the words, this is mindboggling.
    Congratulations to to the team. Truly amazing exploration!

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    Re: RB80 divers discover major new cave passage at Wakulla

    Greetings and congrats also from my side!

    Keep the good stuff coming!

    Regards from rainy India (Monsoon started)

    Michael

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