Diving Doolittles Cave Sump

On June 3rd we returned to make an attempt at the sump in Doolittles Cave. As eluded to in my precious post, the cave is fed from a pond on a large pond. The water in June was REALLY warm, making for an incredibly smelly and all around nasty endeavor. Accompanying me on the trip were Nathan, Joey, Tree, Trenton and Garrett.

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My sherpa team, from left to right: Nathan, Joey, Tree, Trenton and Garrett.

Our commute to the sump was uneventful. We rigged a cable ladder for the drop and all managed to safely descend despite the drastically increased water flow. I geared up at the bottom of the waterfall and we all started towards the sump. Lacking in anything to tie into, I utilized Nathan’s leg as the nearest immovable object and wriggled my way backwards into the foamy abyss. Water visibility was a solid 0′, I could barely even make out the glow of my dive light when shined in my face. I was sidemounting 45’s and using no fins, using my feet to feel along the bottom and negotiate the way on. After descending at nearly a 45° for about 30′ of penetration (and at a depth of 12′) I felt the passage level out. The passage remained a fissure, but only the belled-out bottom was actually wide enough for my body to fit through. Using my feet as a gauge, I estimated the dimensions of where it had leveled out to be about 18″ tall and around the same width. I likely could fit through in a wetsuit and dragging a tank behind me, but no thanks. This passage is far too choked up with mud and debris to make it a worthwhile endeavor. I reeled in my line and we started towards the exit. That night all of my equipment got a nice bath in some germicidal disinfectant. A fun trip, but not doing that again!

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Teddy at the entrance to the sump. NASTY.

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Teddy “washes off” in the farm-pond runoff.

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