Cave Diving Updates

So I haven't posted to my blog since April.  I often sit and wonder what I should write and it is just some way for me to place milestones along the paths I travel.  I am very blessed in all facets of my life and am grateful for the people I know and the things I am able to do.  However, I will not simply sit here and nostalgically wax on.  Let me start by looking at our cave diving agencies and doing a quick roll-up.

The NSS-CDS had elections and there are new board members. Jeff Loflin is now the CDS Chairman and has posted a nice letter on the CDS site. I wish him well and hope the agency can move forward from a somewhat stalled state. It seems that the agencies have only pushed membership and teaching, unfortunately leaving exploration, education and conservation on the back burner.  The CDS conference, held in May, was very informative.  As an aside, I am part of a group that has worked on getting School Sink (Wayne's World) reopened through the creation of a guide program, a new website dedicated solely to School Sink and an online reservation system. The NSS-CDS recognized our accomplishments by presenting the Guide Team with the NSS-CDS Safety Award during the NSS-CDS Conference. If you are interested in diving School Sink please visit the School Sink Diving website or just simply let me know.

On the NACD side of things, they too have a new director; Jacki Clark was installed as the newest board member and I couldn't be happier. I am confident she will be beneficial to the success of the organization. I really appreciate that the NACD is hosting a survey workshop in October.  I feel this is a good step in providing for the membership versus simply collecting memberships and certifying students. Mike Poucher is leading the survey workshop so it will definitely be worthwhile. Mike is astonishingly good at cave survey and his efforts speak for themselves! Mike was my survey mentor a few years ago and without his help in the field and on the computer I would have failed miserably.

Enough politics (although I have really left them out -- so much unneeded BS in cave country) and on to diving. As I mentioned earlier, I am blessed! I have been given so many opportunities to dive new caves and simply explore this magnificent blue marble we call Earth.  I am always amazed.

I am blessed to be part of the ongoing Weeki Wachee Spring exploration. This year's exploration ended in June with the window shutting almost as fast as it opened. Although, we did not push the cave this year, we positioned ourselves as a team that can perform scientific functions as well as explore. The jewel of this year's exploration is the video shot by Liquid Productions. There are some screen grabs, as well as a week-by-week journal of this year's exploration, on the Karst Underwater Research Blog. The pictures alone are well worth the visit!

Walter & Brett looking for caveAnother big project I was blessed to be a part of was in the Dominican Republic. We spent a week in the Dominican with Advanced Diver Magazine and the ADM Foundation to help Gri Gri Divers look for new caves their clients could dive. Unfortunately, we found more that they shouldn't or can't dive than ones that they can. Our team of four cave explorers joined a sponsored team near the Dominican village of Bayahibe, located on the southeastern shore. A week of brush beating, dry cave searching, and tight cave exploring resulted in the discovery of several underwater caves, never before seen dry cave passages, and finding the remains of exotic mega fauna. Long story short, there is cave in the Dominican and it is gorgeous! Brett found the most beautiful virgin dry cave (beyond a few hundred foot sump). We were amazed by the two foot long bacon and four foot long soda straws. It is simply incredible to be the first person to ever see some of the hidden treasures in our world. There will be an article in the upcoming issue of Advanced Diver Magazine highlighting our trip -- keep your eye out for it. If you just can't wait and would like to see some "raw" video of our trip take a look at this video. Many thanks to everyone at Gri Gri Divers, Uwe, Mark, Alexi and everyone else for having us and putting up with our constant singing!

As always, I appreciate everyone's support of the site and welcome any suggestions for features. Lately I have been playing with Twitter. I have actually found a good use for it (in my opinion). By "following" CaveConditions on Twitter, you can have the latest cave condition reports sent to your cell phone. You can also follow me on Twitter. Sometimes I have something interesting to say.