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The Taming Proceeds: The Peacock to Baptizing Connection

The Taming Proceeds: The Peacock to Baptizing Connection

In August 2010, James Toland and Agnes Milowka built the link among Peacock Springs and Baptizing Spring. The connection between the two springs prolonged the Peacock Springs Cave Procedure by above 10,000 toes (3km), introducing drastically to its by now intensive 28,000 toes (8.5km) of passage.

In this interview, Agnes and James will share the thrill of experience and exploration as they pursued their very first relationship.

A lot of men and women suppose that everything in Florida has been discovered and explored. How is it probable that you fellas are locating new cave, even in common methods these types of as Peacock Springs?

James: Numerous divers from the Florida cave diving group are focusing on exploration around the environment, but I feel it can be crucial to emphasis on exploration in our individual again property – a minimal some thing I like to contact tailgate diving.

There is continue to a large amount of cave listed here ready to be pushed, and with the evolution of dive equipment and divers alike will come the potential to do deeper and longer dives. This opens up new and thrilling prospects that ended up missed or never ever thought of in the previous.

Agnes: I consider it arrives down to angle. Far too a lot of people assume anything has been lined and explored and they are only way too delighted to comply with the traces by now there. While there is a society of exploration in Florida, well known caves like Peacock you should not get a look these times. I guess it just goes to exhibit that the prospects are countless and the potential is even now there, even in well-known and often-dived caves.

How did you locate the lead that inevitably led to Baptizing?

James: Ag was off running down some leads with a person of her typical dive buddies and strike the jackpot. Soon after confirming the guide was a go it was on. She contacted me and claimed let’s lay some line naturally she genuinely experienced to twist my arm.

Agnes: I was actually carrying out a pleasurable dive with an additional buddy and we decided to check out out a area of Peacock I hadn’t witnessed just before – the drinking water source tunnel for the Peanut Line.

As it obtained tighter and smaller sized I realized we have been coming up to the end of the line and I was tremendous curious to see what transpired future. At last the line finished and as I suspected the cave held on heading. It was a little bit limited and fairly muddy but it was absolutely nevertheless going. I tied off and utilised what scraps of line I experienced still left on my reel to look at out what lay in advance. I laid 200 toes (60m) of line on that dive and determined it was a goer.

So you uncovered the direct and it looked promising. Discuss us as a result of your up coming dive.

James: A 7 days later on Ag and I ended up at it once more, and sure, we ended up armed with additional line and much more gas. The mission was very simple place all the line in.

I was graciously supplied guide again and we hit it. A person reel, two reels, and then right before we realized it the 3rd reel was coming off. The cave made the decision to toss a loop into the mix and started breaking up and splitting off in quite a few directions, so the T’s started off flying in. We managed to insert in excess of 1000 feet of line. In the conclude the dive was 280 minutes, but with an average depth of 35 toes (10m), we only incurred 10 minutes of deco.

Agnes: We did have a lot more line this time and have been armed with two reels each and every. Nothing was going to cease us this time! We knew the dive was heading to be a long just one, so despite not currently being a early morning person, I received up early. By 8am we were there, ready for the gates of the park to open.

It was an unbelievable dive. We just place down a person reel right after one more and it did not appear the cave was heading to quit. Eventually, the way forward became fewer clear and we experienced to commence investigating various choices and leads listed here and there. In the finish, these did not go sites, but we felt we experienced a successful dive. You cannot sneeze at dropping far more than 1000 feet (300m) of line in a day.

When did you know you ended up heading for Baptizing?

James: We started obtaining suspicions on our 2nd dive. Immediately after bursting by the Mud Flats, the reduced muddy portion of the beginning of our exploration, we started out discovering these green hairy mats of algae flowing by the tunnels. We observed it the preceding dive but failed to assume significantly of it. On this dive we noticed it in terrific abundance all in excess of the new line that we set in. It was also all as a result of the peanut line in really faint wisps. As we progressed in the cave it accumulated in greater masses and much more frequently. I indicate there had been significant clumps of this things. Then we begun getting dead oak leaves in smaller clusters. All the telltale indicators of an opening.

Agnes: We knew we experienced to be near to an opening for the reason that of all the inexperienced puffy algae. I try to remember observing a lot of if at the entrance to Baptizing when I first explored it. It begun to make sense that we ended up heading to Baptizing exactly where else would all the movement be coming from?

I continue to don’t forget standing by the banks of Baptizing with James a few of a long time in the past and speculating and discussing where by all the water was heading.

Even then we figured it was heading to Peacock but we were not absolutely sure no matter whether a human could bodily healthy all the way by means of. Properly, in this article was our opportunity to find out.

Inform us additional about the second you connected.

James: Ag was in the lead and she experienced the grand honor of tying in the lines at both equally ends. At the mark we selected would be the most most likely, she set the reel in and 200 ft (60m) later there was the finish of the line from downstream Baptizing Springs. Ag tied that end off and we ongoing to thrust ahead to make confident we experienced in truth finished it. There was no query in our minds as we entered the pit just downstream of the entrance to Baptizing. We ended up unable to exit, regretably, as the now tremendous limited entrance restriction was loaded in simply because of previous floods. We did even so see daylight and after a little bit of digging opened it up a good offer. We returned the following day to do the traverse appropriate.

Agnes: It was amazing! I observed my previous line and my blue ‘Ag’ arrow and understood we had accomplished it! I was thrilled. I might have finished a small dance correct then and there, if not physically, unquestionably on the within.

It was awesome to go back again via old and familiar territory in downstream Baptizing. I was joyful to see my line was in very good problem and wasn’t buried, even soon after all the floods about the past calendar year or so. The cave was abruptly a portion of a a lot much larger photograph. By generating the connection by way of to the entrance pool of Baptizing we experienced all of a sudden joined Peacock with the upstream area of Baptizing. This meant that the Peacock Cave Program was out of the blue about 10,000 feet (3km) longer!

The next dive, the swim by way of was a formality but it was also quite thrilling. To descend into one spring and occur out another, 4600ft (1400m) farther upstream was quite amazing. A diver bodily swimming by way of the passages demonstrates the hydrological url amongst the two springs and gives considerably food stuff for assumed. If a diver can swim via the drinking water, so can air pollution and contamination, and it’s worth noting that the h2o that flows as a result of Peacock arrives a lengthy way and every little thing that transpires to it upstream has an influence on the excellent of the water at the park.

Bob Schulte is an significant aspect of your crew. What was his role in regards to the link?

James: The trouble was that just before the new exploration line Ag laid, there was a area of line that was not knotted, all-around 400 toes (120m) of it. Ag and I tried to get the knowledge with a tape measure coming out when but couldn’t for the reason that of zero viz. This prevented us from plotting all the study details out as a map, so we in no way had a actual point of view of wherever just we have been heading. Ag went back again to Australia briefly, so at this level we brought Bob in on the enjoyment and online games. He and I received the missing survey details from the aged line and surveyed the relaxation of the cave in a lot more element.

Bob delivers some unique capabilities to the desk. This dude is on fire with some mad expertise in surveying, mapping and placing all our mumbo jumbo alongside one another. Bob is going to be tantalizing the cave diving entire world with his maps in the in the vicinity of long run and he does absolutely wonderful perform – he is a have to have on any job.

Agnes: Right before basically building the relationship dive, James and I expended a entire dive blindly chasing down potential customers. It was so annoying we knew we had been near but could not figure out which lead was the magic a person. We located all kinds of appealing issues, but definitely we ended up just after the link.

It was only after Bob compiled the survey notes and produced a map that our upcoming shift was created distinct. Guaranteed sufficient, the moment it was all laid out it was easy much less than 250 feet (75m) later we hit the mark and made the link. The map built all the variation and Bob’s map is wonderful. In the meantime, just for the record, I have an axe to grind with any person who lays line and won’t knot it to start with!

Is this section of the cave exceptional? Is there anything genuinely amazing in there or is it all reduced and muddy?

James: The cave is by far some of north Florida’s most effective diving. Fossils litter the passages all over the new exploration. Soon after leaping off the most important line the cave can take on a entire new look. The walls are with out scars. The floors are littered with all types of bones, from vertebrae, jaws, tooth and regular very long bones, to parts that search like a seafood buffet as crab claws and extremities adhere out of the partitions. It seems the way a cave should really appear before the raping of all her treasures and diver website traffic.

Passages array from a sizable borehole cave with sandy bottoms by means of to low restrictive muddy clay bottoms. Some passages are just about total rock major to bottom. The flow dynamics are fascinating and some parts have an fantastic quantity of circulation in comparison to the rest of Peacock. Then other locations have tiny to no move, primarily in which the cave starts off to spider web out. These locations are normally reduced and silty and have zero visibility on exit.

Agnes: I am a large supporter of Peacock in normal. I think it is just one of the most amazing and extraordinary caves in Florida. In my intellect Baptizing will always be special, as it was my initial enterprise into serious and substantial exploration and I identified so a lot virgin cave there. To be part of these two caves alongside one another and to grow the Peacock Process was an remarkable encounter.

Like James said, the amount of fossil continues to be in the cave is impressive and there is a great deal archaeological substance around Baptizing Spring alone. It is a interesting program on so lots of ranges. Baptizing Spring has this loaded record dating all the way back again to the Timucuan Indians and the Spanish invasion in the 17th century. Then there is the hydrology there are nonetheless quite a few mysteries surrounding the water circulation about Peacock. To come across this enormous amount of money of new cave and reveal 1 extra minimal piece of the puzzle is definitely good.

But some bits of the cave are indeed small and muddy. The full Peacock to Baptizing operate is an sophisticated sidemount cave dive and when not off restrictions, certainly involves excellent gasoline management and a adore of limited areas, thick silt and zero visibility.