ORCESTWELL SPRING CAVE SUMP DIVE CONNECTION?

December 02, 2015

  
Sump Resurgence Orcestwell Spring Cave
The next day we headed over to check out some springs to dive which was a different change to my typical tag trips but it was a nice diversion as the Diving in TAG is a lot better than I thought it would be in clear conditions.

Orcestwell Spring Cave
We made our first stop at Orcestwell Spring which is right near vast caverns.  It has been rumored that this cave connects to Vast Caverns but nobody has made the connection.  I suited up and reconed the dive site which turned out to be a series of duck under water passages that took me into this room that had a few feet of water.  The passage looked grim but there was a meander in the cut bank where I could get under a ledge and dive the sump yet it looked pretty sketchy and creepy, especially doing it solo.
Orcestwell Spring Cave
Yes, the rule is to have a dive buddy but when it comes to zero viz, a few feet of clearance, and sump diving, there is not really anything anyone can do when you go into the sump.  Your sump dive buddy can attempt to find you but typically that could be a big risk for the dive buddy as we usually go in one at a time.
Orcestwell Spring Cave
I decided to not dive at that moment and think about the operation before jumping into it. Josh practiced mapping the cave and I took some photos of the formations before we left for another dive site called champion springs.
Orcestwell Spring Cave
After Diving in Champion Springs, I came back to Ocestwell spring and attempted the dive.  I pushed through the meandering low ceiling passage by basically army crawling underwater and it opened up enough for me to swim.  There were times when it meandered left and right and sections that got tight but I eventually popped out into a bell that I swam to the end. the passage continued underwater and I popped out once again into another bell.  The passage continued yet again until I popped out in a low crawling section that gradually got big enough to walk on my hands and knees.  I left my gear there and kept crawling until I got to a dome which reminded me of the last drop in Vast Caverns! I could not believe that I might have actually made it to the bottom of Vast Caverns but I was not 100 percent sure, so I left a line arrow with my last name and left the cave.  A trip into Vast Caverns needs to be made but I fear that any evidence that I have left might have been swept away in the recent floods. to be continued...
FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/albums/72157661737473852

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