(Bill and Jason at Spring Acre Cave 04/22/2006.)
Jason arrived ready to dive with his twin 40 ft2 tanks and
and triple dive gear. The Spring Acre sump was very
easy to get to. It looked perfect to dive with the water moving slowly
at 54 degrees F, not bad with double poly and a nylon cave suit. Jason
had a dry suit. Visibility was ~ 1.5 ft. not good enough for me (PF). I
for years mostly in the Gulf Stream at Cozumel...no cave diving for me,
but when the time machine clicks in and I return to 20 years old with
money I will cave dive and kayak... I asked Jason when we should worry.
He replied in about an hour.
Bill and I (PF) waited in
chest deep water in the canal while Jason made the
dive. In less than 20 minutes Jason was back. He dove 110 ft. one way
through a fairly comfortable passage that was completely submerged; the
bottom was not visible at any time. Jason stayed on the ceiling looking
for the next breakout into airspace. The bottom was small pebbles
(0.5-2") in most places, some larger rocks, but not many. The passage
was very close to circular ~ 8 feet in diameter. The
water was moving very slowly in the sump
area due to the large size. Jason popped up in a sizable room with
signatures where he tied off his dive line.
Looking at the area from above the water, it was a pit- approximately
15 foot in diameter that dropped about 9 feet from the floor level-
which was at stooping to standing height - so the distance from
water level to ceiling was probably 14-15 ft. The water was still
flowing there, but very slightly, and not enough to have been able to
tell from which direction, which was really very interesting.
Jason was quite sure that the underwater passage did not end there, and
may, in fact, take a sharp right turn or split into multiple passages-
as the main flow from Gorham flows in the same direction as the sump
area, but is offset some distance to the east. The poor
visibility at the time prevented Jason from examining the sump area in
Gorham, and he was concerned that Bill and Preston were waiting in cold
water and saw no reason to continue after making such an obvious
connection. Follow up dives would most likely be made from the Gorham
side as it would be a walk to either sump allowing people to wait on
the dry sand.
Later, we confirmed Jason had connected to the two-mile long Gorham
Cave at the second pool in the side passage before the sump. With the
1400 ft. surveyed in Spring Acre by the late Joe Saunders (BBG, PhD U.
Kentucky agriculture, sugar beet expert, cave digger par excellence),
that put the new length for the Gorham-Spring Acre Cave at 3.67 km
(2.28 mile). I (PF) reported the new length to Bob Gulden who
maintains the US Long Cave List. A CONNECTION, Yeah! The Western
Kentucky Speleological Survey has recently surveyed 54 caves in Logan