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  • Christine Grosart

Chain Gang

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

Licanke project 2018 - Day 2

Ash with some of the bailout bottles in Sump 2

Ash Hiscock in sump 2, Licanke. Image: Mark Burkey

After the usual "what shall we eat today" faff of breakfast and cave food, all the divers went through sump one and carried the remainder of the gear including a dry tube with camera gear and food.

The divers on CCR (rebreathers) Richard, Ash and Christine dived their units through sump one and pushed their twinsets and open circuit gear through ahead of them for daily ferrying trips, with the plan to leave the rebreathers at sump 2. Only the small rebreather bottles and suit inflation bottles would come out of the cave each day, along with any spent sodalime. This was easy to do as the dry tubes were reliable.

Ash's KISS rebreather
Ash's KISS rebreather. Image: Mark Burkey

We all carried our own rebreathers to sump 2 which wasn't as horrific as I envisaged. I had two guys balancing me over the boulders as a slip or fall would not only damage me but damage my unit. The rest of the way it was fine.

The team chained all the gear to the sump and began setting it up for the push dive. A makeshift kitchen and 'clean' area was created and bailout bottles were tested and some niggles sorted out and repaired.

One SPG had got smashed in the carry and a few hoses had developed leaks but in the grand scheme of things, that is the best we could have hoped for after taking the fragile kit through such hostile conditions. Nobody complained and just switched the parts out for new ones.

Ash and Christine did a quick foray into sump 2 to pull out the nasty old thin line that had caused Rich and Christine some aggravation last year and a thick caving rope was put in its place. This was much stronger, easier to see and easier to feel in the poor visibility shaft. Ash also retrieved Rich's search reel which he'd be moaning about for the last 12 months.

Mark set up his video station, having bought several expensive video lights for the project and set about lining up various shots for the film Christine planned to create.

The priority this year was video footage, both in the 'dry' cave and underwater. We were fortunate to have got hold of some Paralenz dive cameras.

Rated to 200 metres depth and small enough to fit in your pocket, they were an obvious choice to take with us. With neat video lights from Light Motion, we hoped to get some decent footage of the underwater passages.


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