Cow Spring Gets An Upgrade

Cow Spring, NSS-CDS, cave diving, Florida, Amigos Dive Center, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
The new changing rooms at Cow Spring


Strictly speaking, Cow Spring (located near Peacock Springs State Park in Luraville, Florida) is not a spring at all. It is really an in-line sinkhole which provides diver access to an underground river, that surfaces for the last time at nearby Running Spring.

Cow Spring is an incredibility beautiful system and today it is owned by the NSS-CDS. It is open only to NSS-CDS members and their guests. No open water divers are allowed to access this site.

A couple of weeks ago, a number of volunteers gave up their Saturday and built some great changing rooms. This is a useful improvement to a neat cave diving site. We can't wait to use it when we are back in Florida.

If you would like to see photos of the whole build, click here.

Otter Gators

Otter Gators, X-Ray Mag, drysuit accessory, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Undewater Marketing Company, JJ Womack, John Womack
Respected UK drysuit manufacturer - Otter - has recently launched Otter Gators.

Some drysuit dives, especially cave divers, want to reduce drag and /or limit excess air flow into their legs and boots. This lowers the potential risk of inversion.

A simple way to achieve this is to wrap a gator around the lower leg. They are easy to fit and adjust and Otter state their gators are comfortable to wear.

These Otter Gators are constructed from cordura and are secured by super grip double vecro closures. The result is a rugged, functional drysuit accessory.

Available in Small and Medium.

First published: “Equipment in the news” X-Ray Magazine, January 2014, Issue 58, Page 41


2013 Return to Phantom Springs

Deep in the west Texas desert lies Phantom Springs Cave.

Phantom Springs Cave, Dr. Tom Iliffe, Thomas Iliffe, Texas A&M University, Light Monkey, Curt Bowen, Jason Richards, Dr Andrew Pitkin, cave exploration, cave diver, rebreather expedition, Joel Clark, Brett Hemphill, Michael Poucher, Chrissy Richards, Becky Kagan Schott, Corey Mearns, cave survey, Phantom Ranch Cave, National Speleological Society, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, TUMC, The Underwater Marketing Company

In 2012 an expedition established that outside Florida, Phantom Springs Cave is the third longest USA cave in the USA, and tantalisingly it is still going. However it is not as straightforward as it would seem to explore here. Phantom Cave is a federally owned, strictly closed biological preserve for the endangered pupfish. The site is only accessible by a permit issued by the US Bureau of Reclamation, and only two permits are ever concurrently issued. Both are assigned until at least 2015.

Becky Kagan Scott, Liquid Productions, cave diving, cave exploration, female cave diver, female underwater cinematographer, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, TUMC, The Underwater Marketing Company
Photo Credit: Becky Kagan Schott

Earlier this month, a precious permit allowed a team of ten hand picked divers to push this cave system further. The team comprised of Dr Andrew Pitkin and Brett Hemphill (deep exploration), Michael Poucher, Jason and Chrissy Richards (survey), Becky Kagan Schott and Curt Bowen (topside and underwater cinematographers), and Joel Clark and Corey Mearns (safety and logistics).

The expedition goals were to extend the line beyond the 2012 expedition and to continue exploring as far as safety and logistics allowed; to hand-tape survey the site, starting from the cave entrance and working inwards; and capture the action and events as they unfolded.

This expedition was not purely exploratory. Dr Thomas Iliffe, one of the worlds leading cave biologists holds the science permit for Phantom Spring. His goal was to work in-water with the other teams to gather water quality and cave fauna data.

Over the course of seven days the exploration divers hit a record depth of 462 feet / 140.8 metres, making it the deepest USA underwater cave system. The team also set up sediment traps, collected water quality data, surveyed over 8,000 feet of the cave, and shot hours of high definition video and still photos topside and underwater. Plans are being put in place to return.

ADM, Exploration Foundation, Rebreather World Forum, Advanced Diver Magazine, Curt Bowen, Jacki Clark, Andy Pitkin, Jason Richards, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, TUMC, The Underwater Marketing Compay
Photo Credit: Curt Bowen

Advanced Diver Magazine Exploration Foundation has just published a fascinating report illustrated by sumptuous imagery.

"A billion stars illuminate the remote sky as the yelps of coyote packs echo across the desert. A beam of light suddenly flickers from inside the dark cave entrance. Seven hours have passed since the deep exploration team entered the cave with the goal to push this unique desert spring further (and possibly deeper than any other underwater cave in the United States)."

Click here to read the full story

Calling all male cave divers – research subjects required

A doctoral research study is being conducted by William B. Oigarden, MA, LMHC, NCC. He is a doctoral candidate at Barry University in the Adrian Dominican School of Education and he is investigating the personality traits and behaviour of male cave diver. (Specifically the relationship between dyadic adjustment, personality traits, and alexithymia.) Please pass this information on to relevant friends, peers and colleagues.

William B. Oigarden, Barry University, Richard Stanton, Rick Stanton, Martyn Farr, Sheck Exley, Wookey Hole, Graham Balcombe, Light Monkey, Cave Diving Group, CDG, Swildons, Mike Thomas, Dyadic Adjustment & Personality Traits in Male Cave Divers 

An Exploratory Study – Doctoral Online Research Study

Would you like to participate in a FREE research study investigating the relationship between personality traits and relationship satisfaction in male cave divers?

To participate click here

Study Requirements – Complete a demographic survey (5 minutes) and three scales that measure dyadic adjustment (10 minutes), personality traits (15 minutes), and alexithymia (5 minutes). You would need to allow approximately 35 minutes to complete the entire survey.

Eligibility Requirements – You must be a male cave diver, aged 18 years or older, and married or in a committed relationship. There is also a category for those who consider themselves in a separated relationship status.

After thoroughly reviewing and reading the Informed Consent screen, you will have two options. Should you choose to participate or choose not to participate in this voluntary study, your anonymity will be secure at all times. You also have the option to discontinue the study at any time. Once you have selected the “I agree” then the next button: you will be presented with a demographics questionnaire. Once this is completed, you will move into the rest of the online anonymous questionnaire.

This survey is completely anonymous and no IP addresses are collected by this researcher. 

This is a research study and is not considered a therapeutic session. This study is free to all participants. Participation is entirely voluntary and can be withdrawn at any time. Since this is an exploratory study and gender differences in activities similar to cave diving were found during the literature review this study will be limited to male cave divers. Future studies planned will include female cave divers.

If you should have any questions or need more information please contact Bill B. Oigarden (telephone 386 984-9348), Bill's supervisor, Dr. Catharina Eeltink (telephone 321 235-8401) or the Institutional Review Board point of contact, Barbara Cook (telephone 305 899-3020)

Thank you for your time and interest in this study. This will be a partial fulfillment of a Ph.D. degree in Counselling.

Renowned Cave Explorer Rick Stanton awarded the MBE

World renowned cave explorer Rick Stanton has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's New Years’ honours list.

Rick Stanton, Cave Explorer, cave diver, Ressel, Eric Establie,Ardeche Gorge, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, MBE, New Years Honours ListRick is also a firefighter of some 23 years standing and has received the honour in recognition of his service to the communities of the West Midlands as a firefighter, and for the cave diving rescue services he carries out on a voluntary basis both in the UK and abroad.

It is the second honour of 2012 for Rick who was awarded a Bronze Medal from the Royal Humane Society for his efforts two years ago to recover the body of French diver Eric Establie, who was trapped at the Ardeche Gorge, near Marseille.

When we spoke to Rick earlier this morning he said he is very happy to be awarded the MBE.

"It isn’t particularly unusual for me to get official looking letters in the post because of my international rescue work, but when I got notification of this on behalf of the Palace I was absolutely astounded. I'm just doing work I enjoy to the best of my ability, but I'm thrilled to be awarded the MBE."

Rick has been involved in a number of rescue missions including six British soldiers who had become trapped in rising flood water in a cave in Mexico.

Calling all Divers – "come to Kiel this November"

This year's Global Diving Conference will be held on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th November in Kiel, with the headline speaker being 'the man who packs every lecture room - Professor Simon Mitchell'.

For those of you who have not yet had the privilege of listening to Simon speak, you're in for a treat. He's an anaesthesiologist, a diving physician and one of the Southern hemispheres leading lecturers in the field of scientific diving physiology. But what sets Simon apart from other diving doctors is his uncanny knack of being able to explain about PFOs and CO2 retention to a three year old. Suddenly large slabs of information just fall into place and one leaves the lecture theatre wondering "now why didn't I see and understand that before, it's so obvious". It's little wonder that at Oztek people were turned away from his presentations simply because the room was full. The same happened again at EUROTEK, so here's a hot tip. Be in his lectures early. You'll laugh a lot and learn quite a bit too.

During the weekend you'll also get the chance to listen to the likes of Pierre-Yves Cousteau, Phill Short, JP Imbert and Jarrod Jablonski. 

Over 15 speakers will wax lyrical about exciting topics such as the Wrecks of the Baltic Sea, the Castleguard Canadian Cave Project, Cutting-Edge Decompression Theory, Disputed Diving Practices, Thresher Shark Research, Human Factors, UK Cave Diving, and the discovery of a Prehistoric Fish; the Quatenflosser.

To register your place at the Global Diving Conference (held at the Christian-AlbrechtsUniversity) simply log onto

A weekend pass including Dinner on the Saturday night comes in at US$142 (approx £87) which is cracking good value. And the very best page to get information on travel logistics is

So come and meet old friends, make new ones, hear what people have been up to on diving projects, enjoy the social and get invitations to go diving.

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