Divers are called by the siren song of an underwater world. We dream of splashing into uncharted waters. We are driven to explore the unknown.
But as we return to our favorite dive sites, it can feel like there is nowhere left to discover.
As a new diver, Dr. Andrew Pitkin worried that there was nothing left to explore. This spurred his journey into cave diving more than 25 years ago.
Now, Dr. Pitkin is a pioneer of dive exploration. He is a Director of the Karst Underwater Research (KUR) team. Today, KUR is one of the most active underwater cave exploration groups in Florida, if not the entire USA.
Matt Vinzant, of Karst Underwater Research, explores the Alph Tunnel in Twin Dees cave.
KARST UNDERWATER RESEARCH
Karst aquifers are underwater cave passages. They are deep underground, where scientists cannot go. The health of these groundwater resources is critical to humanity’s wellbeing.
Matt Vinzant surveys the new Battle Plain passage in Twin Dees cave.
In the United States alone, more than 40% of fresh drinking water comes from karst underwater aquifers.
These cave systems are complex webs of underground tunnels. Now, advances in diving knowledge, gear and techniques have opened up this new frontier in underwater cave exploration.
Karst Underwater Research fills a vital role. They explore these hazardous waterways. The group of volunteers use their own equipment. KUR divers collect and report scientific information.
They identify and collect data about karst systems. This data is valuable to academic research, environmental protection and public knowledge.
WHEN & WHERE
Join us on Friday, January 7 at 6 pm via Zoom. Hear Dr. Pitkin’s accounts of exploring Florida’s uncharted cave systems. Learn about the exploration projects currently underway at Karst Underwater Research.
Dr. Andrew Pitkin’s underwater exploration began in 1995. He was a member of the first dive team to reach the bottom of the Great Blue Hole in Belize. Dr. Pitkin’s team dove to a depth of over 400 feet saltwater. Dr. Pitkin is one of a handful of civilians trained by the Royal Navy as a diving medical officer.
He ran the hyperbaric facility at the Royal Navy’s Institute of Naval Medicine from 1996 – 2000. While there, Dr. Pitkin was involved in research into submarine escape. He was also involved in testing of new military underwater breathing systems.
Now, Dr. Pitkin resides in Florida. He is a faculty member of the College of Medicine at the University of Florida.
Andy Pitkin and Charlie Roberson after an 8 hour exploration dive at Alachua (Mill Creek) Sink.
Social nights take place online via zoom. Presentations begin at 6 PM and last about 45 minutes. There is time afterward to ask questions.
Be sure to register to receive the presentation login link. Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-840-8750.
Andrew Pitkin explores the Dead Marshes Tunnel in Weeki Wachee cave.