Bonne Terre, Missouri
Bonne Terre Mine- April 16th, 2006

     The ninth Bonne Terre Mine Expedition was on April 15th, 2006.
     The Mine is located in Bonne Terre, Missouri; about an hour Southwest of St. Louis in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. This year several regular members of the team had pressing business to attend to and couldn’t get time free to join us. Only Carrie drove down with me this time, instead of the usual van full of people. After the usual Friday night festivities including an above water tour of the mine, our annual Bonne Terre one mile run, dinner at the Shamrock and a projection viewing of “Into The Blue” on the Park & Allen Lodge room wall, we were all pretty beat and crashed early. The next morning after going out for breakfast, we met Bear early at the mine and discussed our first trip to the deepest part of the mine, “The City”.

We ended up making several dives there throughout the weekend. Bear ran cave line above the silt, past buildings, shelves, the mule’s paddock, and past a workbench with tools strewn around the top of open draws. On one of the dives, after working our way through roughly 200+ feet of dark passage we came out at the now underground base of the elevator structure. We shot video and chronicled the bell command sign and many other artifacts along the way.

On the last Saturday dive we went back to the lake room to shoot video of a section of the Carlsbad area that we had missed on previous trips. These dives were the most aggressive we’ve made in the mine. Because of the depth, there was a lot of decompression. In fact after one very long cold hang, Chuck proclaimed that it was the longest amount of deco he had done in one dive. His daughter Cheryl, still diving in a 7mm wet suit, became so chilled after one particular dive we had to quickly get her out of her suit, into a down parka, and into the equipment drying room to warm up before starting the climb out of the mine.

After another good prime rib dinner at the Shamrock we again, as usual, went to bed early, most of us before the projection movie of the evening was over.

Our last dive on Sunday morning before driving back home was a sort of “greatest hits” dive to the ladder room. We again swam past the train, the timekeeper’s shack, the redwood forest of pillars, the pearly gates and the secret passage. Somewhere around the redwood forest, my power inflator started to give me problems. Unknown to me it had started slightly adding air to my BC at a constant rate. As my depth was up and down a lot on this dive, I wrote it off as “just a bad buoyancy day.” Coming up to the Pearly Gates Ore Dump, I started to dump a little air and the valve let go. It completely free flowed into my BC and shot me toward the surface. By the time I hit 20 feet, I disconnected the inflator hose and dumped the extra air. I used the argon in my drysuit to get neutral again and joined the others. Luckily there were no deco obligations and the short trip up was inconsequential. Soon we turned the dive and headed back to dockside. After the long climb out of the mine with our gear, we thanked Bear, took pictures, stopped at a local gift shop and headed back home.

321 St Louis Arch
323 Movies In The Bunkhouse
326 Resting for the hike in
327 Preperations
328 This hike in is going to be bad
330 The Hike in
331 Dragging the tank
332 Gearing up at waters edge
002 Worn out ore cart
003 Rail Track
005 Spare Rail Track
006 Cave Line Over Track
007 Cave Line And Clip
015 Chuck In City
016 Paddock Gate
017 Manger
018 Crate
019 Saw Horses Light Bulbs Etc
020 Lumber
021 Electronics
024 Communications Shelf
027 Water Fountain
035 Tool Crib Shelves
029 Water Fountain
033 Tool Crib
039 Work Bench
051 Carrie In City
042 Work Bench
054 Bear Running Line
043 Work Bench
052 Operators Shack
058 Elevator
031 Tool Crib
064 Elevator Shaft
062 Hoist Signals
065 Elevator Shaft
066 Boat
073 Bottle
077 Loose Carrie
079 Train Tracks
082 Barrel
091 Carlsbad
093 Final Deco
098 Ore Cart
104 Locomotive
105 Locomotive
106 Slurry Pipe and Ties
110 Cheryl
115 Fins
117 Tracks
119 Bear with Ore Cart
123 Carrie and Katie
125 Chuck and Tipple
333 Hiking out
334 Toe nail polish
335 Lunch
338 Shopping
337 Carrie, Katie, Bear, Rick, Chuck, Cheryl, AJ
343 Knitting Doilys Trip Home
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