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Feb 2003, Vol. 23, #2

TIDEWATER’S OOZE is the regular monthly publication of the TIDEWATER GROTTO of the NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY. If you have any words of wit, trip reports or any insignificant drool, e-mail it to the Editor or mail it all to the TIDEWATER GROTTO, P.O. Box 62642, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23466, and perpetuate your illiteracy!


Rita Klimas
3116 Sherwood Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23322
(757) 421-2613

Al Stubbe 
(757) 485-0350

Joedy Klimas
3116 Sherwood Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23322
(757) 421-2613

Joedy Klimas

Vickie Paul
4387 Atwater Arch
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
(757) 621-1435

Joedy Klimas

Alice Stubbe
713 Baywood Trail
Chesapeake, VA 23323
(757) 485-0350

The February Tidewater Grotto meeting will be held
7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 27th, 2003
at the home of:

Mary Jo Lehman
4809 Colonial Lane
Portsmouth, VA 23703
(757) 638-1542

Go straight to the directions to Mary Jo's home!

Our grotto serves a very wide spread area and in an effort to accommodate everyone (if not on a regular basis, at least on a rotating one) we are still searching for a centralized location to conduct our meetings.  If you have any suggestions please contact Joedy Klimas via phone (421-2613) or e-mail  Please provide any contact information you may have including address and phone number of the suggested site.

January Meeting Results

Our By-Laws have been modified in section V to read as follows:

"V. Meetings of the membership shall be held at least ten times a year. Nominations for Officers will take place in January. The annual meeting for the election of officers is to be held in February.  At the March meeting, new Officers begin their term.  April 1st, membership dues will be made payable to "Tidewater Grotto" and collected by the Treasurer.  The Executive Committee will determine the time, place and date for such meetings.  A special meeting may be called by the Chairman upon request of at least five members."

Alice Stubbe has been our Treasurer for quite a while.  She is giving up this post.  I would like to thank her for the great job she has done.  Well done Alice!  Anyone wishing to take over the job of Treasurer should be at the February meeting.  Vickie Paul has stated that she would like to run for the office and still be Secretary.

Our Grotto t-shirts are at Joedy Klimas's house and look great!  They will be available to be picked up by those who ordered them at the February meeting.

Our t-shirts which depict an outline of the state of Virginia with a bat 'flying' out of the Tidewater area were printed by All Star Graphics in Richmond.

There are a number of items such as windbreakers, sweatshirts, pants, etc. which we can purchase.  A catalogue will be available for viewing at the February meeting.

If you would like to place an order, contact Vickie Paul via e-mail at or call 621-1435.

Al Stubbe provided Vickie the old Grotto t-shirt silk screens.  She checked with the screen printer about using the screens that were found.  He said he could do it, no problem, but he would like to see a shirt that was already finished so that he could match the layers right.  If we don't have one, he said he'd run one and see how it comes out.  If anyone has a t-shirt from the old silk screen production, please bring it to the February meeting so that we can lend it to the screen printer and also show it off to our members.  I know that I would like to get a couple of these shirts myself.

St. Patty’s Day Weekend??
March 14th –17th
Franklin, WV

Anyone up for a party and caving at Thorn Spring Park?
Contact Rita Klimas if you’d like to go.

Wilderness First Aid Training

Anyone wishing to receive wilderness first aid training should contact George Gates at (804) 694-5653 or   The course will be held at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in Gloucester, VA.  The course will cost $70.00 per person and will be held April 6, 12, 13 and 19 to complete 32 hours of instruction.  I recommend this training to everyone who caves.  I have been through the course several times.  I have had to use wilderness first aid a couple of times already.  Let’s face it, we do vigorous dangerous activities well beyond what could be called quick medical response.

Spring VAR
May 9th -11th
OTR Campground
Dailey, WV

Check the following site for VAR info:

Memorial Day Grotto Trip
May 23-26
Franklin, WV

We will participate in the Butler-Sinks Expedition Weekend

 Tidewater Grotto Web Page

I introduced some dynamic html into our web page in the form of three flying bats.  They can be told to fly around for a specific period of time.  Right now, I have them buzzing around for three minutes.  I can shorten their activity to any number of seconds, 10, 15, etc.  Please let me know if they are too annoying or detract from the web page.  I just thought they were so cute.  I had to include them. 

If anyone has any articles or other input for the Ooze, please e-mail the information to

Compass Declination
What is it?
By Joedy Klimas

Have you ever been out hiking or surveying a cave and wondered why you ended up off track or your cave map just didn't match what is known?  No, it wasn't a Hodag.  Maybe you forgot about compass declination.  Here in Chesapeake, VA compass declination is -10 or 10 degrees West.  That means you have to add 10 to your compass reading to accurately give you True North.  When following a map, being wrong 10 degrees can put you way off course.  

How can I find out what the compass declination is for a certain area?  The wonderful internet has the answer.  You can go to the exact location you are going to be hiking or caving with a Latitude and Longitude or you can look up the closest town in ( ).  This will give you an elevation and a Latitude and Longitude.  You then take that information and go to .  In step 1 of this site, you click on the on-line declination correction tool.  It brings up an easy to use form where you insert your location's latitude, longitude and elevation and gives you your answer along with a fine discussion about how to use declination ( ).  

If you are asking yourself "How do I travel a true 120 degrees?", you will need to take your compass reading and subtract your declination value. This will compensate for the error. (Remember, if you subtract a negative number, you are actually adding a value.)
If you want a true bearing of 120 degrees and you have one location with -12 or 12 degrees West, another with -20 or 20 degrees West and the last location with +10 or 10 degrees East, what are your actual bearings?

    Example 1: 120 - (-12) = 132
    Example 2: 120 - (-20) = 140
    Example 3: 120 - 10 = 110

Another way to think about this scenario is doing the opposite of your declination value. For example if your declination value is -15, then you will add 15 to the compass bearing to adjust for this error.  If your declination value is +15, then you will subtract 15 from the compass bearing to adjust for this error.

If you have a compass capable of being corrected for declination as in the Suunto GPS Plotter shown above, you would turn the bezel of the compass to where the black end of the arrow points to 10 West and the red North arrow points to 345 degrees in the -15 degree declination example above.  You can see this somewhat better in the expanded view of the compass.  This would offset all readings on the compass and give you the added 15 degrees.  Having already corrected your compass for declination keeps you from having to think, "Oh, I must go 135 degrees to actually go the 120 as shown on the chart."

Here are some current declination values for areas we frequent when caving (all having West or negative declinations):

- 8 degrees:  Franklin and Elkins, WV area.

- 8 degrees:  Roanoke, VA area.

- 7 degrees:  Lewisburg, WV area.

- 7 degrees:  Radford, VA area.

Have fun and play with the above sites.  I think you will come away with a wealth of information.

Tidewater Grotto Recent Activities

Wild, wonderful, West Virginia – Jan 18-20th 2003
by Rita Klimas 

This was a much anticipated trip for me, in spite of the small group size.  I had made on-line friends to meet at Thorn Spring...Dmitri and his Russian gang.  Daryl, Joedy and I headed to Franklin on Friday afternoon.  We were fortunate in getting a head start due to the cancellation of school for snow (they call that snow???).  We safely arrived and stayed in our usual cozy cabin #3.  Actually, Daryl and Joedy did, I slept outside because, a)  I snore and, b)  some people think they still live in Florida and keep the cabin temperature around 90 degrees. 

On Saturday, we traveled toward Mystic Cave.  The GPS coordinates given to me by an unnamed soon to be old coot were off by one minute (i.e. 60 miles), but we realized it before we actually got there.  With the new estimated location we traveled very slowly in what we thought was the vicinity of the cave.  A local stopped and asked us if we were lost.  We told him we were looking for Mystic Cave.  He assured us it wasn’t on that road (right!), but gave us directions to the owner’s house.  I became the designated cave owner contact and was greeted with a big hug!  I signed the guest log and we were on our way to the cave (it was right there, not on another road).  Followed by two frisky dogs that wanted to play fetch, we found our way to the entrance.  We explored the cave for a few hours.  Daryl managed to slip from a rope into a waterfall (hold it Daryl, we need to get a picture!)

After a few hours of meandering (thank you Carl) through Mystic, we headed to Harman, WV to check out some property on High Top Mountain.  We never made it to the top of High Top.  The snow was too deep and the ice too slippery.  I never saw Joedy so white when he had to chose between running into a snow bank and going off the mountain.  Fortunately, he chose the former.  I had the utmost confidence that Joedy would be able to do it, but Daryl says it was because I was in the back seat and didn't have her visual advantage of the rock wall on the left and the 600 foot drop on the right.

The fun really began that night back at Thorn Spring.  Come to the meeting to hear the stories of Otto of Guatemala, Dmitri and the Russians, and how Grant wakes up!!!