9- El Toh-Ho-Ho!

21 02 2018

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 ~

Besides the fact that it’s February, 33C, and sunny, I swear, it feels like Christmas! Today’s dive had everything you could wish for: big rooms, small rooms, dark cave, white cave, cheese grater limestone, narrow passage, decorated ceilings, chocolate sauce, melted wax-like formations, calcite passage, passage with narrow columns, so many decorations, extreme restrictions, and even a very silty restriction.

Entry…

Today, Hilde took me to El Toh, which was absolutely amazing! We stayed on the main line, taking a few Ts, and made it to the 4th, where the passage became sidemount territory. The first two restrictions were fairly easy to swim through, even with a stage attached. The plan was to drop our stage bottles, before the third, since it would be extremely tricky to maneuver them through the next ones.

Next came the silt-out restriction. It wasn’t very forgiving, height-wise, and very silty. No way to avoid the silt, there. Hilde went first, and since I couldn’t see, to figure out the best way to pass, I waited for the “dust” to settle a bit, so I could at least see which way to slide through. I tried to follow behind, but my predicted movement was too narrow for me to get through. Once I had a bit more of a visual, I slid by. Yes, I did have the line.

The next restriction was a bit like a jungle gym. We fit the puzzle pieces, by maneuvering sideways, up, down, and around… not without taking a little bit of time to find the correct combination (at least, for me, ring my first time through it)!

There was also a halocline, at 38′, which was before the jungle gym restriction (not the actual name of the restriction, just my own interpretation of it). We went through it a second time, just before we turned the dive – it got rather “pinchy,” past that point!

On the way out, we were convinced that there may have been a bit of flow against us, as we swam. We weren’t sure if it was because we had been swimming for a while, or it there really was some resistance. My fin and glide had a bit less glide, on our exit. 😂

As we neared open water, you could see the daylight, which was absolutely beautiful, as we reached the cavern zone. Apparently, you don’t see that in the summer, due to the tannic water. Lights out, for a gorgeous swim to the surface. It will be hard to beat that dive!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Max. Depth: 42′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 21′

Happy Cavezzzzzz faces!

Hilde, thank you for being my buddy today, and for taking me on such an awesome dive!!!

w000000000t!

There may have been some relaxing on the patio, when I got back to the condo!





8- Nohoch On Our Belts

20 02 2018

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 ~

w00t! Off to Nohoch today, with Mike and Nadine! Steve told me that the main line had changed since we were last there, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our plan was to go to the Parker Line, and see some prettiness.

Partial map…

Taking pics of the pretty entrance…

Diver entry…

Mike led this dive, with Nadine in second, and me, in the back. We did find the main line pretty quickly, and when we got to an arrow, that read, “PL,” I wondered if we were actually on the Parker Line… yeah, no. That was the jump to the Parker Line.

Ah, well… we carried on the main line for a bit, then took another jump to the left. The line eventually came to a gap, and Mike ran a spool across (may have been a continuous line, in the past). We ended up tying into the Parker Line, anyway. I recognized some of the “awesomeness,” that is Parker (sorry, Mike… had to use that word). 😋

We were definitely the “slow team,” as we absorbed the beauty of this cave. It has also been a while, since I’ve been to this cave, too. This line is definitely in my top 7.

Eventually, we turned the dive (imagine that), and I guess I swam too fast (insert inside joke, here), and we returned a little quicker than we had entered (yes, you are supposed to). 😉

Ahh… part of me wishes I had a camera with me.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (was at turn pressure, when returned to the reel 🤣)

Max. Depth: 19′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 13′

Another fun day with my friends from Germany! Thanks for letting me tag along, again!





7- Mayan Blue By You

19 02 2018

Monday, February 19th, 2018 ~

Steve, Mike, and Frankie were off to do their 57 hour dive (yes, I’m exaggerating), so Mike and Nadine were stuck with me, today.

There were other ZG friends there too, so we were all in good company.

Our plan was to go B-E-F… or as far as we could go towards that route, only using back gas. I was leading the dive, and once we got in, I had forgotten how cool the halocline was. It has been a while since visiting this cave, too.

We came up to the 90 degree turn, and there was only a single arrow. I remembered that the jump had double arrows, but things often change in the cavez, so I opted to try this one. I dropped my cookie, tied into the line, Nadine and Mike dropped their cookies, and away we jumped. I thought to myself, “Self… this passage is really cool, but I don’t think this is E tunnel.” It got a bit narrower, so I signaled to Nadine and Mike, asking if they wanted to go to the next one, or carry on.

Carry on, we shall!

Ooh… it’s gets even more narrow… and even more narrow… oop… we won’t get past that spot. We had reached sidemount territory. We turned back, and once we reached the main line, we were close to turn pressures, so headed back. Being number 3, through halocline is always pretty fun! There were spots that you couldn’t avoid going right through it, so there were swishes of gasoline water, getting in my way. 😛

We seemed to reach the reel much quicker than we swam away from it, but we hadn’t picked-up the pace, much. I picked-up the reel, and we did our minimum deco, on the way up.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Max. Depth: 81′

Water Temp.: 78F

Avg. Depth: 40′

Gear: AL80s

Cost: 200 pesos

What a fun dive, with new friends! We didn’t reach our intended destination, but we still had fun, exploring tighter realms. Next time, we’ll know that the correct jump was about 60 seconds further, past the 90!

We surfaced, then went back down for Mike to film the fishies. An excellent day! Thanks for letting me join you, Nadine and Mike!!





6- Wash It Again

18 02 2018

Sunday, February 18th, 2018 ~

Well, we enjoyed the other day’s dive at Car Wash so much, that we decided to do it again, and bring Frankie. Steve was #1, F was #2, and I was 3.

There were a bunch of other friends from the shop there, too. Very popular spot, today.

Part of my gear…

I guess there really isn’t a whole lot to write, since we did the same dive, and saw the same gorgeous cave. I don’t think I could get tired of seeing it, even if I “had” to do the same dive, for the whole trip. 😀

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Max: Depth: 61′

Water Temp.: 78′

Avg. Depth: 30′





5- A Pinch Of Salt

17 02 2018

Saturday, February 17th, 2018 ~

Today, we headed to Otoch Ha, with scooters and a stage. I have scootered parts of the upstream section a few times, but had never been on the downstream line.

We packed our little VW Gol (that’s right, Gol… not Golf), and I’m not sure we could have fit much else in it.

Two scooters, two stages, two sets of doubles, and two bins…

It took about 30 minutes to get down the Labna Ha road, since we were weighed down, a bit, and didn’t want to bottom the car out, or get a flat tire.

The bugs were in full force, when we arrived at the cenote. It’s further into the jungle, so we did come prepared (those Avon wipes are the best invention, ever).

We carried our gear down the path, and got ready for Diving Goodness.

With a view of the cave entrance…

We entered, T’d left, jumped right, and reached a crazy restriction. Steve went in, first. He got through. My turn… scooter, then me… oop… oop… oop… regroup… oop… I wasn’t sure that I was going to fit through, and was trying to figure out how the puzzle piece was going to fit. Regroup again, and try to squeeze a different way. I had watched how Steve went through, and thought that I was doing the same thing. Apparently, not. Ooh, ooh… there I go! I’m through! Not the easiest spot to navigate, when you’re half upside-down, and sideways.

We scootered for a bit longer, dropped stages, then scooters, and came up to some absolutely stunning and highly decorated cave. Oh. Em. Gee. Being stuck for 4 minutes was worth absolutely every second, for what we saw. We just hovered there, and couldn’t move. There were decorations from floor to ceiling, big stalactites, a bunch of tiny straw stalagmites, and just pure heaven. I didn’t want to leave! We eventually kept swimming, and went through some narrow, decorated passage. As the line continued, there was a small collapse in the floor, which dipped into the halocline. We had a quick peek, then turned around. Holy smokes, such beauty. Steve did take some video, and I will eventually post it, once it’s edited.

We turned, picked-up scooters, stages, then reached the restriction. I guess I figured out the puzzle, as I didn’t have any trouble, getting through, from the back side. w0000000t!!

We surfaced, and I was giggling like a school girl. I’m sure I had a shit-eating grin on my face, too!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Max. Depth: 41′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 32′

Once packed, we realized that we had so much gas left over, we could have done another swimming dive. I guess we were so happy with our dive, that it never even occurred to us. 🤓

Very silty entry…

We finished off our day with a presentation of the Hoyo Negro project, some food at The Pub, and a free shot of tequila. Such an exceptional day!