The South West Came North

27 05 2018

Saturday, May 26th, 2018 ~Β 

It has been a couple of months, since I’ve been in the water, thanks to a knock on the noggin’, but I am back in action! Steve and I were heading to Brockville, for Diving Goodness! Jason Wright was not too far away, and was joining us for a couple of days of diving, too. Of course, Mike P. was in on the action, too!

We met at Centeen, for around 10, got Jason set up with some gear, and were eager to get in the water. It was a bit busy, with courses.

Getting gear ready, and analyzing tanks…

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A big shout out to SOS 1000 Islands, for the work they have done, putting in the second set of steps, to the water. The hooks, for stages and scooters is extra helpful! *GO SOS!*

As I was gearing up, I ripped my glove. I was attempting to wear my 5mm wet gloves, and… rrrrrrrip, right at the seam. I was already committed, so I toughed it out.

We got in the water, did gear checks, and away we went. Mike was on the outside left, then Steve, Jason, and myself, taking up the right side. We scootered upstream, for just over 33 minutes, then dropped into the channel. The sun must have been hiding, because it was pretty much a night dive. We saw a few neat bottles, and Jason even found a bit of a plate, but it wasn’t carry-worthy. Mike did find a pretty neat one, too. We drifted along for a bit, and Β hit a back eddy, that pushed us a little more shallow, so we hit the trigger back to our planned depth (100′).

When we reached our max drift time, we headed back up to 65′, where we visited the Gaskin. Of course, we did… that’s our returning reference! Also, it was neat to show it to Jason, who is used to tiny little boats, at the bottom of the lake he dives. It’s amazing, that the line we ran, years ago, is still in decent shape!

We headed back in, and did our little bit o’ deco, where I managed to get a couple of photos. The vis was terrible, so I didn’t get much.

Mike, Steve, and Jason…

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…and again, with a photobomber…

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Of course, a Chantelle-fie!

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We definitely had a lot of fun!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 51F

We went for after-dive food, at Boston Pizza, then back to Mike’s, for a gather-round-the-fire-pit session. Chris P. was also in town, and came over to join us!

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I can’t tell you what we chatted about… you know, because what happens at the fire pit, stays at the fire pit! Ok, ok… we roasted giant marshmallows! Tomorrow’s dive, to follow! πŸ˜€





11- Iguana Be Here Longer

9 03 2018

Friday, February 23rd, 2018 ~

This dive is brought to you by the letters LOL. After a long gap of not seeing Irene, we were finally able to dive together! We went to a Nohoch, for a nice, easy swim dive… for 3 hours. This was my last dive of the trip, since Steve and I have some gear maintenance to do, tomorrow. That, and dry our gear, pack, switch condos for the night, and maybe relax, a little.

Partial map of Nohoch…

I ran the reel, since I think I need some more practice. I tied into the main line, and our swim began. We jumped left, over to the Parker Line, where the cave has so many decorations, floor to ceiling. Such a beautiful cave, that I could spend so much time just gawking, and looking at absolutely everything. We traveled quite slowly, so that we could look at all of the gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites.

After dropping our stages (a bit early), we made another jump, followed along, going through even more decorations, and then to a T. We traveled left, went to the end, then returned, ogling incredible formations in the cave floor, and calcite sheets, before and traveling right. We arrived at another jump (right beside the line), which we followed upward, where we surfaced into a narrow, cylinder-shaped opening. Of course, we chatted, laughed, and watched a couple of bats flying around, above our heads. Back down we went, and came to a very organic part of the cave, with tree roots, and a silty bottom. We eventually turned around, and headed back.

Of course, there was upside down swimming, giggling at helictites, and having an absolute blast. We surfaced with big grins, for such an awesome dive! Although, it sure was a lot of swimming. Next time, scooters! πŸ˜›

Bottom Time: 3 hours, 3 minutes

Max. Depth: 23′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 13′

When we returned to the steps, we saw an iguana that appeared to be trapped against the back of the cenote wall. There was a person reading a book, waiting for other diver friends to surface, that said he fell in, and struggled to get to the far wall. Of course… we had to attempt to “save his life.” The book lady went and got a rescue swim floaty thing, that was for the snorkelers, and I gently pushed it towards him, trying not to scare him. He didn’t move a muscle, except his eyes. He seemed to look at me, and say… “Really?”

That didn’t work, so Irene suggested that I put my fins together, to see if he would climb on (laying on my back, which is easily doable in doubles, but slightly more challenging, with a stage). That didn’t work, either.

One of the snorkeling crew came over, wondering wtf we were doing, and says, “they can swim.” I’m such a dork…

Well, we did have some more laughs about saving the swimming iguana’s life.

This is a terrible photo, but the only one I have. Photo, or it didn’t happen!

We did have a most fun-filled day! Who says that diving is all serious business??

Totally whited-out faces, taken by the book lady (also known as the swim floaty thing provider), with our iguana friend in the background. Irene, we must dive again! Five years is too long!

We swam… here…

At least my last dive of our trip was a fabulous one! Until next time, amigos! πŸ‡²πŸ‡½





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. πŸ˜‚

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). πŸ˜‹

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). πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜›

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!!