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!





3- I Can’t Tell You…

15 02 2018

Thursday, February 15th, 2018 ~

Today’s dive was at a site that we had never been to before, and cannot really disclose info on. It was a good distance into the jungle, and not very well-known. The land owners were pretty friendly, and showed us the direction in. We parked, then went to look around, to find the entry, and brought our tanks down. The stairs weren’t bad, but there were a few steep steps that I knew that I would need an arm to climb up, with my tanks on!

We looked down another path, that another cenote was, but didn’t want to venture too far, wearing only flip flops and shorts. We tried to narrow our chances of getting invested with ticks.

Second path…

As we were prepping gear, another couple unloaded, to dive the other cenote.

Looking down, to the large cenote…

Steve went in without gear on, to locate the line, so we didn’t silt up the area, looking around, with gear on (very silty bottom). We did find it, so we got ready to dive!

What. An. Awesome. Cave. This place has just about everything: decorations, big passage, small passage, restrictions, up and down crevices, chocolate sauce decorations, and just freaking amazing. We will definitely go back to this place!

Gear: AL 80s ~ Back gas, only

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes

Max. Depth: 44′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 32′

After our dive, we met up with some other folks that were swimming in the cenote. One was a local, and the other two were from the US.

Definitely some happy cavezzzz faces!!!





2- Caracol

15 02 2018

Wednesday. February 14th, 2018 ~

Ale and Peter kept us out late, so we weren’t as quick to get up, this morning (of course, we had nothing to do with it – nope, not a bit – that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it). I say that, but the torrential downpour did wake me up, in the wee hours.

Oren just happened to be in the area, so he was joining us on a dive to Caracol. We had been given directions to some pretty parts of the cave, so we were looking forward to seeing it!

On the jungle road, leading to the cenote, we drove past more wildlife than I remember seeing, in the past.

We saw a bunch of lizards…

A couple of vultures, that appeared to be waiting for us…

We also saw a little fox, that took off, once he noticed us. He didn’t stick around long enough, for us to ask him what it is that he really says…

We also saw a couple of mini road runners (ok, that’s not what they are really called, but that’s what they looked like). They ran across so fast, that one of them wiped out, when he hit the brakes. It was almost like he was skidding on ice. They were too fast, to get a picture of. We did learn that they are called, “agoutis.”

Ok, back to diving! They charge 250 pesos, per person, and if you pay an extra 100 pesos, the guys that work there, will bring your tanks to and from the benches, above the stairs. They don’t take them down, but will help to ease the load. Those steps are so friggin’ steep, and when you’re as vertically challenged as I am, you wish for the tank fairy to bring them up and down, for you. They are so steep, that when I take each step down, the butt end of my tanks hit the stair behind me. That’s a little unnerving, when you have about 120 lbs on your back. Nice and slow… nice and slow… Thank goodness they have decent hand rails, along the way.

Photo from a few years ago. At least they have better traction on the stairs now, than they did in this photo!

Caracol is a lovely, shallow dive. We realized that bringing a stage was probably overkill, but we were unsure of the distance that we were traveling, so we opted to bring one, just in case.

There were a bus-load of snorkelers jumping in, as we were entering the water. They seemed to be having a lot of fun. The cenote people didn’t turn on the lights for them, as we were hoping they would. It’s gorgeous, when they do!

Photo, from a few years ago, taken with an iPhone…

Oren led, Steve was #2, and I was #3. It seems that the main line has been cut back a bit, closer to the STOP sign, which was probably a good idea. We took the line behind the staircase (upstream), jumped, swam to the end, tied into another line, swam past another cenote, and as we passed the second cenote, dropped our stages. Holy smokes, that was a long swim. We swam some more, got to the end, tied into another line, and got to some slightly more narrow passage, with many decorations. There were even a couple of rooms with highly decorated “chocolate sauce” formations. We were not yet at our turn pressures, but we had been swimming for an hour and sixteen minutes, and still had to swim all the way back. Team consensus was to turn back. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” I kept singing to myself, along with wishing I had my scooter. Ah, well… get some exercise, right? Something has to take place of the farm work, this week!

I was happy to see the STOP sign, even though it really was a nice dive. Day 2 of cavezzzz, and we already put in a good workout. After surfacing, I hadn’t even reached my back gas turn pressure.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 16 mins.

Max. Depth: 28′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 17′

Now, to climb back up those stairs…

It was fun to dive with Oren, too! Or… half of what we remember of Oren, when we last saw him, in September! Looking good, Dr. O!





Chillin’ ~ Really Chillin’

20 02 2017

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 ~

Steve and I had been hibernating for a bit of the winter, but it was a beautiful weekend, so we decided to get our butts into the water. It’s not quite the Mexico cavezzz, but it’s the closest thing we have to it, right now… Ice Diving Goodness!

Our gear had been completely taken apart, fins were in piles, undergarments weren’t packed, and my drysuit didn’t have the cuff rings on it. Our last dives had been in much warmer water (cavezzzzzzzz), so we weren’t as prepared as we usually are. Ohh… and we needed to fill our tanks, too. Still, we pursued. We were going DIVING!

Purple tanks, ready to go!

16681878_10208697867581014_1589589588646467128_n

At noon, we pulled out of the driveway, and made our way to the quarry. Since the sun had been shining for two days, with above 0C temperatures, the ice was a little bit soft, near the entry. There was already a nice hole to enter through, so we didn’t have to worry about a chainsaw. Good thing, seeing as we didn’t bring ours.

It was pretty busy there, but most of the divers were done for the day, leaving us the ice hole to ourselves (what did you call me??).

Entry/Exit…

16864592_10208702954588186_2049963814940911409_n

Steve attached the reel to the ice screw, before we entered the water, so that we were ready to go! We did our gear checks, and one by one, we descended under the ice. w00t! w00t!

I had the D100 with me, and Steve was toting the D200. We both wanted to play around and take photos, so we were both armed!

Steve…

dsc_2295

Me…

dsc_3029

Fred and Mike, as we all made our way to the plane…

dsc_3032

Well… we didn’t really have a whole lot to do, other than goof around and play with toys. So, that’s exactly what we did. We stayed around the 25′ mark, since it was our first ice dive of the season (seriously… I wonder if there is something wrong with us, this year).

The plane…

dsc_2306

Mike, having a cuddle, with the toys…

dsc_3064

Mike took a pic of Steve…

dsc_3033

…and then of both Steve and I…

dsc_3035

Steve also practiced his upside-down backfinning. Yes, it is possible to do this. I witnessed it, with my own eyes.

dsc_2348

As we were thinking about turning around, we noticed a small camera appear in front of us. Uh… hello? Big Brother? Are you there? Fred had some close-ups with it, but we had no idea where this thing came from  – apart from the rope that it was dangling from.

dsc_3066

Between Steve and I, we took about 170 photos. I guess we’ve been having some withdrawal. Then again… that’s not completely unheard of, for me.

dsc_3060dsc_3059

We finished having fun with the little video camera, and started to make our way back in.

I don’t think that this piano has any pending concertos in its future…

dsc_2373

Mike brought in the reel…

dsc_2384

…and we saw a little froggie, along the way. We stopped to say hello.

dsc_2377

Of course, we had to stop for a few more photos.

dsc_3074dsc_2382dsc_2387

Bottom Time: 41 mins.
Max Depth: 27′
Water Temp.: 37F (39F, in the shallows)
Visibility: Decent, but not as clear as it usually is, in the winter

Getting out!

dsc_2391

dsc_2392

This photo shows the fellow that dropped the camera on us…

dsc_3086

I must say, that fleece-lined leggings, for $7, at Giant Tiger = WIN-WIN, as a bottom base layer, under my Santi undergarments!

…and… *drum roll*… a Chantelle-fie, for the close!

dsc_2388

Of course, we had to make our visit to Jean Burger, for ice diving poutine, where I noticed that they had some of my pics on display! w00t!

16864366_10208699250015574_9217776463721018541_n

16806979_10208699250095576_5609232086232560504_n

 

 

 

 





Near The Sisters

2 08 2015

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 ~ 

Since today was such an amazing, sunshiny, summer day, we decided to go diving. Imagine that – Shocking, I know.

Getting gear together…Getting ready for Diving Goodness!

 

Once we finally made it down to the park, there were only a couple of available spaces, to park. This is pretty usual, but since they were having a festival at another nearby park, there were cars absolutely everywhere. We did manage to find a spot, and although not the closest spot, we were parked. We then eyed someone about to leave, a few spots closer, and Steve got the van, while I stood guard. No one was going to run me over… right? 🙂

We brought our gear down to the entry point, geared up, and got our butts into the water. The water felt absolutely wonderful. It had warmed up so much, in the last two weeks!

Gear, going into the water.

 

Our plan was to go downstream, towards the Three Sister Islands, and have a look around. We were going to spend an hour at 100′, and make our way back, doing our deco, on the trigger.

 

That is exactly what we did. 🙂 We scootered down to just shy of 100′, where I saw a white sturgeon baby. I have never seen a white one before, and this is the second young sturgeon that we have seen recently (providing the other one was the same one, that we kept seeing, in the same spot). This one was quite a bit more shy than the regular one (Atlantic sturgeon, I’m guessing) that we see.

We drifted along the periwinkle shells, where we saw bits of wreckage – nothing significant, but neat to see, anyway. There was a path of coal, lining the way, and the visibility was actually better than it has been, over the last month. It wasn’t fantastic, but we were happy with it. We kept drifting, and I saw another baby sturgeon! This one was white, with a dark splotch on him. This is entirely good news, to see that they are around. We usually go quite a long time, without seeing these fish.

There were spots where the current was moving at a good pace, and then it seemed to get really slow. This is unusual, between the islands, as the currents are usually a little rock ‘n’ roll, in between them. We figured that we were in between the second and third islands, from the current’s behaviour. We kept along, and we happened upon a piling, in the middle of the channel.

We then started our “journey,” back in. When we got up to 20′, we switched to our 02, and hit the trigger, again. We seemed to have timed it absolutely perfectly, and had completed our deco, before even getting back to the entry point. *High Five,* team!

It was a really fun dive, and there were things to look at, at every single point of the dive. w00t w00t!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 30 mins.
Max. Depth: 114′
Water Temp.: 72F (YEAHHHH!!!)
Visibility: 20′

Of course, it had been a year since we had been to the Fudgery, so…. the rest is self-explanatory. 😀

 

Diving Goodness was had! w00t!