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! 😛

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! 🇲🇽





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!





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!!!