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!!





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!





Gidd-Ee-Yup!

21 10 2017

Saturday, October 21st, 2017 ~ 

It feels like forever, since I’ve posted about Diving Goodness, so here it goes! Steve and I were packed and ready to go DIVING! We met Geneviève and Stéphane at Centeen Park, to do some skills, which went absolutely fabulous. We didn’t think the park would be too busy, since it is nearing the end of October, but we were wrong, wrong, wrong. We had to park quite a bit further than usual, but all was worth it.

As we were gearing up, an older fella walked into the park, and started playing the bag pipes. Ahhhhh… I loved it! Excellent gear-up music.

We got in, and went through a bunch of skills! *Enter GUE skills, here* 😛 Geneviève and Stéphane have worked so hard, and are ready for Cave 1! Way to go, friends!!!

Bottom Time: 56 mins.
Max. Depth: 28′
Water Temp.: 60F

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Since we hadn’t been in the channel for a while, Steve and I brought our scooters out, and went for a second dive. w00t w00t! I was already a little chilly, thanks to a leak in my drysuit boot, but I wasn’t cold enough to turn the dive. Off we went!

Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me today, and… we found the carriage with the horse bones! We have only seen it once before, and this time, the skull was missing. There were still other large bones, and some of the teeth. By the looks of it, it was an older horsey. WHY COULDN’T I HAVE BROUGHT THE CAMERA??? I guess we’ll have to go on a mission, to find it, again! We continued on, through the channel, and had a fun drift, before we came back up. We overshot the exit, but only by a very small margin. What a fun day of DIVING GOODNESS!

Bottom Time: 44 mins.
Max. Depth: 105′
Water Temp.: 60F

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