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!





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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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!

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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…

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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…

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Me…

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

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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…

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Mike, having a cuddle, with the toys…

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Mike took a pic of Steve…

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…and then of both Steve and I…

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Mike brought in the reel…

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

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

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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Thetford Mines: Kay-Beck

3 11 2014

Friday, October 31st, 2014 ~

Despite the fact that there would be numerous characters from Frozen, zombies, and superheros knocking on our door for candy, Steve and I were loading up, and heading to Thetford Mines, QC. As we were throwing the last few items into the van, we did get a couple of little trick-or-treaters, and we saw the Best. Dad. Costume. Ever. I have never seen a Storm Trooper living in our neighbourhood, but this dad’s costume was the real deal. I made a comment to him, to which he nodded, as he pushed his daughter’s stroller to the house across the street. Use the force, Storm Trooper… become one of us…

Since we were pressed for time, we went through a Drive-Thru, for dinner. Of course, we brought along our giant bowl of candy, and offered some to the staff, as we drove through. Steve thought I was nuts, at first, but after seeing the reactions of the restaurant staff, there were smiles all around!

Ok… en route… Our drive was pleasantly uneventful… mostly… until we reached the exit towards Thetford Mines. Holy roller coaster road, Batman! There were twists and turns, hills with tummy drops, and it was a 90 km/hr country road, with houses on each side. We drove on this crazy road for about an hour, before making it to our hotel (thanks for hooking us up, Denis!). We settled in, and… z-z-z-z… Only 4 1/2 hours of driving.

Saturday, November 1st, 2014 ~

We were not in a rush to get to Flintkote, so we lazily got some breakfast (mmm… waffles), and got dressed for the frigid weather. It was in the minuses, here!

We arrived, and it took us a couple of wrong turns, once we were inside the quarry, but we eventually found the car park, for the “shallow” side. We met up with a bunch of our friends, analyzed gas, then jumped in the water!

Frankie, Denis and Steve…

The entry…

Steve, after his glove test…

Me, waiting for the Diving Goodness to begin!

We did bring our scooters with us (duhhhh), and Steve and I took turns with the camera.

Dany D., Eric V., Frankie, and I…

We scootered along the wall, at about 40′, for about 15 minutes, then dropped down to the bus. I was exceptionally happy to have my “new” Santi 400g undies on (I bought them last year, but was saving them for this winter), thanks to that frigid thermocline. The bus sits at about 85′, and the temperature dropped to about 42F. We tied our scooters off, and went for a swim.

Me, peeking out from the side of the bus – at least I didn’t get thrown under it… 😉

…and coming out of the bus…

Dany, by the bus…

Steve, Eric, and Frankie…

Ok… let’s get a move-on… We picked up our scooters, and kept going.

Steve…

We then came across the “computer room,” and the place that Christian St-Pierre’s mirror was placed. Note the GUE Ontario sticker, on the corner of the mirror! Steve did get a shot of the mirror, but it was a little blown out, using the strobes.

Frankie, me, Eric V. …

From there, we headed to the “restaurant,” which is beside a conveyer belt. Apparently, this conveyer belt goes down to about 280′.

Here, you see the kitchen to the left, and the dining area to the right…

The conveyer belt, in the background. It is quite large…

Me, as we were about to move up, above the thermocline…

Ok… That’s enough of that, let’s keep going… We continued around the rest of the quarry, and came back in. I was very thankful for the extra warmth of my new’ish undies, and even though it did occur to me, to add an extra weight to my harness, with the new, fluffy undies, I was still in need of a rock, for my pocket. D’oh! At least I didn’t have to look far for one. They were in abundance here, and they all had weight to them – as opposed to the ones at Morrison’s quarry. You have to search far and wide, to find one worthy of a pocket weight.

Bottom Time: 59 mins.
Max. Depth: 97′
Water Temp.: 41F (50F, above the thermocline)
Vis.: Pretty darned good!

Steve and Eric V., at the surface…

The one and only: Frankie Boy!

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 ~

Today, Steve was doing a GUE Fundies – Tech upgrade dive, and Eric B. came to join me for a dive.

Driving in, at the quarry…

Eric and I plopped in, watched the course dive for a minute or two, then headed off into the abyss. We made it to the bus stop in about 12 minutes, this time. We dropped down, had a swim and a look, then came back up, above the thermocline. It was really neat to see some of the items that have been placed along the quarry wall. There were canvases of artwork, which were really cool, and nice to look at, as we scootered by!

We passed by the conveyer belt again, and I knew that we had a little ways to go yet, before coming full circle.

As we did come in, we came up to about 30′, which is where I knew that the little round “bubbles” were, that led back to the exit. Sure enough, they appeared, and we saw the rest of the gang, doing rescues. That was good timing!

Bottom Time: 43 mins. (a little shorter than yesterday)
Max. Depth: 85′
Water Temp.: 46F (we didn’t stay as long, at depth, this time)
Vis.: Still, pretty awesome

Cold water is goodness, but it is not a producer of very flattering surface pictures, thanks to “Cold Water Pudgy Face.”
Eric B. and I…

As Cas would say… A Chantellfie! Yes, I was trying to capture the peeps in the background…
(I am totally adopting that, Cas) 🙂

Steve and I, after a fun weekend of Plongée Bonté (is that the correct wording, for “Diving Goodness,” in French?), and fun with friends!

After we spent a bit of time inside the container, warming up, we headed to a little restaurant, for some food. We ate, bid our goodbyes, then headed back on the road, to come home. Thanks to Eric’s fancy car computer, he messaged us, to warn us about an accident, and to change our route. *Phew* That was impeccable timing – about 3 km before we neared the brake lights!

Thanks to all of our friends at Plongée Nautilus, for having us, and for a great weekend!

Congratulations, to Mathieu and Anne-Marie, for completing their Fundamentals Tech Pass upgrade!! w00t w00t!!! Well done, and well earned!!!