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! 🇲🇽





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!





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!

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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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