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!





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!





A Barrel Of Laughs

20 02 2017

Sunday, July 17th, 2016 ~

Today’s dive is brought to you by a whole bunch of fun! Our meeting time was for 1pm, at Centeen Park. We didn’t have much of a plan, until we got there (yes, we did discuss our dive plan). There were seven of us, and since we figured that the visibility was going to be “pants,” in the shallows, we were a team of two, a team of three, and another team of two (Gareth L. – That term was for you). We would still stay together, but we opted to make smaller buddy teams, in case we got separated in the muck. Good plan…

Steve and I were together, followed by Andy and Chris, then Mike, Jen, and Fred. We did our gear and bubble checks, then away we went.

We traveled upstream in the shallows, which had about 5′ of milky visibility. Steve and I were in the lead, so we stopped a couple of times, to see if we were all still together. We managed to stick together for the first bit, but the vis proved to be tougher, today. Jen, Mike, and Fred had changed depth a bit, to see if the vis would improve. Chris and Andy were right behind us. There were a couple of giant sheepshead carp, that didn’t expect to see us, in their spot.

We carried on for a bit, then dropped into the channel, where we could actually see where we were going. As we scootered across, I started singing a made-up song, in my reg. It was absolutely ridiculous, and all it took was one giggle to myself, to realize how silly it was, which made me break out in hysterics. Steve looked over at me, like… wtf??? There was no way I could explain myself, while on the trigger, so I just kept on laughing. I had tears coming down my face, and water was sneaking into the bottom of my mask, but I just couldn’t stop. That is, until we reached the channel. It was DRIFTING TIME! w00t w00t! We went a bit further south, this time, to see if we could find anything different.

We found a broken, green teapot, some neat bottles, and then… as soon as I started my gas switch, we happened upon a giant freakin’ anchor. Of course, there was mad current there, so I tried to kick against it, while doing my switch, so that everyone could see the anchor. Mission accomplished.

Shortly after the anchor, Chris and Andy had reached their drifting dive plan limit, and headed back toward the entry.

Steve and I carried on for another while, where we saw some neat rock piles, more bottles, periwinkle shells, rocks, bottles, periwinkle shells – you get the picture. Ohh.. We did also find the outer rim of what could have been a basin of some sort, a trail of coal, and a whole bunch of golf balls.

After an hour of drifting, we started our ascent to 64′, where we arrived at the Gaskin. We did a quick tour, then made our way back. As we followed the line back, there were some people (I think – we couldn’t see anything) creating huge billows of silt, to the point where it wasn’t safe for us to scooter, anymore. Luckily, we didn’t need the line to get back, otherwise we’d be in absolute blindness. We found the pipe, different line on the pipe, then to 20′, where we did our deco… and met up with Jen, Mike, and Fred. They had also just arrived, and witnessed the billowing.

There were a lot of laughs, and it was really nice to have such fun, with friends!

Bottom Time: 2 Hours, 25 mins.
Max. Depth: 108′
Water Temp.: 71F
Visibility: 0′ to 40′ (depending on where we were)

We packed up, and there was a bit of chit-chat, too…

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Cheese, Jen and Mike!

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I managed to get a sneak photo, of Steve!

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Of course, there was an after-dive meal – still, no shortage of shenaniganry!

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Sauntering Through Moulinette

23 05 2016

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 ~

So… Today’s dive started out with a bang, or a flush, or a swift, cold current… inside my drysuit. Totally my fault.

After bringing our gear down to the water, Steve, Eric, Jen, and I got into our drysuits, and put the gear IN the water. Jen was with me, when I was bringing my camera down, and as we were chatting, and at our scooters, I asked if she would mind clipping my camera to my stage. I didn’t have my dry gloves on, and I didn’t want to let water into my wrist seals. As I am handing it to her, I swear, I felt like I had hit some kind of frigid electric shock system.

Yes… I had forgotten to completely zip my drysuit zipper. After 10 years of diving dry, I finally did it. I mindlessly walked in, and let the flows of the St. Lawrence River completely soak me. *SRLSY*  I may have actually breached the water, as it dripped down, into my feet. Thank goodness, we were only in water up to our waists… er… up to the bottom of our drysuit zippers. *Dork*

Ok… I hung my head in open zipper shame, as Jen was telling an interested passer-by about my “damp” misfortune. I guess the silver lining is that I didn’t pee myself.

I fixed myself up (closed my zipper), and since the water was 50F’ish, I decided to soldier on. There would be no ridiculing in the locker room, for this girl.

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Ok… tanks on, in the water, went over our plan, gear checks, before we made a compass bearing. Our objective was to find the old Grist Mill, that was covered over, as part of the flooding of the St. Lawrence River. There is significant current in most of this area, so it is either a scooter-dependent dive, or a boat dive (we have no idea what the coordinates are, since we are trying to find it). 🙂

We found some foundations, Old Hwy. 2, a lot of tree stumps, and some remnants of what used to be the town of Moulinette. Always a fascinating place to dive, and to wonder how many people once lived here (311, according to the Historical Society), and lived in a thriving small town.

Remnants of the old town of Moulinette…

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We didn’t end up finding the Grist Mill on this dive, but we sure had a lot of fun looking for it!

As we scootered back, in the shallower water, the sun was shining down, and we could see our reflections in the top of the water. I tried to stop and take a photo, but due to the shallowy’ness (new word), I couldn’t get the shot, after we had stopped. I still tried (unsuccessfully)…

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Bottom Time: 1 Hour, 10 Mins.
Max. Depth: 56′
Water Temp.: 51F (53F, in some places)
Visibility: 25′, and milky

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Once we got out, and I dumped the water out of my drysuit (from my earlier self-inflicted zipper misfortune, ending up with chilly feet) and packed up, we went over to Ault Park, where the Lost Villages Museum sits. It wasn’t open, but we did manage to take some photos of some of the buildings that were moved, before the river flooding. I absolutely love this place, and look forward to going back, once it’s open for the season!

Just a couple of photos…

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Here is a link to the Historical Society web site:

Moulinette

We finished up the evening, with dinner at the Pizzeria/Restaurant, just west of the park. Their fries and gravy were really delicious. Oh yeah, and the Jello. That was pretty yummy, too. I think it was my first time, having blue jello! 😛 Blue, for what my toes must have been, at the end of the dive. Thank goodness, the water temp wasn’t too bad!

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Might Have Been The Jodrey…

14 09 2015

Sunday, September 13th, 2015 ~ 

Well, holy smokes… It’s boat diving day! Steve, Frankie, Eric B., and I joined in on Eric V., Dany D., Christian St-P., and Guy’s T2 course charter, to the Jodrey. Steve and Frankie were doing some cool penetration, and Eric and I had also planned to go inside.

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We dropped down the wall, landed on the wreck, and… well… we couldn’t see much of anything. We toured around the crane and conveyer belt for a bit, and looked for the door that we had planned on entering. Yeah… no such luck. We did see the winch, a port hole, and a hellovalotta nothing much. The currents were also all over the place, here. The down currents were stronger, the up currents weren’t there, and there were varying degrees of current, in other places. We have pretty much learned the lay of the currents here, but they did their best to fool us, today! Eric and I decided to end our dive a little earlier than planned, since we couldn’t really see anything, and Eric may have had an encounter with a rare “jumping zebra mussel.” Buggers… 😛

As we ascended, I caught sight of an eel, at 138′. It’s the first time that I’ve seen one just hanging out, under a rock, going up the wall. Kind of neat, since we have been seeing dead ones again, this year. We were able to catch the back eddy, on deco, which was really relaxing. It’s not always there, but when it is, it makes deco all the much “more gooder.”

We had found a sweet resting spot, at 20′, and were chilling there, for a while… until the three on course came up beside us. As they neared, the current changed again, and Eric and I decided to give them their space, instead of harassing them, and making them anxious. 😛

We drifted a bit more, finished most of our deco obligation, and scootered back around to the deco bowl, where we stayed for the last couple of minutes. Our 6-up was insane. Lots of weeds, and a lot of current (nothing unusual). It was nice to have the XK-1 scooters, to turn right down, and keep us in one spot, against the blistery water. 🙂

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 27 mins.
Max. Depth: 187′
Water Temp.: 69F
Vis.: What vis???

Eric and I, after our mostly non-existent visibility dive!

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Saaaaaave meeeeee!

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Also… a big congratulations to Eric V., Dany D., and Christian St-P., for becoming the newest GUE Tech 2 divers! Most of our GUE T2 community was on the boat, that day! w00t w00t!

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Steve and Frankie eventually surfaced (#TeamRB80), and we were able to make our way back to Canada-land!

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Thanks, to Captain Rick, for another amazing day of Diving Goodness!

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