Cavezzzz, It Shall Be – Part Three – MCEP Project – Yax Chen/Ox Bel Ha

10 12 2013

Monday, December 9th, 2013 ~

Today was the beginning of the Mexico Cave Exploration Project (MCEP), at Yax Chen – Ox Bel Ha. Since the daylight only lasted until about 5pm, we needed to get an early start. Quick breakfast at 7am, and straight to the shop, for a 7:30am gear gathering, then load up!

Winding path to the water, at Yax Chen…

Steve and Sander were a team, using the RB80s and scooters. I was buddied up with Jan M., to do some sediment trap removal/replacement, using a stage and scooters. I had never done sediment traps, and although not hard, was really “cool” to be a part of. We also repaired a part of the line that had been broken, past the “L-Shaped” cenote. Thanks to Jan, for his expert line repairing demo. It’s been a while since I have done it.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 4 mins.
Max. Depth: 42′
Water Temp.: 77F/78F
Vis.: A little murky, in the first two sections, but cleared up, as we went further into the cave.

I am very thankful that I did not see the crocs that were apparently in the water.  I have an issue with crocs, other than the plastic ones, on my feet.

Heleen and I!

Tim and I hung around to wait for Steve and Sander. They had a 4 1/2 hour run time.

As we packed up, it appeared that we had a flat tire. No doubt, from the jungle road at Fenom, yesterday. Thank goodness for the RB80 (my tanks had gone with the CINDAQ truck). 🙂

We weren’t sure if it was a puncture, or if bouncing through the jungle, just made it flat. We kept calm, and carried on…

We returned to the shop, unloaded, and headed back to the resort. Dinner and cocktails! We were also able to meet a superhero, by the name of “Super Rafael.” He was telling us about the magic show that they were putting on.

Of course, the video had to be dark, so that we didn’t give away Super Rafael’s true identity…

What a blast!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 ~

Breakfast, then to the shop… er… change the flat tire. Thanks to Forest and Stretch, who helped us to get to the spare tire out… which was flat. We hobbled to the gas station, put some air in the tire, and we were finally on our way. Thank goodness for zip ties, too. 😉 We finally made it to the shop, loaded up, and an extra thank you to Manu and Peter, who organized my gear and scooters! We were finally on our way.

Today, we were back at Yax Chen. Jan M. and I were going a little further than the previous day’s dive, and had a few more stations to remove/replace sediment traps. We had developed a routine in doing them, so we were able to do it in less time. We also wouldn’t have line to repair (we didn’t think we would).

Steve and Sander were on RBs again, too. There were fewer of us at Yax Chen today, since there were other team members performing other tasks, in other systems.

We could really feel the flow at our sediment traps. It wasn’t bad, but more than in the beginning sections of the cave. We could easily hold our positions while working, with a couple of fin kicks. It was definitely not St. Lawrence River or Florida cave flow, but it was noticeable.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 46 mins.
Max. Depth: 38′
Water Temp.: 77F/78F
Vis.: Same as previous day. Clearer, the further back we went.

We loaded up all of the gear, then hung around to help out Steve and Sander to bring their gear back, and finish loading the CINDAQ truck. From there, we went to Tulum, where we got our tire repaired.  We gave the fellow extra, since he was so good, fast, and incredibly affordable!

Thanks to Constança, for being a great Shore Manager!

Steve and Sander, after their dive.

Once at the shop, we unloaded, and while Steve and Sander were cleaning their RBs, I went with Jo, to The Pub! There were about 20 of us, and Steve came by when he was finished at the shop.

Back at the resort, Steve, myself, Manu, Peter, Stretch, and Forest went over to watch the famous Fire Show! I remembered it from last year, and it was awesome!

We looked at Peter’s photos, then to sleep!