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.ย  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). ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.ย  We gave the fellow extra, since he was so good, fast, and incredibly affordable!

Thanks to Constanรงa, 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!

Cavezzzz, It Shall Be – Part Two – Getting Ready

8 12 2013

Sunday, December 8th, 2013 ~

We made our way down to the breakfast buffet, where we met up with Manu and Peter! We chatted for a bit, then met at the shop, to DIVE!

Once at the shop, it took us a little bit of time to get organized. Jorge tried to help us find our bin, and we eventually found it (right under our noses, of course). Steve also brought in the motor for one of our scooters, that he had rebuilt, and installed it. Steve, Peter, Manu, and I went to Fenom for our first day of Diving Goodness!

Oh, look! A note, for me!

Steve had busted his flippy floppie, but was able to “fix” it, with a trigger pin.

As good as new!

I had forgotten how bumpy the ride was, to get to Fenom, but we made it. We had brought along two stages each, but only ended up using one, since we were a little late moving, and didn’t want to be too late for the MCEP meeting, this evening.

Little video…

When we arrived, we notice a big, grey truck. Hmm… This truck looks mighty familiar. I wonder if it’s John’s truck?

We brought our gear down to the water, and checked out the scenery.

We geared up, got in, and started our swim out. We passed by another couple of divers, who had finished their dive. I looked to see if one of them was John, but I just didn’t recognize the face through the mask! It wasn’t until we were almost past him, that I noticed, “John,” on his stage bottle. Doh! Missed you! We made our way to the “bones hole,” where there is usually a halocline to go through, to see them. Since the recent rains and flooding, a lot of the cavez have changed, and the halocline had been pushed lower, allowing really clear visibility, down to the bones! Manu ran a reel down the hole, and Peter took some shots of us, as we took turns posing with them. I am looking forward to seeing them! Peter also took some shots of us on the way out, and a couple of group shots, in the basin of the cenote. Steve was holding a 100w LED light, to light up the way.

We had a most excellent first dive of the trip, and were lucky enough to have some pictures taken.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 48 mins.
Max. Depth: 56′
Water Temp.: 77F
Vis.: Gin Clear

We packed up quickly, and were on our way. We were running a little low on fuel (we didn’t fill it up, since we were supposed to give it back tonight, and were giving it back with the same amount of fuel that was originally in it – next to nothing). We made it to the gas station near the shop, put a few pesos in, brought gear back, and then went straight to the MCEP meeting, for the project, which was to start the following morning.

We arrived, just in time! We listened to talks from Chris, Fred, Dr. Ed, and the Shawns. It was a great meeting! I think I will need to go back to school, to understand a few of the scientific explanations, but it was really amazing information!

Steve and I had to leave during the social part of the night, so that we could call to arrange the car swap (the fellow that answered the phone had no clue what we were talking about, and did not speak English – thanks to the concierge, for speaking to him for us). Ok… We shall deal with it, maรฑana.

BBQ night at the buffet, and a few bevvies. We also got to see some of Peter’s pics, on his computer screen! w00t!

Our plan was to go to sleep a little early, but as we were going up, Stretch was coming down to dine, so we joined him for a bit. Then… sleeeeeep!

ARRRiba! Cavezzzz, It Shall Be – Part One – Getting There

7 12 2013

Well, it had been a while since we had been to the cavez (“a while,” can be defined as any time between the time we get home, and the time we leave again – whether that be one week or one year), and we had been looking forward to this trip. Two weeks of CAVEZZZZ! I will break up the Bloggy Thing Entries into a handful of parts, so that you aren’t reading this one for the rest of the week.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday, December 7th, 2013 ~

Steve’s Dad picked us up, and took us to the airport. Steve and I both happened to be randomly chosen to go through the full body check machine, and Steve’s zipper triggered the scanning device (since I don’t actually know what it is called, I shall call it the scanny thing). We knew that they would want to go through our carry on luggage, since we had plenty of dangerous-looking dive gear in it.

Once we got through, we went to Timmy’s, to have a bite to eat. Normally, I do not drink coffee, but today was a French Vanilla kind of day. The nice lady did not even charge us the “up-charge,” to have it, or for Steve’s donut to muffin upgrade. Thank you, Timmy Lady!

The nice Timmy Lady is pictured below, on the far right.

Since we had a bit of time before our flight boarded, we went through some DPV Cave gas planning, which made us a little thirsty, for some Booster Juice.

Thank you for sharing, Jose Bautista!

Of course, I had to be a bit of a dork…

On the plane, we watched a couple of movies. I watched something with James Gandolfini and “Elaine” (I still cannot call her Julia), then Turbo, and an episode of 2 Broke Girls.

It was a little squishy in the middle seat, but I did meet a fellow named, Kevin, who was celebrating his 50th Birthday, and had never been to Mexico. His wife and kids surprised him with the trip, and were also joined by his sister and brother in law. The Captain had been tipped off, and announced his Birthday on the radio. The entire planed joined in to sing Happy Birthday, to Kevin. ๐Ÿ™‚

We arrived in Cancun about 30 minutes early, and the gate that we were supposed to use was being occupied. We had to wait…and wait…and wait… Not a huge deal, but when one has to use the facilities, and has to wait… It’s a long time…

We finally got to another gate, got our luggage, and proceeded through to the luggage lottery button. For those that have not been to the Cancun airport, you get your luggage, and on your way out, you have to press the “magic button!” If you get a green light, you are free to go. If you get a red light, you must proceed directly to jail… Ok, not jail, but they go through all of your luggage. I usually get to press this magic button, and usually get a green light. Not this time… RED! Doh!

We dragged our luggage over to the inspection table, and they started with Steve. Steve had his RB80 in his luggage, which they immediately asked its value, what it was, and had to decide whether or not we had to pay a tax on it. The fellow went to his manager, came back, and told us that it was ok. *Phew!* Another lady came to the table, and started to go through my items. She went through one of the bags, and told us that we were ok to go through. Thank you, nice lady! ๐Ÿ™‚

Once we went through, there was a fellow that came to us, that told us he was taking us over to the spot where the “Easy Way” (car rental) people would be. We were trying to keep up with him, and ask him if he was with Easy Way, but he was on a mission. A scamming mission. He told us that he only works for tips, so I gave him a Toonie (dumb-ass), and we realized that this was the complete wrong spot (yes, we have done this many times, but this guy got us). Steve went to find the “real” guy, while I watched the luggage. *Sigh* At least we were only scammed for a toonie.

We were joined up with another couple, George and Donna, who were also in the van, going to the car place. Very nice couple.

When we arrived at the car rental place, we just happened to run into Chris, Tracy, and her folks. They were very sad to be leaving this wonderful place, but congratulations on your cave course, Chris!

I switched from my sneakers to my flippie floppies! Ahhhhhhh… Much better!

Of course, we had confirmed that we needed a hatchback, and we watched as the last Golf (the car that we had requested) went out of the rental place. They wanted to give us a sedan, which does not work for diving with scooters. They gave us a neat little Nissan sport van (7-seater, but not nearly the size of our mini-vans), but they were going to come and meet us at our resort the next day, to replace the car with a smaller one. At least we were on our way!

Arrived at the resort, had some champagne in the check-in line, dumped our luggage, and noted that our toilet was broken. Doh! At least they came to fix it, pretty quickly. We headed for the buffet, where we had to christen the day with a couple of Daiquiri De Fraisas!

…and a Daiquiri De Mango!

We then met up with Stretch and Forest (and some other fellow, who shall remain nameless)… ๐Ÿ˜›

We eventually moved over to the lounge chairs, where we sat on the beach, and just enjoyed.

Back in the room, we noted the little sign, by the fridge… I think it’s wrong – I was a little tired…

I also couldn’t even imagine throwing our beverages…

That was enough excitement for one day! Tomorrow, there shall be CAVEZZZZZZZZZZZZ! ๐Ÿ˜€