Cavezzz, It Shall Be – Part Eight – The Last Couple Of Days

19 12 2013

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 ~Β 

Today, a gaggle of us headed to Dos Pisos. Since there were so many of us, we staggered the teams… especially since we had about 100 meters of restrictive passage to go through, at the entry.

Dan, getting ready for Cavezzzz…

Our plan was to go right at the first T, and left at the second T…. which would have been great, if the lines had not been changed.

We brought our stages and fins down, trying to avoid the paths of red army ants. There were thousands of them!

Laurynn and Kathryn entered first, and the rest of us waited, while Steve fixed a manifold issue (which was fixable, thanks to some tools that we had). Then, Karen and John went in, followed by us – Me, Dan, Steve. Since Dan had flooded his light, the previous day, he had Becki’s light… except it wouldn’t fire. D’oh! Ok.. That’s the third failure for Dan, this week! I think he’s had enough! πŸ™‚ John had an extra light with him, that he loaned to Dan – Thanks, John!

I led through the restrictive passage, then let Dan through, so I could see his light (this was planned). Steve had the Go Pro, in the back.

We dropped our stages a little early, and continued on. We approached Laurynn and Kathryn’s stages, and I stuck a “Ding Ding Cowbell” note in Laurynn’s stage bungee. πŸ˜›

We reached the spot where we thought the T was supposed to be, but it was not there. We swam for quite a while, and reached a T. Karen and John were on their way back, and signaled that they had turned right, and it wasn’t the direction that we had originally planned on going. It turns out that the first T had been cut back, and this was the second T, that we were supposed to go left at. So… Thanks to John and Karen, we went left.

There was some very pretty cave, along the way, with some beautiful decorations. We passed through a section that slanted upwards – clearly, to a small opening. There was quite a collection of bat guano, that had rolled down from the surface. We got to a spot that had “jaws,” and some more beautiful decorations, from top to bottom. We had a peek through the “jaws,” then turned around.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 27 mins.
Max. Depth: 28′
Water Temp.: 77F

Chatting, after Diving Goodness…

A couple of little frogs, near the cars…

Steve, packing up…

We packed up, and were on our way.

As we passed through Tulum, we passed the yummy bakery. Maybe we will go back there, sometime!

Once at the shop, we started the tear-down and drying of our gear. We still could have fit in another day of diving, but it was supposed to be very rainy, and we needed our gear to dry. That, and Steve had some work to do, with the scooters. We opted for a “gear day.” It’s always a sad time, to be breaking down your gear, to leave Mexico cavezzz…

Our undergarments are going to need a good wash, when we get home…

We dropped off our gear, and tidied up some of our charging station, before dinner.

At the buffet…

Friday, December 19th, 2013 ~Β 

Well, in hindsight, we could have gone diving, today… We did have things to do at the shop, so it was probably the right decision not to, but it doesn’t mean that we didn’t want to go diving. πŸ™‚

We slept in a little, then went down to have some breakfast. We sat beside a man, sitting with his young son, and I couldn’t help but hear some of their conversation.

Boy: I would like a straw for my juice, please
Dad: You don’t need a straw
Boy: But I really want one (he had the saddest look on his face)
*The waiter brings him a straw – Happiness ensues*
*Boy drops straw on ground*
*Dad lectures boy on irony, and then calls son a Monkey Butt*

I was really trying not to laugh, since Dan had us in hysterics, earlier in the week, regarding Monkey Butt (Ok, I may have been the only one in hysterics). πŸ™‚

We made our way back to the room, to finish packing – Yeah, that took a while. Trying to get the right combination of clothes vs. dive gear in each case, and keeping it under the 50 lb. mark, can be fun. We were finally successful.

We went down to the Seaside Grill, and met Becki and Dan for lunch. Huh… This is what resort life is like, during the day!

Then, off to the shop, to tend to our scooters, pay the dreaded bill, and finish packing the gear away.

Steve and Angelica…

We then headed back over to The Pub, where we met a bunch of our friends for some beverages, munchies, and “see ya next times.” We also met new friends, from Finland, and I finally got to meet Irene! w00t! We had a lot of fun, and of course, we had to get some gelato! Back to the resort, and in bed by a decent hour (what’s with that??).

The giant gingerbread house, in the resort…

Dan, wondering if he could sneak a piece…

Saturday, December 20th, 2013 ~

Packed and ready to go, we were able to have some breakfast, before we left. Then… It was time to go…

On the way…

Too bad, we were going to miss the Ricky Martin concert πŸ˜₯

Giant wind turbine…

…and back to the car rental place, where they had their Christmas decorations up.

We arrived safe and sound, to this…

Well, it was a fantastic couple of weeks ofΒ  cavez and amazing friends.

See you next time (soon!), Mexico… We shall miss the CAVEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! πŸ™‚

Cavezzzz, It Shall Be – Part Seven – It Might Have Been A Grand Day…

18 12 2013

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 ~

Same routine… To the shop, where we analyzed our tanks and checked the pressures. I checked our stages (which were full), and moved on towards both Steve’s and my doubles.Β  A little birdie told me that they had been checked (yes, I did analyze them), so we were on our way. We had a few different buddy teams, and I was joining the bunch to La Boca….. almost.

I dressed up, turned on my tanks, and….

I guess these ones weren’t checked. No dive for me. I could have joined the Cave 1 team (I also had a full stage), but they had already gone in.

I sulked, while Becki kept me company (thank you for cheering me up, Becki!!!), and we hung out with the turtles.

Heleen, Erik, and Jan K. arrived back…

I would have waited for the others to come out, to take some pics, but…

Bottom Time: 0 Hours, 0 Mins.
Max. Depth: 1 ATA
Temp.: Hot w/ Rain

The moral of the story: Check your tank pressure, before leaving the shop – Even if you already know to do so. Pft…

On our drive home, we saw random orange cones, in the road. A couple of them seemed to be warding off a stray plastic bag… *Random*

After returning to the resort, we decided to order room service, watch some TV, and go to sleep.

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 ~

Today was a Camilo day! Steve, Dan, John, Karen, and I brought scooters, and were going for a ride! We started off along the main line, then to the Grand Canyon line, where we went to the end. This cave has so many different appearances to it, that it is pretty fascinating. This was the first time that I had been through the Grand Canyon, and I really liked it.

We came back, then followed the Black Forest line, and saw some absolutely gorgeous cave. My scooter seemed to feel a little bit sluggish, so even though I was absolutely in love with this section of the cave, and how much prettier it was getting, as we continued, I signaled and turned the dive. Feeling the sleepiness of my scooter, I did not want to take any chances of going any further into the cave. :/ Sadly, we turned around. I was able to stay on my scooter, but it kept getting slower, as we made it back to the exit. It really sucked to turn it, but I know that I made the right decision.

(We had checked the voltage before loading in the morning, but it turned out that I had a crappy battery)

We did a little bit of deco, then made our way out. *Sniff*

Poor Dan had another failure – his light completely flooded.. D’oh!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 37 mins.
Max. Depth: 70′
Water Temp.: 77F

The fellas decided to get out, while Karen and I ditched our scooters and stages, and went for a swim, in “Mud.” As we entered, the visibility was absolutely horrible. It was what I would expect to see in the St. Lawrence River – except, not green. There were particles of “stuff” floating everywhere, and we entered this massive dark cave, with huge formations. There were lines along the walls, appearing as if someone had taken a red paint roller along them. Just so completely different and fascinating to see. We took our time, since there was just so much to look at! What an interesting place!

Bottom Time: 34 mins.
Max. Depth: 47′
Water Temp.: 77F/80F

It seems that the land owner no longer has his horses. These buildings used to be really nice horse stalls, with the horses’ names above them.

Back to the shop, unloaded, put the scooters on the chargers, and raced back to the resort, to catch the BBQ/Pizza guy, which usually closes at 4pm.

We hung around the resort for a while, with a couple of fancy drinks! Thanks to Becki, for noticing them, and asking for them!

We then went over to The Pub, to meet Panos for some food, beverage, and great conversation. πŸ™‚

Cavezzz, It Shall Be – Part Six – Labna Ha-Ha and Back To The Animal Kingdom!

16 12 2013

Sunday, December 15th, 2013 ~

Breakie with Becki, Dan, Stretch, and Forest (my BGs were leaving, today), then to the shop! I didn’t have any dive plans for today, since Steve and Sander were going to go on a scooter/RB dive, together. Since Heleen and the gang were going to head to Nohoch, Dan and I joined in with them! Steve and Sander had also decided on Nohoch, so we had quite the crew! We brought two sets of doubles each, so that we were just using back gas, for two dives.

There was a lot of gear to lower down.
Heleen must have taken this picture, since I’m in it… πŸ™‚

Sander was on the receiving end…

Team work!

We wore our initial doubles down, instead of torturing the fellas.
Once it was all down…

It was an extremely hot day, so after getting our drysuits on, we jumped into the cenote, to cool off.

We finally got our gear on, and off we went. The purpose of today’s dive, was for Heleen to take some video footage, so we were on the main line for the entire dive.Β  We kept a nice and slow pace, with Dan in front, with a 100w LED, to light the way. Such an amazing and relaxing dive!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 44 mins.
Max. Depth: 25′
Water Temp.: 77F

Heleen’s video!

We got out, switched our tanks over, and got ready for the second dive. The boys left to do a longer dive on the Parker Line, and Heleen and I got ready to do a shorter one (if we felt like doing a shorter one). Ahhh… such a beautiful and relaxing dive. I had forgotten how beautiful this line was (aren’t they all?). As we got close to the entry (and already in open water), we shut our lights off, and used the ambient light. We had a little fun in the basin, with a lot of laughter.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 1 min.
Max. Depth: 19′
Water Temp.: 77F

Heleen, after our dives!

Me, taken by Heleen…

Erik, Heleen, and Jan K. …

Jan K. and Dan…

There was definitely no monkey business or shenaniganry going on, here…

The other fellas finally returned from their dive, and we were on our merry way!

Poor Dan had a bit of a leak (or 7) in his suit…

Back at the shop, Steve and I finally got to meet Panos, in the flesh, which was a nice surprise!

Then, to the resort! We had dinner with Becki and Dan, a drink with Laurynn and Kathryn, then back to our room, to tend with some gear. We tried to go to sleep early, but had a bit of an interesting phone call… I’ll just leave it at that…

Monday, December 16th, 2014 ~

Today, we headed back to Pet Cemetery. We had a few different teams: Steve and I; Sander, Heleen, Eric; Jan, Jan, Dan. Steve and I tried to go to the Dark Side Of The Moon again, but ended up in a different place. We made a couple of jumps, then left at an intersection, and came to some of the most beautiful cave that we have ever seen in our lives. We are thinking that this is what Ali may have been referring to as the “Spectacular” room, since that was such an extreme understatement! Steve just happened to have the camera with him, and he took some video. As stunning as it looks on video, it still does not do it the slightest bit of justice. Neither of us could stop saying, “Holy shit! Holy shit!” That’s how beautiful this passage was. Past the room, there was a little shelf that we could have squished under, but there were just so many fine decorations, and it appeared to pinch right down. I didn’t want to chance breaking anything, so I turned us around.

We picked up our stages, and made our way back to the Ihop line. We recalculated our gas, and followed it through some very different passage. There was a narrow’ish swim-through, into some really big, dark cave. It was huge! We jumped off into another little hole, which was really neat. It started to pinch right down into either no mount passage, or a spot where someone threw a spool through the tiny little hole. We turned back, and continued on the Ihop line, until we got to a spot that had a sharp slope upward. I opted not to go further, since one of my ears had been acting up a bit, and we still had a lot of diving left to do!

Along the cavern line, there was an air pocket, where we surfaced. That proved to be a less than smart idea for my ear. I just could not clear again, on the way back out. I stayed as high as I could, over the line, until we got back to the basin, still trying to clear that darn ear. Le sheesh. Ah, well… It was my new favourite dive, in my new favourite cave!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 22 mins.
Max. Depth: 37′
Water Temp.: 77F

Dan, chillin’!

Becki joined us, today!

Steve – Are you STILL taking pictures??

Packing up…

…and a blurry selfie…

As usual, back to the shop, drop gear, to the resort, and we checked out Steve’s footage, on Becki’s laptop!

A peek of the footage, taken with my iPhone, in the lobby…

We had dinner with the gang, then back to the room for a movie!

Cavezzzz, It Shall Be – Part Five – A King’s Passage – Tux Required

14 12 2013

Friday, December 13th, 2013 ~

Today’s plans had been altered, a little. Steve, Sander, and I went to Pet Cemetery. We hadn’t been here before, and our project plans were changed, so this was an excellent alternative. We loaded up our gear, and were on our way!

On the road in, we saw a couple of little Grey Foxes, playing…

I think this is the best road into a cenote, that we have ever been on. We brought our gear down the steep staircase and apparently, to the wrong end of the dock. The line was closer to the stairs, than we thought! We realized our mistake, and moved the gear to where it was “supposed” to go.

Blurry pic, halfway down the stairs.

Steve, going back to get some of the gear! It was pretty slippery.

We had two stages each, and planned on dropping one along the way, for our second dive (all calculations were made, and we would make sure they were correct, at our re-entry point). We found the cavern line, and followed it until the jump to the main line. We made a second jump, and dropped our 2nd stage bottles (the ones for our second dive). We made a jump to the Blue Abyss line, and eventually reached the King Pong restriction. On the way in, I didn’t need to “Superman” my stage bottle, but did have to on the way back out. What a beautiful cave!!! As we made our way through the gorgeous passage, the bottom just fell right out from under us, and there was a massive, blue pit. The Blue Abyss! We descended to around 100′, hovered for a bit, then ascended back up and out. What an amazing place to see!

We made our way back to our first jump line, exchanged our stage bottles, and confirmed our calculations. We had planned on going to The Dark Side Of The Moon, but it appears that some of the lines were different than the ones on our maps. The jump we ended up taking, DID take us to some really cool cave, so we were not at all disappointed. We found a pretty gnarly restriction, too.

Bottom Time: 3 hours, 26 mins.
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 77F

Steve’s video, from our most awesome dive. I think this is my new favourite cave…

Back to the shop, unloaded, to resort, tacos with Peter and Manu, then back over to The Pub, for the MCEP gathering!

Pics are a little dark…

We all dispersed, and a bunch of us headed back to the resort, where we figured that we would check out the “Adult” side – In the times that we had been here, we had never ventured over to the “other side!” There seemed to be less going on, but we stayed and had some fun chats!

Saturday, December 14th, 2013 ~

We missed breakfast this morning, since we were a little late in getting our butts in gear. We jumped out of bed, got our stuff together, and ran out the door. Sander had waited for Steve. *Phew* πŸ™‚

I decided to donate my scooter to the boys for the day, so Steve, Sander, Jan M. were going to scooter in Tux Kapaxa. I figured I would tag along with Stretch and Forest, and show them where the bones were!

We had quite a convoy, heading over…

We parked, then headed down to have a look.

Forest (who shall be known as Bodyguard #1) was awesome, and carried my stage down! Thank you, BG#1!
Thanks to BG#2, for bringing it back up!

We each had a stage, and took a bit of a short cut to the bones, instead of swimming to the T.

As we swam out, the other fellas passed us. We waved, as they went by. Once we reached the bones, we stopped so that Forest could take some footage of them… Or, at least he tried. His camera picked that moment to decide that it was tired. D’oh!

We carried on for a little while, then made our way back. We did have a lot of fun!

Thank you BG#1 and BG#2! You guys are the bee’s knees! πŸ˜›

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 55 mins.
Max. Depth: 41′
Water Temp.: 77F

After our dive, I waited for the other fellas to finish, while Forest and Stretch went to check out the well… (we all had a look, after)…

Other entry…

Back to the shop, unload, then to the buffet, with Kathryn and Laurynn!

We then met with Becki, Dan, Forest, and Stretch for a couple of bevvies!

Thanks to Santiago – AKA Jr. Cruise – for making our yummy drinks! He showed us his mad skillz, too!

Back to the room, where it was movie time! It seems that there was a Batman movie on, that we hadn’t seen before! To the Bat Cave!

Cavezzz, It Shall Be – Part Four – Rabbit Holes and Haloclines

12 12 2013

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 ~

The usual: Breakfast, then onward, to the shop!

I wonder who these guys are, in front of us? πŸ˜›

Everyone gathered and loaded up various vehicles, for the day’s projects.

Today, Kata and I had a few tasks to complete at Xtabay. We loaded up, and away we went. The roads were slick, thanks to the ongoing rain, but we made it safe and sound. There had been a few very scary-looking accidents, with the rain.

We each brought a stage with us, to use for the first dive, and then would use just our back gas for our second dive.

In our first 6 minutes, Kata had run the reel, we located the sensor spot, replaced the first sensor, and began to make our way to the second task point.

We swam through the Wizard’s Den (which is one of my absolute favourite rooms), through the Halocline Room, and then to our second destination. We still had stage gas left, but since we still had work to do on the surface, we decided to turn the dive.

Bottom Time: 46 mins.
Max. Depth: 46′
Water Temp.: 77F

We had brought “field equipment” with us, and worked on our “secret mission.” Ok, it wasn’t a secret, but it adds a little more fun to the story. πŸ˜€

Once we were finished, we had lunch, some laughs (speedo!), then went back down for our second dive.

As we were gearing up, it appeared that Agent Kata had an issue with her spg. Basically, it was pooched. Luckily, Kata had a backup, and I had a Sea Spanner, so all was well with the world, again. Away, we went.

We returned to the furthest point of our first dive, completed our mission, and carried on into the cave. We reached the end of the main line, so made our way back, playing in the halocline.

When we surfaced, there was quite a bit of rain. We were thankful for the palapa that provided us with shelter, while we got changed.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 25 mins.
Max. Depth: 47′
Water Temp.:Β  77F

Thanks for being my partner in crime, Kata!

Back to the shop, where we waited around for the truck to come back, to help with the unloading.

Then, to the resort, where Forest, Stretch, Steve, myself, Manu, and Peter went to the Grill restaurant – Awesome Empanadas (I think that’s what they were called)! The lemon dessert was one of few that I had on the entire trip, and it was absolutely incredible. πŸ™‚

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 ~

After breakfast, we had to change some Canadian cashola into pesos, which took a little more time than we had figured. We finally made it to the shop, and myself, Steve, Kata, and Joakim were going to Temple Of Doom, today! We had some sensor business to attend to, and then some pics!

At breakfast – A juice rainbow!

We finally arrived at Cenote Calavera (meaning: Skull – named for three circular openings in the cenote), and as we went to check out the entry, I was surprised to see this rather large fellow, chilling in the sun. He was wary, but he didn’t run away. I think we both caught each other by surprise.

The walk to the water…

The opening…

There is a bit of a drop to get in, and since Steve and I hadn’t been to this spot before, I was a little nervous, on the drive. Once we arrived, and I saw it, it didn’t really seem like that big of a deal (which it wasn’t – it was pretty fun).

The ladder, to climb out…

They also had a couple of parrots, in the parking lot. One of them was very friendly, and the other was a little shy… at first.

Mr. Friendly…

The shy one was shy… until we were all gathered around him. Then, he was whistling and flirting with us. The owner said that he whistles when girls get changed… which we found to be true!

There were also a couple of bunnies…

…and a friendly dog (it was really hot out)…

We worked together, to put our stage bottles and Jo’s camera in the water, and finally geared up!

Kata ran the reel, and then Joe went in first, to film and take shots (although, Jo was in a few different spots, working his camera magic). There was quite a stretch of going through halocline, and since I was in the back end, I got to see quite a lot of “gasoline.” We reached the spot where the sensor was supposed to be, and Jo and I held our positions on the line, while Steve and Kata located it. Once all was completed, we carried on, and reached the end of the line. Jo took some shots and video on the way back, too!

Kata, running the reel, through the halocline. Steve, second; myself, third.
Photo by Joakim Hjelm.

Another view of the halocline. Kata, Steve, me…
Photo by Joakim Hjelm.

Bottom Time: 41 mins.
Max. Depth: 53′
Water Temp.: 77F
Vis.: A little tannic in the basin, but cleared up, inside – apart from the gasoline halocline. πŸ™‚

Another shot, through the thick halocline. Kata, Steve, and myself in the back (in front of Jo).
Photo by Joakim Hjelm.

We surfaced, tied off our stages (which we still had usable gas in), and went over to the other line. I had a 100w LED light mounted to the back of my tanks, Steve had the Go Pro (with dual 24s), and Jo had his camera. Kata was in the front, then Steve, then me (lighting up the back), and then Jo (who moved around, a little). It was a lot of fun!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 3 mins.
Max. Depth: 58′
Water Temp.: 77F

We still had some gas to burn, so Steve, Jo, and I went back in to take some pics, near the Madonna stalagmite. Jo took the LED light from the back of my tanks, and I was hand-holding it, so I was able to move it around, a little. This was a reallyΒ  neat learning experience, for lighting, for me. Having taken all of my shots with ambient light, I have a lot of lighting learning to do!

Bottom Time: 26 mins.
Max. Depth: 61′
Water Temp.: 78F

A video, done by Steve…

*NOTE* There are many more photos from this shoot, to come! I will make another post, when they are available! *END OF NOTE* πŸ™‚

You can see more of Jo’s shots, here (you need to enter your e-mail addy, which is not a giant deal): or on Facebook:

Some of our gear!

From here, we made our way back to the shop, dropped our tanks, to the resort, grabbed a quick bite to eat, then met some of the gang at The Pub, then back to meet some more of the gang, then to sleep!

That sure is a lot of tanks for those guys to fill! Jorge and Eduardo, you guys are awesome! Thank you!