3- I Can’t Tell You…

15 02 2018

Thursday, February 15th, 2018 ~

Today’s dive was at a site that we had never been to before, and cannot really disclose info on. It was a good distance into the jungle, and not very well-known. The land owners were pretty friendly, and showed us the direction in. We parked, then went to look around, to find the entry, and brought our tanks down. The stairs weren’t bad, but there were a few steep steps that I knew that I would need an arm to climb up, with my tanks on!

We looked down another path, that another cenote was, but didn’t want to venture too far, wearing only flip flops and shorts. We tried to narrow our chances of getting invested with ticks.

Second path…

As we were prepping gear, another couple unloaded, to dive the other cenote.

Looking down, to the large cenote…

Steve went in without gear on, to locate the line, so we didn’t silt up the area, looking around, with gear on (very silty bottom). We did find it, so we got ready to dive!

What. An. Awesome. Cave. This place has just about everything: decorations, big passage, small passage, restrictions, up and down crevices, chocolate sauce decorations, and just freaking amazing. We will definitely go back to this place!

Gear: AL 80s ~ Back gas, only

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes

Max. Depth: 44′

Water Temp.: 77F

Avg. Depth: 32′

After our dive, we met up with some other folks that were swimming in the cenote. One was a local, and the other two were from the US.

Definitely some happy cavezzzz faces!!!





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!





Gidd-Ee-Yup!

21 10 2017

Saturday, October 21st, 2017 ~ 

It feels like forever, since I’ve posted about Diving Goodness, so here it goes! Steve and I were packed and ready to go DIVING! We met Geneviève and Stéphane at Centeen Park, to do some skills, which went absolutely fabulous. We didn’t think the park would be too busy, since it is nearing the end of October, but we were wrong, wrong, wrong. We had to park quite a bit further than usual, but all was worth it.

As we were gearing up, an older fella walked into the park, and started playing the bag pipes. Ahhhhh… I loved it! Excellent gear-up music.

We got in, and went through a bunch of skills! *Enter GUE skills, here* 😛 Geneviève and Stéphane have worked so hard, and are ready for Cave 1! Way to go, friends!!!

Bottom Time: 56 mins.
Max. Depth: 28′
Water Temp.: 60F

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Since we hadn’t been in the channel for a while, Steve and I brought our scooters out, and went for a second dive. w00t w00t! I was already a little chilly, thanks to a leak in my drysuit boot, but I wasn’t cold enough to turn the dive. Off we went!

Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me today, and… we found the carriage with the horse bones! We have only seen it once before, and this time, the skull was missing. There were still other large bones, and some of the teeth. By the looks of it, it was an older horsey. WHY COULDN’T I HAVE BROUGHT THE CAMERA??? I guess we’ll have to go on a mission, to find it, again! We continued on, through the channel, and had a fun drift, before we came back up. We overshot the exit, but only by a very small margin. What a fun day of DIVING GOODNESS!

Bottom Time: 44 mins.
Max. Depth: 105′
Water Temp.: 60F

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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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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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