Mexico ~ 2010 ~ Part 1 of 3

24 12 2010

Sunday, November 28th, 2010 ~

We were up and at ’em, out the door by 4:20am, and headed to the airport. We got through security fairly quickly, and while sitting in the lounge, heard them on the loud speaker.. “Last boarding call for Blake Wilson. Blake Wilson, final boarding call.” Doh!

We grabbed a quick bite at Timmy’s, and waiting for our flight to Toronto. Once there, we had an hour and a half wait for our connecting flight.

Once we arrived at the Cancun airport, we found all of our luggage, exchanged some deneros, then went out in search of our rental car company. Apparently, there are two with similar names.. EZ Way and Easy Way. The EZ Way guy tried to convince us that he was our guy, but we found the other fella behind him. Well.. he didn’t seem to have our names down, but I did have my print out from the net, so all was well.

We were taken a short drive to the rental car place, where it was not exactly on the main path. It looked a little scary, but our fears were eased quickly. They were very quick, friendly, and  honoured our online pricing.. which had been cut off on my print out. We were given a nice little Toyota SUV, that turned out to be the coolest dive mobile. We loaded it up with our suitcases, and started off for PA. The Climate Summit was going on as well, which led to a ton of military personnel everywhere… Trucks everywhere, machine guns on top of trucks, personnel hiding in the bushes.. all while burning cans of fuel, to block off lanes.

Rental car place…

Once we arrived, we really had no idea which condo we were in. We did some deduction, and figured it out. We went up the stairs, to the door, and there didn’t seem to be anyone around. Hummm…

Just then, Ralph came up the stairway, and it turned out that we were in the right place! w00t! We went in, ditched our stuff, then headed down to Gringo Daves. Mmmm.. chicken nachos. It made a nice snack to share, since we hadn’t eaten lunch.  Jen knew we were arriving today, and she had wandered a bit, then into Gringo Daves. Yippee!

We then headed over to The Pub with Jen, Ralph, Gina, Ed, Piotr, Chris, Olof, and Kathy. It was great to see everyone! We had another bite, and a couple of drinks, before heading back over to Gringo Daves, for a bit of Karaoke. Of course, I had to sing a couple of songs. It was alot of fun!

Monday, November 29th, 2010 ~

Let the diving begin!!

We made our way to Zero Gravity, where we met alot of the gang. We decided to head over to El Eden for the day’s diving. It turned out that Blake just made his flight, but he wasn’t too sure about his luggage. 🙂

Dive 1 ~ River Run Clockwise
Bottom Time ~ 38 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 46′ (Avg. 37′)
Water Temp. ~ 78
Visibility ~ Clear!
Steve, Me, Blake

Dive 2 ~ River Run Counter Clockwise
Bottom Time ~ 28 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 50′ (Avg. 34′)
Water Temp. ~ 78
Me, Blake, Steve

Dive 3 ~ River Run Counter Clockwise
Bottom Time ~ 38 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 50′ (Avg. 33′)
Water Temp. ~ 77
Me, Jen, Blake, Steve

Dive 4 ~ Cavern Line
Bottom Time ~ 36 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 38′ (Avg. 22′)
Water Temp. ~ 77
Jen, Me, Blake, Steve

We had some pretty awesome dives, and it felt really good to be back in the caves. We also saw Fred there, who was teaching a Cave 1 course.

There was some discussion about all of the Rock Boat sightings in the River, as well. 😉

We then went back to the shop, dropped off our tanks for fills, then went to get some groceries, in Playa. Dinner was at The Pub with Chris L., Tom K., David R., Bob S., Chris M., Piotr, Blake, Jen, and Lamont.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 ~ Happy Birthday, Jen!

Today, we were going to Nahoch. Steve and I had still not been there, so we were really looking forward to this dive. A great one for Jen’s B’day too!

We packed a lunch, picked up our tanks, and packed the cars. A taxi pulled up, letting out a fella and his gear… “Are you guys going diving? I need a buddy!” He arrived just in the nick of time, and he filled Jen’s car with his gear. Hassan, nice to meet you!

We arrived at Nohoch, and we did make the first trek down with our doubles on our backs, but lowered our second sets down the rope. Thanks to the guys for that one.

Steve and I buddied up, Jen, Hassan, and Lamont were a team, and CMal and Piotr too. Ralph, Ed, and Gina were there ahead of us.

Wow.. what a stunning cave. I swear, it was like we were swimming through a Halloween movie. The stalactites, stalagmites, and columns were just incredible. There was one room that looked like there were a hundred different chess pieces from a scene out of Alice In Wonderland. Some broken, some just waiting to be played with. Call me crazy, but that’s what came to mind. In our swim through “Halloween-land,” it seemed like each room had a different gothic theme to it. Heaven’s Gates.. also amazing. This is definitely the coolest freakin’ cave I have ever been in.

Jen, Lamont, and Hassan were ahead of us, and them lighting up the cave for us was absolutely amazing. Thanks, guys!

One section had what looked like a giant pipe organ, with what could have been melted candle wax all down the sides. Another, was a giant section of more candle wax, sliding down to form the shape of a grand piano. There was even a shape that took the shape of what looked like Hobbes, from “Calvin & Hobbes,” columns that looked like stripper poles, even a giant slab of rock that looked like a boat ramp, and shapes that looked like religious figurines.

On the third dive, my light was flickering a little bit. I turned the dive on gas, and my light appeared to be fading a little. Just as I thought of pulling out my Heser backup to compare them… poof… my primary light went out. Heser, it is. I guess the battery was tired after three longer dives.

On the way out, both Steve and I were making animal shadows with our hands, and when I had my light turned, Steve would shine his light towards me, making a shadow of a giant “me,” ahead. That was cool!

Dive 1 ~ Main Line
Bottom Time ~ 57 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 24′ (Avg. 13′)
Water Temp. ~ 77

Dive 2 ~ Main Line
Bottom Time ~ 66 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 24′ (Avg. 13′)
Water Temp. ~ 77

Dive 3 ~ Parker Line
Bottom Time ~ 70 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 17′ (Avg. 12′)
Water Temp. ~ 77

After our dives, we dropped our tanks off, and headed back to the condo to hang up gear. We headed to The Pub again, meeting up with the usual suspects, as well as Maren, Dirk, Jesper, Thomas, and Jacob. It was great to see Jacob again!

We also noticed that at the entrance to PA, the security checks alot of the empty taxi cabs.. back seats and trunks. Interesting.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 ~

Up and at ’em again, to the shop. Not before having my All Bran with Raisins, and Steve, his Zucaritas! We ran into the Florida crew, who had arrived the night before, and were also getting ready for some Diving Goodness.

Myself, Steve, Chris, Piotr, Jen, and Hassan headed down through Tulum, and over to Car Wash. Steve and I hadn’t been there before, and were looking forward to it. There were rumours of a croc in the basin, which I didn’t really need to see. Jen had seen him the week before.

Part of the basin…

Jen led us on three out of four dives, as she had been there before, and the lines were not that easy to find. We did the Upstream line twice, then to the Chamber Of The Ancients, then the Downstream line.

The Upstream line was pretty cool, but I think my favourite was the Downstream line. The Upstream line was darker cave, with alot of depth change. Luke’s Hope was pretty neat to swim through, as we passed through giant schools of fish. The Chamber Of The Ancients was also very cool. Jen found the line quite easily, which was sweet! We dropped through the halocline to enter, and once we had gotten in and looked around a bit, we noticed a couple of lights at the entrance of the room. At first, I thought that there were two divers, but then noticed that it was a primary light and a helmet light of one diver. It appeared that whoever it was, had followed us in.  As we turned to exit the room, the diver left in front of us, and was out of the water when we surfaced. He did come up to us afterwards though, to thank us for letting him follow our line…

The Downstream line is probably one of my favourites, so far. There was SO much to see! So many formations, columns, stalactites and stalagmites. It all looked like candle wax.. just stunning. I think I liked this line as much as I liked Nah0ch!

After our dives, we goofed off a bit, in the basin. We did not see the croc at all, but we did see a few turtles. Steve and Hassan were blowing water rings, while Piotr demonstrated his wonderful trim.. upside down, and fins pointing upward. 🙂 Jen and I resorted to somersaults. Thank goodness there were no other people there.. They probably would have had us all committed.

Dive 1 ~ Upstream
Bottom Time ~ 42 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 52′ (30′ Avg.)
Water Temp. ~ 77
Jen, Hassan, Steve, Me

Dive 2 ~ Upstream
Bottom Time ~ 52 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 52′ (27′ Avg.)
Steve, Me, Hassan, Jen

Dive 3 ~ Chamber Of The Ancients
Bottom Time ~ 33 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 88′ (50′ Avg.)
Jen, Hassan, Me, Steve

Dive 4 ~ Downstream
Bottom Time ~ 47 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 60′ (32′ Avg.)
Jen, Hassan, Me, Steve

After our dives, we headed back through Tulum, where we were slowed down by the military check point, then back to drop off our tanks. Kirill and Julia had arrived!

We went back to the condo, and readied ourselves for yet another night at The Pub. More people had arrived, and the tables grew. What an awesome day!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 ~

We continued with our morning rituals, then headed to the shop. AM and JP met us there too. A gaggle of us headed over to Sac Actun/Grand Cenote. This would be another first for Steve and I.

There were some pretty amazing formations, large rooms, and some incredible ceilings. Some of the formations looked like incense cones, covered in candle wax. There were some really neat looking passages off of the main line, that looked really cool too. So many nooks and crannies that longed to be peeked in. One day!

We made it to a very short gap, that is at another cenote. Apparently, this is the only place where a Cave 1 diver is allowed to put a spool  in, to continue through. There is open water there, so it is permitted. This was pretty cool too. We went a short distance past this gap, then headed back. We decided to leave the reel in, as we were going to do another few dives.

After our second dive, we came up to switch tanks around and have some lunch. We ended up having a much longer lunch than we had planned, so we only ended up doing one more dive. We made it past the gap this time, and into a HUGE room. What a wicked freakin’ room. We turned the dive, right before the restriction, and brought the reel in.

Dive 1
Bottom Time ~ 48 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 39′ (Avg. 29′)
Water Temp. ~ 77

Dive 2
Bottom Time ~ 48 mins
Max. Depth ~ 39′

Dive 3
Bottom Time ~ 67 mins
Max. Depth ~ 38′

During our lunch break, we chatted and took some pics of the animals…

Again, we headed back to the shop, dropped off our tanks, chatted, checked e-mails, then back to the condo to shower and change.

For dinner, we went to Tu Parador, across from PA. What a great place! The owners were very friendly, the food was awesome, and the drinks were even better. They had so many variations of different fruity smoothies, that you could have with or without alcohol. They were all freshly made, and were incredible! Even Piotr’s wierd Onion concoction was good!

Next… GUE Conference begins!