Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Casa Cenote near Tulum Mexico

7200 Feet at Naharon

Saturday morning I got up and went to breakfast with a close friend. I still wasn’t sure where I was going to dive. After breakfast I went to The Gym for a run and an ab workout. While I was at the gym it came to me, a eureka moment! I decided I should go to Naharon with my Megalodon and do a CCR length dive.

I went home and pulled together my bailout and my rebreather and jumped in the car. I discovered it is almost exactly 40 miles from my apartment to the entrance of Cenote Cristal. The drive down was uneventful although a little lonely. That is the biggest drawback and the biggest upside of solo diving. The whole thing is solo. I always think of diving as a social activity. Talking about the dive, anticipating the dive, executing the dive and then taking about how big and scary the conquest was all make good memories. Unfortunately, talking to yourself about all those things might get you committed and is just not that entertaining.

I decided on an AL80 and an AL40 for bailout. I have the 80 plumbed into my manifold, so I can use it as diluent or for my BOV. 120cuft of gas gave me a max penetration time of about 50 minutes at the depths I was expecting. This was enough time to cover the distance and areas I wanted. I started the dive by going up the main line and taking the second jump into the Halocline Room. I counted two arrows after the jump, one to the left and one to the right. I guessed the jump to the right might be the end of the main line. I turned the dive in Chac’s Room. On the map it is marked at 1700’. The clock was about at the 45 minute mark and I was starting to feel a little distance pressure. The little man starts to talk to me, when I think about how far I might have to swim on bailout and as far as I know, there are no emergency exits. The Halo-Line is an excellent swim. The first three times I had been to Naharon, I really didn’t see anything. I was focused on the dive and staying a live. This dive was different, my field view really opened up and I saw so much more. One of the striking features of Naharon are the tiny silk covered stalactites. They are really amazing, and with the CCR I took plenty of time to wonder at them.

I returned to the main line and made a left swimming deeper into the cave. I made it to the end of the Main Line in about 15 minutes. It terminated near Chac’s Room as I had guessed earlier. The Main Line is a bummer compared to the Halo Line. The Main Line is a shortcut to Chac’s Room, I would use it as a transit route in the future to cut about 10 minutes off the swim. I turned the dive and headed back to the first jump off the main line.

When I reached the first jump, I was nearly two hours into the dive. I decided to make the jump and swim 20 minutes or so. I counted 4 arrows on the swim and after the 4th arrow the cave takes a hard left and then a right and then you go up onto a boulder / breakdown. On top of that boulder is a gorgeous garden of formations. I was clearly in a part of the cave which doesn’t get a lot of traffic. Even with no bubbles, I was getting a reasonable amount of percolation just from my pressure wave. I relaxed and enjoyed the view for a while and gave my poor calves a break. Then I headed for home.

Overall it was a very meditative dive. My recent tweaks have really paid off. Carrying two BO bottles is superior in a lot of ways to carrying one. More gas rocks and two bottles are so much more balanced then one. My neutral position is not pulled to one side or the other. And de-inverting the tanks really helped my trim.

There are still some problems with my rig:

  • It is too heavy. With two BO bottles, I have to really inflate my wing and it is pressing on my back. This is uncomfortable and inefficient. It wastes a lot of diluent and makes the volume changes that much greater.
  • The door handles on the Armadillo Butt Plate suck! They are all wrong for AL tanks. And they make reaching the butt ring very difficult. And they just don’t seem to be in the right place. Donning and doffing tanks can be difficult with them.
  • My Dive Rite Two Zipper pocket that is belt mounted is also in the wrong place. It is very difficult to get my wet notes out with the BO on.

Here are my proposed solutions:

  • I am going to remove the single tank adapter and strap the tank to the back plate with the hose clamps. That should lower my profile and remove a pound or two of weight.
  • I am going to remove the door handles and attach two d-rings to the butt plate. Like the original Nomad butt plate. This should fix the position of the tanks and make it easier to reach the goods on the butt ring.
  • I may trim some AL off the back plate. However, this is not going to happen immediately.
  • I am going to get a new bellows pocket mounted on my left thigh for wet notes and other spare crap. I want to ditch the Two Zip. Or I will start to hang it from my butt ring, like I do when I am side mounting.

I feel like I have seen some of Naharon. Total run time was 2 hours and 40 minutes. There is at least one circuit I would like to do and a bunch new passage to be inspected. I figure I will need another 10 trips there to feel satisfied.

Dive: 396

4 comments

1 Paul aka Hammerhead { 04.21.08 at 1:30 pm }

Sounds awesome!!! Save some for me!

2 John K { 04.27.08 at 4:42 pm }

Hans

Check out the Golemgear Stream BP. I have an extra and it weights 2lbs 2ozs. You welcome to give it a try if you like.

I will try it on my Meg once its up and running.

John

3 David Auteza { 12.27.08 at 11:23 am }

Hi

on my Nomad I took away the door handles and use rope instead of, it seems efficient for the task.

Cheers.

David!

4 Hans { 12.30.08 at 9:04 pm }

David,

Sounds like a pretty good idea. We replaced our door handles with regular d-rings at the top of the butt plate. It seems to work pretty good. If you want to send a photo for posting, I will put it up.

Hans