Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Peacock at the Zoo in Syndey

Category — Cave Diving

Ek Be: Cave Exploration with No End in Sight

Last week we returned to Ek Be for more cave exploration in Mexico. We decided to leave the west end for some time and focus more and more on the east end, trying to push it north and south.
At this point it was clear we needed one scooter per diver as the distance to the end of the line got bigger and bigger. The main issue though using a dpv is the restrictions and tight places that force us to stop and swim the dpv over and over again. Especially right after passing Cenote Ek Be, there is a restriction where the shroud of the scooter literally scrapes the ceiling and the bottom if you find the right place to pass.

boa-constricter-mexico.jpg

But so far we continue to be lucky laying in average 2000ft+ per day. It is really an amazing place to dive as I hardly know any cave that is so intensely decorated. We need to move super slow and carefully to avoid damaging the cave. We cruise around at an average depth of 3ft and often end up in a dry cave and have to search for ways around it in very smallish cave. But its full of leads everywhere and often I feel like swimming through a sub level park garage in a huge supermarket. Using a compass while laying line is crucial in order not to swim in circles. The X1 dive computer is an incredible asset for this application.

Every once in a while we stumble upon massive flow riffles that are timeless indicators of the amount of water that used to run through these passages. It is a surreal and amazing trip though time.

Two days ago we did a double stage scooter dive with a two hour time laps between divers. The only way to pass the restrictions is to clip one stage between the legs while super-manning both the other stage as well as the scooter. Its a slow and painful process but beats the heck out of swimming for hours =)

The end of the line used to be 7000ft in, which took a bit more then an hour to travel. Once there two team members managed to lay together 2800ft of new line, not only adding this amount to the system but making important steps towards a connection with another system further north. The dives took a bit more then 4hours to complete but both explorers came to the surface with huge smiles, which were only slightly diminished by the thought of carrying 8 tanks and 2 scooter back out of the jungle.

Lastly yesterday an important discovery was made, a Cenote close to the end of line, a new starting point that would, at least for some time, save us the stages and dpvs and brought us to an arms reach close to a possible connection. Of course there is a little draw back, the Cenote is about 500mtrs away of anything that remotely resembles a road. So now we have to find it on land using our survey data and a GPS, then cutting a new 500mtr trail and start hauling our gear there for the first dives…We just can’t wait!!!

We will keep you posted!

May 3, 2011   4 Comments

Ek Be Rediscovered and Growing

We promised to keep you posted on the Ek Be exploration. Here comes the good news! We were finally able to dive Ek Be on April 8th and it was a very productive day with 3697 feet of the original lines resurveyed. We also added 244 feet of new exploration in just two dives!

The cenote we found and cut a trail to was named Cot Tunich. It is situated at the center of the cave system. It is a perfect starting point for our explorations. It has a wide cavern area that connects to cenote Ch’ul Nay. The distance between the two is around 200 feet. The cavern is a bit dark and has a ghostly hydrogen sulfide layer. Sunlight entering from a small window on the ceiling brightens the whole thing up and makes it really cool.

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The cave runs mainly west to east and we can say that it looks like a branch of Dos Ojos running parallel to its downstream. We decided to resurvey the whole cave to have a uniform database to work with. While resurveying Ek Be, we would mark possible leads and push the end of lines when possible. The historical survey from QRSS showed 7189 feet of existing lines. It took us a few more dives to finish it all and then we really started to have fun, trying to go west towards Dos Ojos and east towards X’cacelito and Xel-Ha.

Westbound upstream explorations resulted in a connection with another small cenote. This is probably the cave reported as Scorpion Cave by Simon and Donna Richards in 2004, We also discovered a deeper cave level (50 feet) made of white flaky limestone, completely different from the upper level with wide bedding plains filled with cream color formations.

Over 3500 feet of new cave passage was added to the upstream alone, bringing it very close to Dos Ojos. The negative aspect is that it is becoming difficult to explore in this section of cave. We are finding a maze of narrow and unstable passages that connect a series of large collapse chambers. It won’t be easy exploration, but we will keep trying.

Going east beyond cenote Cot Tunich (Ek Be), we found a lead at the end of the original line that opened into an incredibly wide bedding plain. Much of the passage is very low, even for side mount configuration. Thousands of tiny stalactites cover the ceiling giving you the feeling of moving through a glass shop!

In a few days we extended the cave 350 meters eastbound towards the ocean, exploring almost 4000 feet of new cave. During the last dives we arrived at the pre-historic Plasticine Ridge where the old coast line used to be. As expected, the cave divides and turns north and south. The possibility of going through the ridge at this point is not known. There are a few cave systems where the tunnel is big enough to swim beneath the ridge. We will soon find out if this is the case at Ek Be.

Thanks for reading, more news will follow! Quiet Diver Team.

April 24, 2011   Comments Off on Ek Be Rediscovered and Growing

Sidemout Diving at Cenote Regina – Tulum, Mexico

I am back in Mexico for a short trip and I gotta tell you I miss living here.  Living in New Jersey and raising a family is pretty damn fulfilling, especially when you have the coolest wife, son, family and business in the world.  But I still miss it.  It is easy to fanaticize about how much easier life was when we were living here with very little responsibility beyond getting coffee, diving and working enough to get by.  I know the reality is that it would be radically different with family in tow and the long term commitments and responsibilities that come with them.  But I know that you are not reading to get insight into the life of a repatriated cave diver.  You want to know where I have been diving, how cool it was and if, by any chance, I learned anything at all?

Well, today I woke up on Patrick Widmann’s floor (I got to travel cheap with a growing family), tossed all my stuff in his truck and we made our best time for Akumal, where I was to meet with Mauro Bordignon so we could do some sidemount diving.  Unfortunately, Patrick had a Stage Multi-stage course to complete today for two fine Swedish students, so he couldn’t manage my checkout dive.  Luckily, Mauro, one of our cave exploration partners and an instructor himself, was free to dive.

Mauro and I elected to try out a new cave for my checkout dive.  After debating Mayan Blue and Naharon, we settled on Cenote Regina.  Cenote Regina is just past Naharon south of Tulum.  It is a pretty cenote with a resident duck.  Access to the water is very convenient; however the water was a nasty green color, which I suspect the duck contributed too.

I broke out my gear which had been in storage and discovered that I didn’t have my booties with me.  I guess this is why we inspect our gear and do checkout dives.  We did some critical thinking and problem solving; arriving at the idea of wearing socks and flip flops in my ‘flippers’.   Truth be told, I had done this once before on a recreational boat.  Well, it worked out.  As long as I didn’t drag my heals on the cave, the fin straps stayed on.  I did get a little blister on the end of my right big toe, but it was well worth it.

Regina is a relatively deep cave.  Our dive averaged 49ft and maxed out at 79ft.  We dove for about 85 minutes on a set of side mount 80cuft tanks.  It is very nicely decorated and provides plenty of entertainment because it undulates and changes direction often.  The section of cave we dove is backmount sized passage.   There are many marked jumps.  However, on the way in we elected to stay on the main line.  When we returned to the entrance we decided to re-entered the cave becuase  we had sufficient gas reserves.  Mauro and I checked the second jump and found a very beautiful passage, cause both of us to ‘give the horns’ in celebration when we saw the passage.  The cave dropped down and turned into what looked like a perfectly half round passage with a brown clay floor at about 60ft.  When we exhausted out gas reserves we turned the dive and exited.

Overall it was an excellent checkout dive.  We had about 4 minutes of decompression on my LiquiVision  X1, which was no problem and gave me some time to chill out and enjoy the serenity that diving provides.

Tomorrow, Patrick, Mauro and I are supposed to check some ‘new’ in the Tulum area.  I will be sure to check in and update you.

April 8, 2011   Comments Off on Sidemout Diving at Cenote Regina – Tulum, Mexico

Cenote Chemuyil Sur

I am back in Mexico again!  Allie, Griffin and I came down for a wedding and some much needed relaxation.  Luckily, I have the best wife in the world and I am going to get to do some diving as well!

For the first dive of the trip, Mauro Bordignon and I decided to check out Cenote Chemuyil Sur.  This is a beautiful cenote to the south east of Xunaan Ha.  It is also the cenote that spurred Alessandro Reato and Mauro to join me in surveying the exploring the 5th longest cave system in the world (more on this later).  I was resurveying the downstream section of Xunaan Ha to join up with some dry cave survey Jim Coke was doing.  When I reached the end of my lines, we determined that Chemuyil Sur was only 1000ft away and after discussing it with Alessandro, he decided to start trying to connect the two.  After a couple of months of work, Mauro and Alessandro connected the two systems!  This connection ended up being fairly significant because it is one of the few known connections that traverse the Plasticine Ridge.  Mauro and I wanted to visit the connection.

Mauro and I met at his place, got our kit together and headed to the cenote.  The dive started out uneventful.  The cave is manageable in side-mount.  However, as we progressed I started to get an uneasy feeling.  I was anticipating a restriction that we would soon reach and was feeling fearful.  Well, by the time we reached the restriction I wasn’t feeling super comfortable.  I wiggled into the chimney and determined I could most likely pass it.  However, I just didn’t want to do it today.  I stayed in the restriction for 3-5 minutes just meditating and trying to get to a “mind like water” place.  I was unable to get there, so I backed out.  I let Mauro pass the restriction and then he returned.

Mauro and I used the remaining gas to check a bunch of jumps and just have some fun.  The return trip for this dive was in reduced visibility or no visibility because of percolation and halocline mixing.

I am glad to be back in Mexico doing some cave diving.  A couple of things have changed since I left.

  1. I have decided to add a z-knife on my right shoulder where both hands can reach it.  Previously, I wore one just on my wrist and in my pocket.  I am now carrying three.  This change was the result of watching Patrick and Mauro dive and setup their kit.
  2. My level of confidence is way down from when I left.  And my skills/reflexes are off as well.  I am definitely a tourist again.  I am kind of bummed about this change, but to recognize it and obey it is satisfying.  Mauro, Alessandro and Patrick are all one percent-ers and I am glad they take the time to dive with me.  The work they are doing here is amazing and I am glad to call them my friends.

Beyond that, I am having fun diving again.  When I left Mexico, diving had lost some of the ‘fun’ factor for me.  Diving in NJ was a lot more work and I was overwhelmed by the rest of my life.  Now that Griffin is 6 months old and we seem to have things under control a little, diving has returned to being fun.  I am looking forward to a summer of diving in NJ!

May 3, 2010   4 Comments

Beneath the Sea!

Good day trusty readers, I will be helping Matt from Protec at the Beneath the Sea show.  You can find us in booth 612!

About Protec

Protec is a technical training facility and dive shop in Playa del Carmen.  It was also my hang out when I lived in Playa.  The Protec crew was instrumental in my growth a diver and became really close friends.   Protec sponsored our dive expiditions at The Pit and elsewhere.  I will be working the booth with Matt, so stop by and say, ‘Hi!’.

Protec will be giving away a Cavern Training course on Sunday at 3PM.  So visit the booth and pickup your raffle ticket!  Protec also holds an annual photo contest in December, visit the booth to learn more.

About Beneath the Sea

Beneath the Sea is the Largest Consumer Scuba & Dive Travel Show in America and is held at the  Meadowlands Exposition Center,   Secaucus, NJ

BTS is an award-winning organization not-for-profit corporation dedicated to increasing awareness of the earth’s oceans and the sport of scuba diving.

Beneath The Sea’s annual exposition will be held this weekend and will feature seminars and workshops, lots of great door prizes, a film festival showcasing the work of world-renowned underwater videographers, great parties, and exhibits and demonstrations by hundreds of manufacturers, dive clubs, dive shops, resorts, and much more!

March 26, 2010   Comments Off on Beneath the Sea!

Checking Unchecked Leads. Cenote Azul.

Well… the last nine months have been pretty exciting!  My wife and I moved back to the US from Mexico during the height of Swine Flu scare.  We jump started our web design business, and had our son Hans Griffin.  As one might imagine all of the associated chaos put a pretty big crimp on my diving, however I was still able to get a bit of diving done. I made a couple of trips up to Thousand Islands and I did my first deep dive in the Mud Hole off of New Jersey.  But that is not why I am writing, I am writing because I am back in Mexico for a short trip to do some cave diving.

On Thursday I arrived full of anticipation and some anxiety.  Sol picked me up from the airport.  I had in tow a Silent Submersion DPV conversion kit, my side-mount gear and some other assorted dive goodies.  I was very glad to not have to ride the bus.   Sol dropped me off at Patrick´s apartment and I kicked back and started my wait.    As luck would have it, I came down with a cold two days before my flight.  The first two days here were spent waiting for my cold to pass and my sinuses to clear.  On Saturday, it finally cleared enough for me to dive.  I prepped my gear for a check out dive. 

Sunday dawned and Patrick of Protec blog fame and I decided to go diving.  We debated where to go for a while and decided to head to Cenote Azul.  I was told when I moved here that divers were not allowed to enter at Cenote Azul, so I never tried to get in there.  I said that to Patrick and he challenged me.  We decided to check it out and see if that was true. 

We pulled into the parking lot and spoke to the manager.  She was apprehensive but decided to allow us in, to my surprise.  She charged us each 100 Pesos.  She explained we could drive to the water, which was behind the shack.  Cenote Azul´s grounds are very nice and well maintained.  The walkways are manageable and the Cenote is gorgeous.  The water is about a 3 minute walk from the car.  The water is about 10-15 feet below the parking lot. 

You want to enter the water in the main cenote which is right in front of the wooden deck.  There are two lines at Cenote Azul.  One line runs to Kantun Ki and the other runs over to Cristolino.  You can swim to Ponderosa (Garden of Eden) by swimming towards Kantun Ki and taking a left. 

The main line to Kantun Chi is about 150ft from open water.  There are at least three viable options once you are in the cavern zone, however only the left one will lead you to the main line.  If you are looking for the line to Cristolino, you have to continue past the line to Kantun Chi.   The end of both lines are in the same general vicinity.

It took us about 4 minutes to get tied in.  We started up the line and stopped a number of times to make repairs.  One repair took the two of us to lift a 4 foot slab of collapsed lime stone  off the line to free it.  Another repair required us to cut a ball of line off the main line.  Lastly, we re-secured the line a number of times.  Every time I dive this area of the system I find numerous problems with the line.  In the past I have found the line slack numerous times and I find small collapses regularly here.   If you decide to dive here, make sure you pay attention to the line.  It is in the halocline and it isn´t in great condition, this is a relatively out of the way part of the system and the lack of traffic shows.

After about 45 minutes we reached Kantun Chi.   We turned the dive and headed back.  The swim home was uneventful and relaxing.  We surfaced at 100 minutes.  Overall it was an awesome dive.  I am really glad to be back here.   Diving in Mexico is much more relaxing then diving in New Jersey, there is no drive to the boat, no boat, and warm water.

The lesson this trip is to check out those old possibilities.  There are management changes, line changes and changes in perspective.

January 31, 2010   8 Comments

Last Dive at The Pit – Bailing Out at Depth

If you have been following Quiet Diver, you know that I left Mexico a couple of days ago.  And while I was in transit, I was torturing you with stories that were unrelated to diving.  Well, this story gets us back to writing about diving!

A month or so ago Santiago and I made a dive at The Pit down the Lins/Walten tunnel.  It was a nice dive to 238ft (73m).   Santiago was diving OC and I was on the Megalodon.   After the dive we had some helium left over and we enjoyed diving together so much we decided it would be cool to do a dive to the back of Wakulla Room as a team.  Additionally,  we needed to pick up some tanks that were staged from the last project and I still needed to do my at depth bailout.   So, we got another tank of helium and decided to do the dive in a couple of days.  Well, as the date approached I was too overwhelmed with work and had to call the dive.  These dives require a lot of preparation and mental focus and if my mind is on other issues, then I can’t do the dive.

Well, it took me more then a month to reschedule the dive between work and social engagements.  But once we got the dive scheduled everything fell into place.  All the gases were blended, regulators prepared and dive plans cut.

The plan was to stage gas at 20ft (6m) and 70ft (21m) on a down line.  Then set the primary reel and stage gas at 150ft.  For bottom gas Santiago took double 80’s and a deep stage.  I took two 80’s of deep bailout and the CCR.  Normally, I would carry one deep bailout for this dive, however since I was going to purposefully bail out, I thought it would be wise to carry extra gas.  As well, I was diving with an OC buddy and I wanted to be able to donate gas in the event of a lost gas situation.  After staging all the gas, we planned to swim to Paul’s Rock, which takes about 16 minutes.  Paul’s rock is about 800-900 (274 – 278) linear feet (meters) from the surface at a depth of 280ft (86m).  Upon reaching Paul’s Rock, I would signal Santiago that I was bailing out.  We would spend one minute sorting out the situation and then make for the exit with haste.  After exiting the Bypass, I planned to switch back onto the loop to conserve gas and do a normal CCR decompression schedule.

I had a several reasons for bailing out at depth:

  1. Switch from a rich HE mix to a lighter mix and experience a change in END and confirm our choice of deep bailout.
  2. Go through all the steps of bailing out under the effects of depth.
  3. Confirm my SAC rate in that configuration and under the environment stresses.
  4. Practice bailing out under the supervision of a trusted dive buddy at depth and get critical feedback.
  5. Complete the drill because I made Patrick complete the drill and he was riding me about it.
  6. Feel the tanks as they get really light with HE in them.
  7. Breath open circuit gas at depth while hustling.  (I never dove Trimix OC.)
  8. Practice, practice, practice!

The dive went nearly as planned.  We reached our way point at 150ft (46m) a little late, through a little effort we were able to make up the time and we reached Paul’s Rock on time.  I turned to Santiago and gave him an okay.  He replied.  I then gave him the bailout signal.  I reached up and turned the knob on my BOV.  I breathed out a little to clear the regulator of water and took a breath.  As I completed the breath I was immediately hit with a case of nerves.  I felt a shot of anxiety and adrenaline wash over me.  It was totally unexpected because I had mentally rehearsed the drill a pile of times and had executed it in shallower water many times.  My brain went a little mushy.  I reached around and opened the bailout tank valve.  For reference, I have my bailout tank and diluent tank plumbed into a manifold, so I now had access to both.  I had switched from an END of 67ft (20m) to an END of 92ft (29m).  Plus I went from an “unlimited” gas supply to a very limited gas supply.

After opening the bailout tank, I pulled my regulator out to replace my BOV.  As I pulled the regulator to my face, I reached up and pulled the BOV out of my mouth and thought to myself, “Don’t flood your unit – close the BOV.”  I reached around and switched the knob, opening the loop!  Dur! I heard the bubbles and quickly stuck the loop in my mouth.  I switched the loop closed and cleared the regulator.  I thought to myself, “You idiot!  That is exactly what you needed to not do.”  I took the BOV out of my mouth put the regulator in my mouth.  Confirmed I was breathing the right gas and looked at my set point controller.  I needed to set the set point down to manual.  It took my four tries to get it right.  I kept setting it to 1.4 instead of manual.   Finally, I got it set and then switched my X1 over to bailout, which I achieved on the first try.  I opened the OPV and started to swim.  The whole switch over took about 1 minute.  However, it really felt like a life time.  We swam for 5 minutes exiting the Bypass.  I switched back to CCR and made all the appropriate adjustments.

As we ascended, I picked up the staged tank at 220ft (68m).  The tank had been there for almost two months.  It was covered in billowing clouds of bacteria.  All the hoses were slimy and I was very glad I didn’t have to breathe from it.

The rest of deco went smoothly and was without incident.  Santiago and I had very similar schedules and exited the water pain-free.

As I hovered in deco, I had a lot of time to reflect about the dive.  The first thing that came to mind was how glad I was that I took the time to do the drill!  I wish I had done the drill last fall, when we first agreed that we would do it.  There is no harm in practicing this stuff, except to your wallet!  There is only benefit and experience.  Because my Meg is so reliable, I do not often get the opportunity to bail in a stressful situation.

Bailing out at depth in the back of a cave is different then bailing out in the first 1000ft (309m) of Ginnie, any shallow cave in Mexico or on the Jodrey.  I had bailed out repeatedly in those environments and never felt the anxiety or lack of coordination that doing it in The Pit caused.  I was definitely noticeably more impaired at that depth, even with a 96ft (29m) END.  I was glad to learn that my SAC rate held even at depth with a shot of adrenaline and a hasty exit.  I was also glad that I was able to get all the required tasks completed.  After the dive, I checked my loop for water and there was very little.  The towels in the bottom of the can were just a little wet.  So the open look fiasco wasn’t too detrimental.  I was glad that I identified that problem quickly and resolved it.

Santiago was concerned with how long it took me to bailout.  As he was on OC and run time tables the whole dive, he really needed to stay on schedule.  He suggested that I might have been better off starting to swim earlier.  I don’t know that I agree.  I think it is critical, even if I waste 1 minute, to get everything set and then start to swim.  I can only do one thing at a time in a situation like that, especially if my lizard brain starts to emerge.  In past situations, I really fumbled things by trying to do more then one thing at a time.  I have learned I need to complete one task then move on.

In response to his remarks and my performance, I would like to go through the drill again at depth a couple of times and maybe a couple more times in mid-range water.  I think when I get back to Q. Roo, I will schedule another bailout before I start deep diving activities at The Pit.  I may have the opportunity to give it a try this summer here in NJ.

Santiago said I looked somewhat impaired as I tried to set the handset.  I agree with his observation, I was.  Either it was anxiety or being narced.  I think it was an insidious mixture of both.  I know that when I get scared or nervous, even in shallow water, my cognitive abilities diminish.  Mix that with some depth and you have a nice cocktail.

Lastly, he was unhappy with how long it took me to get back on the loop and the distance I swam off the line when I switched back to the loop.  Both are valid concerns.  I swam off the line to avoid getting entangled.  As the line exits the By-pass it splits in two and ends up above you and below you in ugly spots.  So, I swam away from it.  As for taking too long, he was right.  I had a lot of trouble stuffing the hose back on the tank and as I was about to pick up another tank I needed to sort the bailout first. I think I need to get looser hose retainers and practice with them a bit.  I have a similar problem when I am dealing with my OC stages.

I am very happy with the dive.  It didn’t go perfectly, but I learned a lot and we had a ton of fun.  I am grateful to for my friend’s observations.  When you are in the moment, you miss things sometimes and a neutral observer can add a lot of depth to the discussion.  Santiago is an excellent diver and I look forward to my next opportunity to spend time with him.  I am sad because that was my last dive at The Pit for a while!  I really enjoyed diving at The Pit, especially the deep dives.  The Pit is a spiritual place for me.  I see it as a cathedral of diving.  The spaces are so big and beyond normal scale that it inspires me.  Until next time, I will dream of diving at The Pit.  To be honest, I am going to miss all my friends: Patrick, Solomon, Alain, Steve, Etienne, Ross, Katie and Santiago just to name a few.  The last year and a half of diving has been amazing and I have many fond memories.  Thanks to all of you, my life is forever enriched!

May 6, 2009   8 Comments

Brain Kakuk is Making More Progress on Abaco Island.

Brian Kakuk has posted another entertaining entry in his exploration log.  The post details Brian’s progress as he approaches the 1 mile mark in Dan’s Cave.    The latest dive required 5 80 stages and two sidemount LP85s.  He is diving on Nitrox and reaching a depth in excess of 160ft.  I definitely enjoyed reading about it.   Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page….

Right now I am in NJ paying my taxes and taking care of some other business.   I am really missing the caves and my friends in Playa!

On a seperate but related note, my web design company, Cyber X Designs, just launched Protec’s blog site at http://www.protecblog.com.   If you want to follow the characters over at Protec as they guide, instruct, explore and fun dive head over to thier blog and leave a comment!

April 11, 2009   2 Comments

The Grass is Always Greener…

Uncompahgre National Forrest looking at San Juan Mountains Today, I followed a link from Cave Divers Forum to a Kayaker’s website to watch his video of hucking a 50ft waterfall.  It was super cool.  From that site, I visited his photographer’s site, Tyler Roemer Photography Blog and spent some time gazing at his photos.  Holy crap they are amazing. Tyler’s photos are of the mountains and young people doing the things you do in the mountains: hiking snowboarding, cycling and climbing.  It really got my heart to go pitter pater.  There is something missing here on the Yucatan, green rolling hills and mountains.   Granted the scrub jungle, the beaches and the caves are beautiful, however they are not lush green mountains and snow.  Lately, I have been thinking about moving to the mountains again.  13 years ago, I lived in Keystone, Colorado.  That is where I met Allie, my wife.  We were snowboard bums working at the resort loading skis onto the gondola.  I hiked in the back country a couple of days a week, in the winter.  And in the summer I mountain biked and fly fished.  It was really a beautiful place.  I left Colorado for two reasons. First, Allie left to go to school and I was lonely.  Second, I didn’t want to snowboard anymore.  I had been skiing every weekend since I was seven years old and I didn’t want to be cold anymore.  I get really nasty headaches when my head is cold.  So one day in the spring I hung my snowboard up and bought a mountain bike.  I have only been snowboarding a handful of times since.  Well, the short of the story is that I have been thinking about the mountains a lot lately.  I am not going anywhere anytime soon I still have work to be done here on the Yucatan.  I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

On a releated note, recently I have been captured by the awesome beauty we have all around us.  Brain Kakuk has been turning in some amazing photos of the Helictities in Dan’s Cave in Abaco, Bahamas.  You can see some of the photos of the formations here and here.  I am filled with amazement to get to see this stuff, it really enriches my life.  Thank god for the internet!

In a week I am flying to Florida for almost two weeks of diving.  The first week will be deep wrecks out of Ft. Lauderdale with Blue Foot Diving and the second week will be cave diving in north Florida to do my Cave CCR Crossover with Ted McCoy.  As you can imagine, the mad rush is on to get all my work buttoned up and to do some dives in my dry suit.   The wackiest thing is to realize that I am taking vacactions from Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  It has become home and I am ready to travel away from paradise already.

Some of my photos from a mountain bike ride from Teluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah.  It tooks us 7 days.  Awesome ride!

February 6, 2009   2 Comments

Abaco Island Cave Exploration, Dreaming About Diving and Setting Depth Records

Every once in a while I read about some really cool diving that is going on that reminds me how basic the stuff I am doing is.  Brain Kakuk is continuing to make headway in the Bahamas and has blessed us with a write up about exploration at Dan’s Cave on Abaco Island.   Take five minutes are read about it, it got my juices flowing.

Cave Exploration in Dan’s Cave on Abaco Island, Bahamas.

When you are done reading about the diving, make sure to check out his photo gallery, the formations are stunning!

Now that we have that out of the way, do you ever dream about diving?  Well, I do!  And last night I had the craziest dream.  I thought you might enjoy a retelling, it is ridicules.  So, the dream started in the middle of a dive at The Pit.  Victor, Santiago and myself were working our way into the BMB passage.  (I haven’t been there yet, so I don’t know what it looks like.)  In my dream, the passage narrowed down the width of two people and angled down.  Then the passage continued through a hole in the floor.   The line was run was against the ceiling entering the passage, onto the floor and then against the ceiling through the hole and it was slack.  I was the third man.  When we got to the hole, Victor was looking in trying to figure out how to pass the restriction and kept moving the line back and forth forcing me to keep crossing under the line.  This was all taking place at like 330ft in my rebreather with bailout.  To say the least, it was a little stressful.  After sometime of watching them and getting very upset about having to repeatedly cross under the line and wasting my dive time, I hit my turn time and called my dive.

After calling the dive, the dream skipped right to the point I was out of the water and laying in bed continuing to decompress, at which time I noticed I had forgotten to wear my X1 and I never set my PO2 above .4.  Actually, I realized that I hadn’t ever looked at my PO2.  I decided that I must have followed Santiago’s open circuit schedule and I was freaking out.  (When I woke up my jaw was sore from being clenched.)  I wanted to get out of bed to check how much deco I had omitted, though I didn’t know what set points to use.  And I couldn’t figure out when laying in bed had become part of deco.  I knew I should be bent in the dream and I kept checking my right elbow.  The dream ended with me thinking to myself that it was awesome that I wasn’t bent and that I had gotten lucky.

What a wild dream!  Well, it was for me.  If you have ever had a really crazy diving dream, please post it as a comment.  If it is really long and interesting,  you can email it to me at hans@quietdiver.com and I will post it as an article.

And to tie things off, right before going to sleep last night I watched “Pod Cisnieniem” or “Under Pressure”.  It is a movie (DVD) about an open circuit depth record dive by a Polish team in the Red Sea.  I got the movie from Patrick who was teaching Jacek Szymczak this week.  Jacek is the deep diver in the movie.  Watching the movie really got me amped up and I think it inspired my dream about The Pit.  I love the idea of participating in a big project like that and supporting something extraordinary.  With any luck, I will have the opportunity one day.

Unfortunately, the trailer is in Polish.  However, the DVD is subtitled in English and well worth watching. Here is the trailer for the movie:

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In another coincidence, Leigh Cunningham, the deep support diver, was Patrick’s trimix instructor in Egypt.  It was really cool to see his instructor in action.  I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did!

January 30, 2009   1 Comment