Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
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Category — Casa Cenote

Photos from Chac Mool Cavern and Casa Cenote…

Chac Mool Cenote

Allie and I went for a tune up dive at Chac Mool on the Megalodon and she decided to bring the camera.   Which was sorely needed, becuase a cave diving blog with few photos of actual diving is pretty sad.  Now I have a bunch of new header images for you to enjoy!

Patrick, Katie, & Allie at Casa Cenote
Casa Cenote
Hans & Allie at Chac Mool on the surface
Hans & Allie at Chac Mool below the surface
Silhoutte of Hans in his Megat Chac Mool 1
Silhoutte of Hans in his Meg at Chac Mool 2
Silhoette of Allie at Chac Mool

Hopefully, next week I will be able to publish some photos of Whale Sharks.  We are heading to Holbox for some snorkeling this week!

Little Brother Cenote at Chac Mool.

July 1, 2008   Comments Off on Photos from Chac Mool Cavern and Casa Cenote…

Coastal Caves and Changing Conditions. Two dives at Casa Cenote.

On Wednesday, I took off from work early to dive Casa Cenote. Casa Cenote is about 10KM south of Dos Ojos. The spring pool is just inside the barrier beach and is surrounded by mangroves. The water exits the cave into the swamp, collects in a 20 foot deep pool and then goes back under the road and out to the ocean. I arrived around 3PM and the place was nearly deserted except for a couple of open water divers and snorkelers. I geared up and entered the water, I was never asked for an entrance fee. I think it is normally 40 Pesos. The spring dog legs back into the swamp. It must be a 500-1000ft swim into the swamp. Then it branches; I chose the left branch. At the back of the pool, I found the cave entrance. I made my tie offs and entered the cave. The entrance is tidally affected and there was a strong current moving perpendicular to the cave passage, it was pretty weird. I found the line on the floor of the cave and tied in. The guide line is floated off the cave floor with pieces of Styrofoam. Casa Cenote is a beautiful cave. There are lines everywhere! I took rights at the first three T’s I encountered and turned my dive at 51 minutes. By the time I turned, I started to hear the voices in my head. I had gone far enough. The trip back included recording all the jumps and T’s for a stick map and a lot of percolation. Visibility was reduced most of the way back to the entrance.

One thing that should be noted is there is a T/Jump that might be confusing; I ended up marking it with a NDPM. There is a junction where the main guide line is wrapped around a rock. About 3 inches away on the same rock, a branch line terminates, however, neither line touches each other. I guess this is a T, using the rock as the connector. In any event, just be aware. (Edit: Patrick has informed me it is a “reach gap”.)

When I reached the head pool, I did a little exploration under the road out to the ocean. I ran about 300-400 feet of line off my primary reel before I got spooked and decided I had enough for that day. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to find when I got to the ocean side and I had been in the water for more then 2 hours. Total run time was 131 minutes on side-mounted AL80. I am going to make a couple of trips back to Casa and find my way out to the ocean.

Casa Cenote Take Two!

I had such a nice dive the first time I went to Casa I decided to go back for another dive. This time it was Allie, Katie, Patrick and myself. First of all, I think Casa might be on the small and silty side for a team of four. Patrick was the number four diver and told me he didn’t see anything the whole dive, on the way out, as team leader, I confirmed his observation.

Second, the cave was a totally different beast the second trip! The conditions were significantly different. The first trip was on a slack tide and the water in the cave system, once I was beyond the brackish zone, was still and crystal clear on the way in. Visibility was excellent and unrestricted.

The second trip was on an outgoing tide. The flow out of the cave was significant and the water was a murky mix, like we had been stirring up a halocline. This was my first coastal cave and I hadn’t really taken into account the differences between tides. Wow! Most of the dive was spent in reduced visibility, maybe 10-15 feet. Sometimes it was less. The swim out was definitely less, maybe 5 feet at times. On the swim in we were a couple of minutes slower to each junction, I attributed this to the team size and the out going flow. On the trip out, we didn’t even need to fin for some sections; we just steered ourselves as we enjoyed the flow.

When we arrived at the head pool, the current was ripping. Patrick and I took a quick dip to check out the entrance to the downstream side, and I was surprised at the strength of the siphon. Divers be warned, the outgoing tide really creates a nasty siphon. I could imagine it being very stressful to try and exit the under the road section.

After our dive we walked across the street to enjoy some hamburgers and drinks on the beach. From the restaurant, we could clearly see the boil on the surface where the system must end. It took all my restraint to not take a swim out to the boil to check it out.

Casa Cenote from Another Angle

Allie has written up our cave dive at Casa Cenote at her blog: mexico-or-bust.blogger.com.  You should check it out becuase there is a really awesome photo of me modeling my purple side-mount helmet.  Plus, she has some really beautiful pictures of the Cenote.

June 9, 2008   2 Comments