Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Syndey harbor on a cloudless night.

Category — Taj Mahal

Old Friend Revisited. TaJ Ma Ha.

The no cave diving streak is officially over.  For the second day in a row I went cave diving!  I wasn’t sure where to dive, then I spoke to Nando and Patrick and found out they would be at Taj.  That was all the convincing I needed.  As independent as I would like to believe I am, I do really enjoy the social nature of diving.  Just being at the same Cenote with friends, even if I am not diving with them, is good enough for me.

The plan was to revisit an area of Taj Ma Ha that I hadn’t been to in 3-4 months.  This time in sidemount with the idea of looking for sidemount sized passage.  I went down stream on the white line.  The white line runs from Cenote Taj Ma Ha to Cenote Scarada.  The swim time for that traverse is about 30 minutes.  I think the average depth is about 25 feet.

In any event, I swam to the double arrows and jumped to the right.  This jump is just a minute or two short of Cenote Scarada.  A minute or so after the jump, I came to another line arrow.  I tied my reel in and started to poke around looking for the jump.  My first attempt netted me a dead end with zero visibility that required me to navigate turned 90′.  Once I backed out of that mess, I found the jump.  It isn’t really in a logical place compared to the arrow.  The jump is beyond the arrow to the left.  There isn’t a straight shot from the arrow to the jump, I guess they want to hide the jump a little.  The end of the line has a big red arrow and is hard to miss once you see it.

That line is the sidemount passage I was looking for.  It could be done in backmount, but it would be a big mess.  The cave is complete swiss cheese and there is a lot of really fine white silt and little bits of cave falling down everywhere.  Just my percolation made a real mess of the first part of the passage.  The passage continues to twist and turn and takes you up through a lot more swiss cheese.  It was a lot of fun to dive.  The line continued where I turned.  Not sure if I am going to go back, it seems really unstable back there.  All that swiss cheese rock just gives me the jitters.

I am grateful for the explorers that came before me, however, sometimes the line I find is in the weirdest/worst places.  It is almost like they weren’t thinking when they ran it.  This line was particularly bad.   I can’t really imagine how they surveyed it.

During most my training with Steve he has stressed one major topic: “line laying and placement”.  We spend a lot of time discussing how and where to place the line, what type of tie-offs to use and why.   The idea is that a well placed line will be enjoyable and efficient to survey as well swim.  He told me that the more line I put in and the more I look at line, I will start to notice good line and poorly laid line.  Well, he is right.  I saw some poorly laid line today.  It wasn’t dangerous, but it wasn’t the cleanest either. End of rant.

After I turned the first part of the dive, I spent some time exploring the rest of the area.  The line I originally jumped onto looped  back the same starting point.  There is another line arrow out there, but I couldn’t find the jump.

Sometimes I think, “Nahhh… don’t go to Taj.  It is so boring.”  Then I go and find out there was another section I hadn’t been too.  It is amazing how mch diving can be done at one site and still not see all of it, or experience all of its personalities.

July 19, 2008   5 Comments