Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
A bathing bird at the Zoo in Sydney

Category — Food

Minotauro Down Stream and Nohoch Na Chich

This weekend brought two more days of wonderful diving.  On Saturday, I dropped Allie off at Xpu Ha Beach and got an opportunity to explore the down stream section of Minotauro.

To access the down stream section, you swim to the back of the Cenote to the duck under.  At the T you make a right.  This section of cave is definitely sidemount.  There are lines everywhere.  If you make the first jump to the right, you have to pass a fun restriction.  After a couple of minutes you will reach a T.  If you go right, you go through a sidemount restriction and end up under the steps in the cenote.  If you go left, the line ends and you can jump back onto the main down stream line.

If you skip the first jump, you will pass serveral others.  At 30 minutes or less, depending on how much jumping you do, you will reach a 4 way T.  I decided to continue straight ahead.  The cave pinches down and starts to turn back on it self and really snakes around.  It is low and silty.  After another 10 minutes, I could feel the distance pressure building and I turned around.  I had plenty of gas, I just felt like I had gone far enough.  Plus, down stream is a noticeable siphon and when the cave gets smaller the water velocity climbs, making the return trip slower and labor intensive.

When I reached the 4 way again, I had plenty of gas so I decided to check out the branch to the right as you are exiting.  The first thing you come to is a very entertaining restriction.  I decided to remove one tank and was rewarded by passing it cleanly.  The branch was a lot of fun.  The passage was never straight for more than a  couple of meters and really twisted and turned.  There were plenty of minor challenges along the way.  I reached the end of that line in less then 10 minutes.  There are some jumps back there that need to be checked out. I turned and decided to check out the other branch.

The left branch, as you are exiting, was much of the same.  Just great sidemount sized cave passage, beautiful tannic stained decorations and plenty of opportunities to hone my skills.

Total run time was 122 minutes and  my max depth was 20feet. This is really one of those caves you can loose an entire afternoon in.   After I cleaned up, I jumped in the Toyota and crossed the highway to Xpu Ha beach.  I met Allie and Sophia and we had a nice dinner on the beach.  I did some swimming and headed home.   What a great Saturday!

Patrick Widdmann sitting with Sonny on the surface interval at Nohoch Na Chich

Sunday delivered another excellent dive.  I headed down to Nohoch Na Chich with Patrick, Katy, Alain, Alian’s friend and Sonny. Sonny is diving with Protec for the week and is an excellent diver.

Until today, I thought there were only two ways up to Heaven’s Gate.   I discovered is there is a third line up there.   It never ceases to amaze me how much line has been laid in Nohoch.   The third line is just to the right of the main line.   The swim from Nohoch to Heaven’s Gate took about 30minutes.  When we reached Heaven’s Gate we T into another line, made a right and swam for another 30 minutes.  As we approached our turn time of 60 minutes, I could see a small very strong green light in the distance.  I couldn’t tell if it was a dive computer or a cenote.  I was really drawn to it, it seemed so out of place.  We reached it at the 59 minute mark, just shy of our turn time.  It turned out to be a very thin shaft of light from either a solution tube or a very small cenote.  I didn’t have time to really investigate it.  The swim back was uneventful but fast.  We covered the same distance in 13 minutes less.  We were really huffing it.  Our total run time was 114 minutes and max depth was about 30feet.

Alain hoisting a tank up on his surface interval at Nohoch Na Chich.

When we got back to PlayaDel Carmen, we decided to go to dinner together.  Hannah,  Sonny, John, Patrick, Katy, Allie and I went to Pummarola restaurant on 1st avenue and 40th street.  We had an excellent Italian meal and shared some of our war stories.  There was plenty of laughter and we really had a wonderful time!  If you are interested in the food in Playa Del Carmen, you should check out  It is a restaurant and food review website.

Playa Del Carmen Itlian Fried Cheese Pummarola Restraurant

And a fitness update, for those of you following my weight.  I was down to 234lbs this morning.  I have been bouncing between 235 and 239 for a while.  It has been frustrating.  However, I am starting to spend more time around 234 instead of 239.

Allie, Sol and I committed to a Jeff Galloway running program for a half marathon.   This past week I ran 3.5 miles twice and 4 miles once.  I think this is good progress!  Just a couple of months ago a mile was a challenge.  We are targeting the half marathon distance for December 2008.  I will keep you posted.

August 10, 2008   2 Comments

Weigh In #2 on the Big Challenge!

Yesterday morning I got up and jumped on the scale! As it groaned under the load it reported a hefty 239.4.  I am sad to report that since last week there was scant progress towards my goal.

I know exactly why I made so little progress.  Instead of the going to the gym I dove 5 days last week.  And after diving, we went out to dinner where I ate far too much of my favorite foods like pizza and penne.   I am kinda bummed.  I took some progress photos tonight and when I compared them to the first set, I didn’t see any change.  My friends say they have noticed and I feel a little better.  But I still feel fat and by definition I am.

This week has started a little better.  I spent some time at the gym on Monday running and doing abs.  Running is becoming progressively easier for me.  When I started, I could run for 1.5 minutes and then walk for 1 minute.  Then I switched to running 1.5 minutes and walking for 30 seconds.  Now I am running for 2.5 minutes and walking for 30 seconds.  I only really start to struggle around the 25 minute mark.  I am currently running at a 5mph pace.  Next time I run, I am going to try and run continuously and skip the breaks.  I was running like that last fall.

April 2, 2008   1 Comment

Diving, Fitness and a Decision.

Fat people shouldn’t dive. They shouldn’t technical dive or do extremely demanding dives. I believe they put themselves and others at risk. And this belief poses a huge dilemma for me. My opinion of myself is that I am pretty fat and it seems that the NIH (Nation Institute of Health) would agree. The NIH defines obese as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more. BMI is a correlation of height and weight. As of today, I weigh 246lbs or 112Kilos. At my height of 5’10” or 1.7 meters, I have a BMI of 35.4. I am surprised I didn’t keel over and have a heart attack while making those calculations.

The NIH suggests that the ideal BMI is 19 to 25, that gives me an ideal weight range of about 132 (60) to 174 lbs (79Kilos). Now, I have a target and I can attempt to resolve this dilemma. I have made a decision to loose 10lbs ( 4.5 kilos) before my next training session with Steve. I have gone ahead and announced this to Steve, Patrick, Katie, Allie, Scott, Pietro and some random customers at Protec. Everyone had a good laugh and asked when my next trianing session was? When I told them a month, they had another good laugh. They suggested I might need till 2009.

In my mind the only other option was to quit diving all together and blot out my miserable existence by eating myself to death. And however appealing that might be here in Mexico, I love Pastor, it just doesn’t seem like a reasonable solution. Who would I give my Meg to? Who would spend the day at Grand Cenote making fun of Patrick the Austrian Cave Extraordinare?

I am sure you are wondering what the plan will involve? Aren’t you? The plan is to spend more time in the gym and less time eating my favorite foods: chips, ice cream, gummy bears, pastor, fried shrimp tacos, twix, butter, and butter. I know this this completely laughable. However, I have already started on my path. In 2006, I lost 60lbs. I used a system called Leanness Life Style. It concentrated on defining achievable goals and then creating a food plan and a workout schedule that delivered the appropriate caloric deficits to achieve the desired weight loss. When I followed the plan closely, I regularly beat my projected losses. I was able to loose the 60lbs in about 5 months. So, I am committing to the Leanness system. No matter what happens, I will post regular updates on my progress.

I believe that I cannot make my weight loss contingent on anyone or anything. I will have to find a way to eat in a healthy way here in Mexico. To be honest, my life depends on it. Plus, there is a pool at Protec.

March 18, 2008   1 Comment