Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Casa Cenote Mexico with Patrick Widmann, Allie Kaspersetz and Katie

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.

5 comments

1 Marco { 07.22.08 at 10:35 pm }

Hi Hans! Im kind of becoming a fan of your blog. Im moving back to Playa next november but in the meantime is so great to literally “do” cave diving through your lines.
Keep it up buddy 🙂

2 Hans { 07.23.08 at 7:56 am }

Marco,

Glad you are enjoying the blog. I remember when I was living in the states and spending too much time working or with clients. I would read entries and posts from people diving and it would give me a little break. Just for 10-20 minutes I would in the water a long with them. I always wondering why more people aren’t writing about cave diving here in Mexico?

Hopefully you will get back to Playa soon. Keep on commenting, it really gets me amped to see people enjoying my stuff.

Hans

3 david { 08.02.08 at 7:32 pm }

Hans very few people write about cave diving here in Mx, and you’ll never see(with rare exceptions) in the internet blogs of main exploreres, as a well know cave instructor that every body knows(but not every body likes him) saids some people have the “my cave mentality” and don’t not like to share their knowlodge, they have their own reasons.
David

4 Hans { 08.02.08 at 10:48 pm }

I have a bunch of friends who are dive professionals here and they want to protect their knowledge. I guess it is like intellectual property or trade secrets. I can understand that. It could be a threat to their lively hood and profitability if everyone had all the information.

Therefore, I make an effort to not divulge too much information to respect the trust they have placed in me. I dive with them and learn from them. They expect me to respect that trust.

Plus, there are some places people shouldn’t go unless they know how to find it or were shown it. It seems that a some percentage of the cave diving community have inflated egos that tell them they are skillful enough to go where ever they like. They read blogs and trip reports, buy the right gear, rent a car and some tanks, and then dive beyond their abilities. The result is they trash the place because they don’t realize their skills are not up to the task.

I think most people who visit here should dive with a guide. I dove with a guide until I moved here and had the time to get to know the systems and hone my skills. It is for their safety and the safety of the cave. I do not disrespect them, I just think they would have a better experience.

Hans

5 David { 12.12.08 at 11:46 am }

I just got back from Mexico last night. I’ve been diving just over a year and made my first cenote dive on this trip. It was amazing. I only dove Taj Ma Ha. My dive master felt it was the safest and had the best variety of things to see. What a peaceful and beautiful place. I found that even with my limited experience (24 dives) I was able to navigate the sometimes fast changing depths (and widths!). The points made here about using experienced guides ring very true.