Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Chico at Cian Ka'an Park Mexico

Dive 366 – Cenote Minotauro

I was supposed to go diving yesterday afternoon. However, I had to abondon that idea becuase I was having a bad day and I didn’t want to take that in the water. Instead I watched 8 hours of the TV series 24. I serviced some of my spools, fixed clips to 2 of my new LED SL4 lights and put my new yellow SL4 lights on my purple side mount helmet. I am happy to report that I look stunning with the helmet on. Skipping diving provided me a mindless break. And I wanted to get some more work done.

Today, I made up for the postponement. I decided to go back to Cenote Minotauro for a nice cave dive upstream. However, this time I went up stream on the downstream line. I am sure there is a name for this line, but I don’t know it. If you do, let me know?

It is a very beautiful dive. It is tight. I was up there once in backmount with a buddy bottle and in retrospect that was a bad idea. After that dive, I pledged to not go back until I was in side mount. This time I went side mount and it was a pleasure. I can’t imagine diving there with anymore then 1 buddy. There are tons of lines and jumps everywhere you look and lots of fragile stuff that can be broken.

This dive I decided to practice taking notes and doing a rough stick map of the cave. Wetnotes and digital compass in hand, I set to work. It ends up, I am a terrible judge of scale and it is easy to get lazy. Looking at the map, I should have really started much smaller and skipped the whole compass bit. I ended up going off the page and having to come back on the other side. I remember doing this as a little kid when I drew mazes. I think a first pass at a simpler stick map would have been sufficient. Or maybe just an accurate log of the line directional tendency, jumps and T’s.

The wetnotes and digital compass suck together. The compass is part of my Sunnto D6. To take a heading, I have to hold the button down and wait for it to switch modes. Then after short period it switches back to computer mode. There is no quick way to record the information I want. Every time I have to stop and wait for the equipment. I really makes taking detailed notes no fun. So between the wetnotes and the Sunnto, my work was much harder then it needed to be. I think I am going to give it another try with a standard compass and a slate.

All that aside, I think the map I created will be useful in deciding on future plans and places to check out. I made it about 30 minutes back when my primary light died. This is the second time in 2 dives it died in less then an hour. Note to self, “Once is fine, twice is something worth paying attention to. Do use that battery again without getting it fixed.” This is a huge bummer. One light is flooded with a broken cord. Two batteries were flooded in the process and now the third battery is on the fritz. I am glad I got a backup primary light but jezz, I don’t want to have to buy two backup primary lights. I hope that made someone laugh.

I noticed my primary flickering a little, then I thought, “Hmmmm… that seems a little dim.” I turned on my helmet mounted LED SL4 and BAM! It was brighter then my 10watt HID. Now, I believe the HID is dying.  I turned it off and turned the dive.

I have to say that I am VERY happy with the LED lights. I have two of them mounted to my side mount helmet and they are stellar. Beam is brighter and whiter then my Photon Torpedoes. Reportedly they should burn for a much longer time then the traditional bulbs. Of course, this remains to be seen. In a cave as small as this, the 1 LED light was plenty. It doesn’t have the reach, but in good vis it is good for 15-20 feet. If I wanted more light, I turned on the other light for a moment, then killed it.

On the return trip I checked out some of the other arms of the T’s. There is definitely more cave to explore up there. I also made the jump that leads to the main up stream line. This was a very very cool little extension to my dive. You have to descend head first through a Z shaped passage. I know people do it in backmount, but it just seemed too small to do in good conscience. It was very very cool and I feel very lucky to dive this stuff every other day. I followed it to the main upstream line. About 2/3 way there, I realize I had been on this section of line before. I had aborted my attempt from the other direction because I was on my rebreather and it was getting too tight and I didn’t want to damage the cave. After I finished this section, I headed to another jump I had started to check once before, this time I was successful. I found the end of that line and a fork. At this point, I had been swimming for 102 minutes and it was time to go. I promised Allie I would call at 6PM and it was now 5:50pm. So I cleaned up my stuff and headed home. I am very satisfied that I made a beautiful dive and my mind was in the right place.

Max Depth: 32ffw
Run Time: 113 minutes