Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Scuba Diving with Big Manta Ray in the Coral Sea Austrlia

Dive the cave my young warrior. Sage advice for a dive at Pet Cemetery. Dive: 420

I have had more then one person tell me to dive the cave.  At minimum, both Patrick and Steve have told me that.  Some other guidance I have received:

  • I shouldn’t rely solely on the line and markers.
  • I shouldn’t play tourist in the cave.
  • I shouldn’t put my life in the trust of a plastic disk.

This is sage advice, because on my return leg of a dive at Pet Cemetery the line ended short.

I drove out to Pet Cemetery for a cave dive in search of Blue Abyss.  When I got in the water, I met two divers that were returning from the Blue Abyss.  One of the divers is relatively famous in the cave diving world and the other a guide from a local shop.  We talked for five or ten minutes while I strapped on my gear.  I told them my plan to head for “Tanks on. Tanks off” restriction and look for the jump to head to Blue Abyss.  They exited the water and I started my dive.

The first thing I found was that the primary line that used to end in open water was cut back.  I thought that was weird and continued.  I jumped on the cavern line.  When I arrived at a natural spot to install a jump, I went looking for the primary cave line and quickly installed a jump with an arrow.  I followed the cave line over two T’s and marked them appropriately with my personalized non-directional markers.

About 10 minutes into the dive, I came to the end of the main cave line. It was cut and hanging in mid water.  I thought, “hmm…. That is weird. Who would cut the line and just leave it hanging in mid water?  Jerks!”  I tied my spool to the end of the line and found the other end of the cave line tied off to a stalactite.  I very graciously repaired the continuous guideline and continued on.  I have to admit that I had a very uneasy feeling at this point.  For the next 80 minutes the voice in my head was chattering away.  I just never felt right.  I eventually had to turn the dive on nerves.  I just wasn’t right.  I was a little spooked.

The return swim went much faster then the penetration.  I still hadn’t found the Blue Abyss, so not only was I spooked, but I was disappointed.  When I arrived at the stalactite at which the repair was made, I found the line had been cut again.  This time one inch of my line was hanging out.  Someone had removed my repair.

I swam past the end of the line a little looking for the other end of the main cave line and it was gone.  I returned to my stub and hovered for a second.  I was at least 10 minutes or 500 feet from the Cenote which I entered at and all I had was a 1 inch stub.  I cursed whoever removed the cave line and started to develop a plan.

The next thing I noticed was a thick red line on the floor perpendicular to the original line.  I assumed it might be the cavern line, but I had never swum it and didn’t really want to experiment on it.  I considered tying in my reel for a minute and swimming in the direction of the line, but I elected not to.  As I swam around a little, I saw a light a hundred feet away.  I decided to swim over to the divers.  I was familiar with this section of cave and it was in an air dome.

When I reached the divers, I gave them thumbs up and asked them to surface.  I asked them, “What happened to the cave line?” They told me they were performing a re-lining of the cavern and they had told everyone.  Well, I didn’t know about it.  And the divers that I had spoken to earlier hadn’t said anything to me.  They said they had cut the cave line earlier and had seen it was repaired.  They thanked me for repairing it.  They told me which way to go on the cavern line and that I should exit the cave.

I was completely taken back by the whole situation.  I was in disbelief that anyone would remove a line that had 2 fresh non-direction markers on it and was freshly repaired.  Oh, and they had parked right in front of my truck.  If you had been to Pet Cemetery, you would understand there are not a lot of vehicles out there.  I am not sure what to say about the whole thing, other then it could have gone so much worse.

I was lucky that I had been in that section of cave before and knew how to get out, with or without the primary line.  I had been paying attention on my previous dives and was familiar with the route.  I had been diving the cave.

This should serve as a warning, the line you installed, may not be there when you return.   As I have said in previous posts, the lines here in Mexico change all the time and sometimes without warning.  They can change while you are diving!  Don’t trust your life to a guideline. Dive the cave and practice progressive penetration.  Learn the cave you are diving and carry a compass.  You never know when you might want to know which general direction to head.

3 comments

1 Lynne { 05.29.08 at 2:27 pm }

Wow. Good lesson. Thank you.

2 Kris H. { 06.21.08 at 5:05 am }

Who in the hell would cut the line. I know it happens but come the F*** on, they should know better, and if they don’t they have no business repairing a line. On another note, great site and it was really good to meet you at the going away party. We will have to dive together when I make it back to that side of the planet…

3 Hans { 06.24.08 at 9:41 pm }

Kris, it was one of the usual characters who thinks they know more then they do. Oh well… reminds us to always be aware.

It was great to meet you, I wish I had met you sooner. Enjoy your travels and I hope our paths cross again.

On a side note, I am doing a survey class with Steve right now. I never realized how hard surveying accurately could be. Surveying magnifies all my flaws! Ug… practice practice practice. Talk to you soon and keep on reading and commenting!