Move diving in Caves & Cenotes

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Nov 23, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Great nights sleep and even managed to escape another mozzie savaging.  Meeting Budgie at the dive shop before heading out to the next cenote, Angelita.  This one isnt as well developed as the other sites in terms of facilities but you get the feeling that you are really exploring.  Antonio gets great pleasure in showing me the giant ants and a massive spider that seem to be part of the family out here in the jungle.  Budgie also points out that sometimes there is a "croc" in the water with the divers, as if I dont have enough to be worrying about.  Down to the briefing.

Angelita is basically a blue hole with a max depth of about 52m.  What makes this special is the "fog" layer of hydrogen-sulfide half way down the descent. On either side of the "fog" layer you have a halocline followed by clear water.  In we plop and we start our descent.  Around me I can see dead trees sticking out but the water is crystal clear.  below the fog beckons as we continue our descent.  We pause before heading through the hydrogen-sulfide layer and jesus I think that Budgie has cracked one off as there is a terrible smell of rotten eggs.  Ah yes that would be the hydrogen-sulfide.  Also clearly noticeable is the thin layer just above the fog which is shimmering and that is the halocline.  As we descend through the fog the viz drops to 0 and all we can see are our lamps.  It kinda reminds me of Scotsmans bay on a bad day.  Once through the fog layer the viz is perfect again but as you look up you can clearly see the fog just hanging there.  What I think is amazing is that you are breathing clean air from a tank and have your face covered with a mask but you can clearly smell and almost taste the sulfide.  Yuck, it has put me off egg sandwiches for life!

We are now at 46.6m and officially my deepest dive EVER!  Given that we only have mins at this depth we poke around pretty fast.  The best I can try and describe what Im seeing is that it is like a spooky forest at night.  Trees with twisted limbs reaching out to grab you.  We ascent back up through the layers again and Budgie takes me through some narrow swim throughs.  He is a cave diving instructor after all.  One is a chimney that I have to ascent through vertically and there is not a lot of room and reminds me that I need to start in a gym when I get back.  I have to say that Budgie is an Ace guide and is really making these dives for me!  Right after that unique experience it is off to the second site, a cenote called Carwash.

This site is where a lot of cave dives do their training so there are no permanent navigation lines down.  Budgie assures me that only experienced divers are taken to this one and Im chuffed.  Another croc to contend with on this site but when we get there there is no sign of him.  Another good briefing and Budgie explains that he will have to lay the navigation line and how we are going to use it.  Having done the Wreck Specialty Im familiar with this procedure.  This site has another curious feature and that is an algae layer on the surface which gives another fog effect when viewed from below.

The caverns are amazing and it is easy to see how the inexperienced diver could become confused very quickly down there without the lines.  Cavern diving differs from Cave diving in that we should always be able to see natural light coming in from the surface, which gives us our exit point.  I think that Cavern diving for me would be my limit as I have no interest in going down into dark caves with a bit of nylon as my guide out.  Carwash has vast caverns with fantastic formations and you feel very insignificant in the vastness of it all.  Max depth on this dive was 18m and a nice 50 min dive.  After 4 cenote dives I want to come back and do more but I guess it will have to be another time.  They say that a good instructor makes learning fun and Budgie was all this.  Brilliant diver and a very clever and funny man to boot.

In the evening I head to the Tulum ruins and the amazing beach.  The setting for this Maya settlement couldnt have been any nicer but the book says that it was abandoned for no apparent reason.  I guess it was starting to become "Ballymun in the sun" so they legged it.  There are not many ancient sites where you can get a swim in as well and the water was fantastic. 

An action packed day and some fantastic diving experiences.
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callahan.pat on

What a great vacation, sounds beautiful!

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