When Animals Attack
Thursday, September 21, 2000 –
The final map (for now) of Sistema Camilo is done. We are almost finished with the exploration and are turning our focus to photography and video of the system so that we can tell others about the experience and knowledge we have acquired. Besides this website, we often give presentations for consumer and industry shows, civic groups or to the scientific community in an attempt to fullfil our mission goal of education. We also write articles that appear in various magazines and journals. We began the day with one team searching the jungle for the opening we found underwater and another shooting still photographs within the system. Underwater photography is relatively difficult, and doing it in a cave is even more complex. It requires staging divers with strobes, that operate in a slave mode (they fire when they see the light from the primary strobe on the camera), throughout the area you wish to shoot in order to have enough light to illuminate everything that we want to see.
While some were getting the glamour done (taking pictures), Mark and Terrence were hacking through more jungle in an attempt to locate the cenote we had seen underwater yesterday. They had entered the jungle through another path across the property that Cenote Calavera is on. As usual, they were concentrating on their footing while cutting vines, bushes and trees and wiping their brows of sweat – searching for a small hole filed with water. While distracted with this minor task, they were unaware that they were being followed along the trail. Without warning and like lightning, Mark felt something grab his leg. It startled him. He kicked and shouted, and it disappeared. Terrence was startled and turned around just in time to be bowled over by Mark, who was being attacked for the second time. Terrence picked himself up and readied for another attack. It came after Mark again, and Terrence gave it a wallop. At this point, they were able to finally see that their attacker was a coati-mundi. As it turned out, this animal was probably just trying to be “friendly” with Mark. He seemed rather frisky the rest of the day while he followed them back out of the jungle. To there suprise, they were met by the landowner, who called for “Pepe!”, and the little critter ran to him and jumped up in his arms.
It was then decided to swim the distance again, surface and wait to be found. However, it was going to be a late night, since we wouldn’t be able to get started until the first team (photography team) returned to the resort. We got things together, and by the time we hauled everything back into the jungle and began the dive, it was 1930. The surface team knew it would take about 1 hour for the swim, and planned their arrival in the area for then. The divers surfaced and were prepared to use GPS and a radio, but lights and yelling were enough. After a brief congratulations, the divers reentered the system for the return swim. In route, they managed to lay over 500 feet of line off of Cindy’s Passage.
Send questions or comments to the trilobite.
Questions and Comments To the Trilobite
Thecia and Renee
Have enjoyed the pictures from the expedition and especially the survey map. Has any archaeological data turned up yet in either this cenote or in others in which the team may have been in recent years? Just curious. As the team noted, the old pre-Columbian Mayans considered some of these to be sacred. Have a cerveza for me.
We’re having a blast, as well. We haven’t found any bones or any pottery in this system to date. But, this isn’t the typical sacrificial type cenote. It really is just a simple offset sink.
Congratulations on your 100th cave dive…I know you were looking forward to hitting that mark. This trip seems to be one of great accomplishments for everyone! My biggest question is…did you actually EAT a piece of your celebration cake??? If so, you get a big “hurray” from me! Jamie and Michelle said to say Hi to “Karl the Snarl” (especially when his dive light doesn’t work). The survey map is very cool!
We all had a bit of this cake. Since I was alone in the jungle when my light failed, did anyone hear me rant?
Where is the place you enter the cave system on you posted latest map? Are there any other entrances? Can you please sent the Lat. and Long. of the hotel so I can plot it on my index map. Are you near enough to the shore line to get several GPS locations. I can then calculate the slope to sea level. Have you any idea of the elevation of the upper surface of the freshwater and the fresh/salt water interface. Also are there ripple marks on the bottom in the areas with salt water under the fresh water lens? Give everyone my best regards.
Grant has a lot of the GPS information. I’m sure he can get that to you when we get back. We do not see any ripples like would be seen in the surf zone on a beach. The bottom is mostly rubble and very uneven in the saltwater areas.
Looks like you’re doing interesting stuff. Have you seen any really large creatures hiding in the rocks? Can’t wait to see the pictures. Kim misses you and sends her love. She will have to catch you up on the soap opera that is happening. 🙂 Brandy started at ASI today, that should be interesting to hear about. Played golf Saturday, and did pretty bad, so I’m going to the driving range today. It might help, but then it might not. Be careful and enjoy the rest of your trip.
How about that Coati-mundi?! Then there are the snakes, spiders and the of course the mosquitoes.
Enlighten me some more — how will the native population use the information you have collected? Love and be careful!! Mom
The local dive centers will have another possible site to take interested clients to see, and the landowner at this site will be able to increase his income by charging the divers to use the site. This could also be used to help understand the local water supply.
I told you I would send you a message. I hope all is well and the research is coming along. Looks like the scenery is great!! You must bring back a little something for the CT dept. to marvel at. By the way, I blew up the G.E. machine last Sunday. I guess I am out of a job. Oh well you win some, you blow up some. Just kidding. Both machines are perfect. Get on back here!!!!!!!!!!!!
Would you like a tarantula?
Hope you guys are having fun down there…by the size of the system and the empty reels I see on the updates, I would say you were having a great time. See you when you get back in town.
We need to try to lay this much line in Wekiva!