Monday, April 15, 2002 –
The mission for the 2nd day of diving was simple, “clean-up”. Two teams (three divers per team) were to deploy downstream for the purpose of surveying two large sections of line (one section of line had missing survey data and the other section had a small error in the previous survey data). Today’s mission would call for each of the team members to carry two additional stage bottles (extra tanks that are carried by the diver for the purpose of extending the time and range during a cave dive). A special member of the expedition, Thecia Taylor, accompanied the dive team into the jungle today and served as the land photographer. Thecia has been an icon for the expedition and has participated as a non-diving member on most of the excursions to Akumal. After three years of laying on the beach in Akumal, Thecia ventured out for the first time today into the jungle with the rest of the team. While the teams were exploring and surveying passage, she reclined on a tarp, counted ants, read a book and practiced her Spanish with the Muchachos. At the end of the day and questioning length of the .6 mile trail, Thecia exclaimed, “It was all I ever dreamed it would be and more!”
Team 1 comprised of Renee, George and Terrence went downstream today to resurvey a line placed two years ago. The survey consisted of portions of Cindy’s line, Spring line and the Black Forest line. The team also noticed a remarkable amount of flow going onto the Black Forest line that was not noted on previous dives. This of course raised a big question as to where it was coming from and why it was only experienced upon entering the area and not exiting. After 190 minutes total dive time team 1 exited the water and prepared for the departure to Villas DeRosa and LUNCH!
Team 2 consisting of Andy, Cliff, and Mike left Cenote Camillo a short while after team 1 was underway and headed downstream (Mike leading the dive followed by Cliff and Andy). As this was the first opportunity to dive downstream for Cliff and Andy, the very unique characteristics of the downstream passage will forever be a memory that either member will forget….Andy describes the passage. “amazing, some of the most beautiful cave I have seen”. The team made their way down the passage going right at the first “T”, left at the 2nd “T” and right again at the 3rd “T” (a “T” is an intersection where two cave lines connect) before reaching the first stretch of line to be surveyed (a line to the left called “Carla’s line). The team made their way down to the end of Carla’s line (some 500 feet) and surveyed back to the main line. After the survey was completed on “Carla’s line”, the team finished their dive by surveying back to Cenote Camillo and gathering the sidewall data for the upstream line to the first “T”. When an exploration team survey’s cave, there are 5 measurements that are taken at every station point (depth of the line, azimuth of the line, distance of the line between survey points, sidewall data, and any comments…e.g. “T” intersection on the line). The depth of the line is measured by placing the dive computer on the survey line and taking the reading, the distance between survey points is measured by counting knots on the line (the knots are tied into the line every 10 feet), the azimuth (directional heading) is taken via compass, and the sidewall data is estimated by the team member who has been tasked with scribing the pertinent data being collected during the dive (estimates height from the line to the ceiling/floor and distance to the wall on the left/right). Dive time was 135 minutes.
After returning to Villas DeRosa’s, the team enjoyed a fabulous lunch prepared by the DeRosa kitchen staff. Shortly after lunch, the team took a few minutes to shower and relax prior to the afternoon/nightly (sometimes very late) duties that must be completed prior to the next day’s operation. The team must take all of the survey data that was collected during today’s dives and transfer the information to the computer where George will plot the information into a mapping program. The information that is captured during the survey dives is correlated to known GPS points (Cenotes, roads, survey trails…etc.) and will continue to update the map that has been created of Sistema Camillo. In addition, the team must prepare and analyze the dive gas that will be used for the following day, complete our web updates, and finish any logistical planning (determine what mission is to be accomplished during the next days dives).
A special thanks to our State-Side support Kyle Creamer….the Cambrian Foundation Web Master!
Mike St. Germain