Project Participants and Sponsors
Successful exploration day!
Thursday, April 25, 2002-
As the dive teams prepared for today’s activities, Carri and Mike spent some time in the jungle near the area of the dive operations. Mike showed Carri the different Cenote sites and they both took some time to photograph and videotape the area, plants, and animals. After the dive operations were completed today, we took the opportunity to interview Nancy DeRosa (Owner/Operator) of Villas DeRosa’s. Nancy is the Regional Director for “SAVE” (Save Akumal’s Vital Ecology) and is intimately involved with the local ecology and reef preservation of the Riviera Maya area.
Team 1 was comprised of Andy, George and Renee. The team decided to go up to the Grand Canyon area in search of new passage. After two gas switches, the team arrived in the Grand Canyon room and began to explore. There appeared to be several potential passages. They went further downstream and chose an area to explore. “Milky” was the word the team used to describe that passage. Depth was maintained at around 73 feet. The tunnel was small with sharp, crunchy limestone lining the walls, ceiling and floor. Thick halocline coupled with crumbling limestone made visibility difficult at best. Salt water, and especially at the halocline, deteriorates the limestone at a more rapid rate than fresh water causing the breakdown. The team turned the dive after putting in about 300 feet of line. During exit the team also found several other possible leads. After 216 minutes at a max depth of 75 feet the team (cold and hungry!) exited Cenote Camillo. Because of the lengthy dive, the team included a 45-minute surface decompression into the dive plan before the long strenuous hike out to help reduce the risk of Decompression Sickness.
Team 2 (Terrence and Anna) searched the upstream Cenote Camillo for potential new passages. First they checked out the area around Sarrao Room. A tunnel to the left of the first T looked promising, but curved around towards the main tunnel. They turned right at the T and followed the main line. They dropped stage bottles before the Wormhole and followed this low and silty tunnel to the Lemley Room. They passed the line leading to Carrie’s Loft, tied off on the next T and started exploring the passage to the left of the T. Anna was close to the turning pressure, so they did not go very far, but the passage looked promising and warrants another visit the next day.
Team 3 consisted of Dave and Joe; after losing a vicious battle with the local mosquitos again for the second day they geared up with four bottles each and entering through Carri’s Loft. The mission was to search for new passage off of the Halocline Line. While swimming upstream toward the end of the line there was plenty of time to observe the, ever present, halocline in search for possible leads to explore on the exit. After reaching the end of the line the team attempted to work the end of the passage to no avail. While returning, every possible passage was attempted above and below the halocline. Approximately 250ft back from the end of the line a promising passage was marked by Joe while swimming in. After securing new line to the existing line the team ventured into a passage that looked like a shelf near the ceiling. The passage was radically different than the trunk passage; the height was only about 4-6ft and had plenty of delicate formations on the ceiling. The passage continued at a relatively constant depth of 50ft; and the line laid was 389ft in length. There were some other tight areas within the passage left unexplored due to possible damage of the hanging Soda Straws. After obtaining the necessary survey data the team picked up their stage bottles and headed back to wait out 41 minutes of deco in Carri’s loft. While passing the time during decompression a turtle shell was inspected (not touched) followed by observing two strings of vertebrae (to what is unknown). The passage was named “Joan’s Line”, after Joe’s wife of 15 years. The total run time of the dive was 181 minutes with a max depth of 81ft.
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