March 24

Good morning Akumal…

Cenote Camilo, big and blue.

After the hike out of the jungle . . .

0.6 mi. trail to Cenote Camilo and Carri’s Loft

Nat, Andy and Renee after today’s dive.

Hot…Humid…Horrendous hiking!!

Monday, 24 March 2003
Yesterday thunderstorms tormented the Akumal area into the evening. However, a beautiful sunrise greeted us this morning as we awoke. Nat prepared an outstanding breakfast consisting of bacon, ham, eggs and toast. Delish!!

After 7 days of fairly easy hiking, the team today hiked back to Cenote Camilo area to further exploration in that section of the system. The trail had not gotten any shorter or easier since last year nor had it gotten any cooler! With 5 team members and 5 muchachos we gathered up the gear and tanks and began the hike. Upon reaching the cenotes, we did a site check and began to set up “camp”.

Team 1 was Nat and George today, diving out of Cenote Camilo. Our mission was to get the tie in data for the line in Allison’s passage, and to check the end of the line for any going passage. The first mission was accomplished with no problems. Upon reaching the previous end of the line in Allison’s passage, we tied on a fresh reel of knotted line and hunted for more tunnel. We were able to put in about 300 feet of new line into the system. The new line ended at a depth of 12 feet… and we had reached 3rds, so we could not search for the new Cenote that we surely would have found! More on this search later (hopefully). We surveyed the new line on the way out getting depth, azimuth, distance and sidewall data for each station (where the line changes direction) on our slates. Team 1’s new and surveyed line today added 1007 feet of passage to the system map. Another interesting find during the dive was a hole in the floor of one of the passages. It turned out to be the deepest known point in the system so far. At about 150 feet in from the 40-foot deep main passage we reached a depth of 84 feet. Due to air constraints, we were not able to continue to follow it down. The passage was continuing. The current plan is to return on Thursday and investigate it further. Our total run time today was 158 minutes.

Team 2 comprised of Mike, Renee, and Andy entered at Carri’s Loft with 4 tanks prepared to explore the end of the Denial Line placed during the 2002 expedition by Mike and George. Most of the area has halocline and that seems to make the area even more interesting. It is possible to swim above the halocline in most areas. One area is particularly beautiful. It is a good-sized, roundish room where the halocline seems to cut the room in half vertically. Swimming through the room seemed like flying above a very calm lake due to the reflection of the ceiling on the surface of the halocline. Shining our lights across the surface of the halocline in the room formed a white line that encircled the room. Amazing! Unfortunately, the line ran back to the main line. No new line was placed, but there certainly was a valiant attempt (we put in and eventually removed more than 300 feet of line to avoid possible navigation issues in the future). The mission for today was satisfied as we are confident that the Denial Line area has been explored thoroughly
and we were able to survey two jumps that were missing from our map. After about 90 minutes of poking around the Carri’s Loft area, the team began the short 10 minutes of decompression at 15 feet.

After 40 minutes of surface decompression time, we began the trek out of the jungle. Fortunately, we needed only to carry out the used tanks, as the gear stayed in the jungle. Once back at Villa’s De Rosa’s we enjoyed another wonderful lunch prepared by the staff. After lunch, it was on to preparation for the next day’s diving activities.

We appreciate the Maitland Middle School, Dr. Anne Albright and her classes for following along on the updates! Thank you for your support!

Expedition Team:
Andy Henderson
George McCulley
Therese McCulley
Renee Power
Nat Robb
Michael St.Germain
Thecia Taylor


Send questions or comments to the Trilobite.

Questions and Comments To the Trilobite

Nat,
Snowing here again….make it stop!! Seen any big fish to conk on the head, and pocket.. Have fun love..not much time left.
Tam

Tam-
Send us some snow here! It would make the hikes a bit easier, and we could drink it. No fish yet… Home soon.
Nat 🙂

Nat,
It was only a matter of time until you succumb to the smooth-side. Welcome to the brotherhood !! Keep safe, I’m watchin’ y’all from out here in Raleighwood.
Regards,
cueBall #3… Jeff

Jeff,
Not much drag on this team… making good speed in the caves.
Nat 🙂

hey renee…….hope all is going well with the dive…..i am very excited to hear all about it…….hope you are all safe in the event though……….take care of yourself down in the jungle with the icky spiders and all that nasty stuff…….haha…….tracy

Hey Tracy,
No spider sightings as of yet!!
Renee

Greetings!
My students and I are back from spring break! We have a couple of questions for you about your underwater cave exploration and survey. We have enjoyed reading the daily updates and viewing the pictures. Thank you for providing my students an opportunity to communicate with you as you conduct your exploration. We are still in our environment unit. My students have created wonderful models of various biomes. Keep up the good work!
Sincerely,
Dr. Anne Albright
Maitland Middle School

Hi I am a student at Maitland Middle school, my name is Anna. In our 5th period class we read the information that you had on your web site and we have some questions for you.

What is your favorite living thing that you have found in Mexico?
-Anna

Anna,
Thanks for your question! I really love the Isopods. They look like white "Rollie Pollies" as we used to call them! They are very fun to watch as they seem to dance in the water. They have no pigment so it’s hard to see eyes and things. They are still cute though!
Renee

Hi my name is Maxine. I am a student of Dr. Albright in the 7th grade. My question is: what is the most interesting and unusual thing you have found in an underwater cave.

Maxine,
My personal favorite are the blind cave Fish. It is very exciting to come across such a diverse species of cave adapted creatures…we have encountered many different sizes (from the size of your pinky finger to the size of your hand).
Mike

Hi my name is Megan. I am in Dr. Albright’s fifth period science class. I have one question to ask: Why do you want to explore and make a detailed map of the caves?

Megan,
I enjoy the exploration part because it is very exciting to venture where no person has gone before….just like the Star Trek Movies:):) We take the time to survey and map the cave system so we can produce a high quality map that can be used during future exploration/research or by other cave divers.
Mike

Hi my name is Heather. I am also in Dr. Albright’s fifth period class. I wanted to know what are the species of sea life that you have encountered?

Heather,
Unfortunately, we are not seeing any sea life in this cave yet. Perhaps if the cave moves closer to the ocean, we will see some…I hope! The Remipede is the closest thing to sea life as we have seen. See the website for more info on these little guys!
Renee

Hi my name is Frank DiLorenzo. What are the abiotic and biotic factors found in underwater caves.

Frank – We have our scientist working on your question. More soon…

Hi my name is Jarod Wallick. What was the most interesting animal, plant or rock that you saw in the cave.

Jarod,
My favorite Animals so far are remipedes, although the catfish near the intrance are fun to play with durring decompression. As for my favorite formation, between Cenote Muchachos and Cenote Raphael exists the most beautiful rim stone dam I have ever seen. Thanks for the question!
Andy

Jarod,
My favorite cave life is the blind cave fish; however, I also have a favorite speleothem…the rimstone dam. The rimstone dam is literally a ridge or small dam that forms around the edge of a cave pool tending to obstruct the cave stream (of course this formation was formed back when the cave was dry).
Mike

Hi my name is Eric I wanted to know what kind of animals there in the underwater caves.

Eric,
Great question. We have encountered a variety of underwater cave adapted creatures. The blind cave fish, catfish, remipedes, shrimp, amphipods and crayfish. We actually witnessed an amphipod eating a crayfish during a dive yesterday.
Cambrian Team

We are following your expedition on-line and just wanted to let you know that we think you are a great team!!!
Jennifer Ault
Discovery Middle School

“To live creatively is to imagine the possibilities, stay zestful, and grow.”
~William Wonka

Thanks Jennifer for the encouraging quote from Mr. Wonka. Thank you for following along. We hope that this is helpful for you and your classmates in your studies!
Renee

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