Begin Attack: Northern Section of Camilo

PT in the morning prepares our bodies for the day

Josh makes a jump from the main line.

Today’s cave team.

Amanda is amazed by the beautiful formations.

Boz…first time over the edge!

Primate hugs

Our day began at 0630 with about 45 minutes of PT. Artie led the group in some light exercises followed by a refreshing swim in the ocean. Once everyone was sufficiently stretched and warmed up, we ate breakfast, gathered our required items for the day and headed off to our destinations to accomplish our missions.

Dive Team
Today, Karl and Grant pushed to the northern-most reaches of Sistema Camilo. Using five cylinders of EAN36 each, our goal was to extend the Expressway Line we laid in 2000 as far as we could take it. Based on the survey and map data, nothing had been done with this lead since we originally laid the line. We recalled it to be a going lead that we hoped would go further. We reached the end after an approximately 60 minute swim from Muchachos. Near the end, the line dips abruptly to almost 80 feet below the halocline, and then continues through crunchy sidemount passage. Grant tied on and took the lead as far as it would go, which, unfortunately, wasn’t far at all. After about 50 feet the lead pinched down, so we reeled in and headed back. It wasn’t a wasted trip, though, because we explored a couple promising leads before returning to big cave above the halocline. One went no where, but the other deserves a return visit. In bigger passage above the halocline, we found another lead that looked like it’s going, which Karl and Renee may revisit tomorrow when they return to the area to check other leads.

Jungle Team: John, Brian, and (later) Jeremy
Today we found ourselves hiking, hiking some more, and,then for a change, hiking at double pace. So as you can see, our legs got quite a workout today. Seriously though, we did do some other things today besides hiking. We crammed into the van with the dive crew this morning and traveled to Cenote Muchacho. Upon our arrival, our unit deployed and sampled the pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, total dissolved solids, and specific conductivity of Cenote Muchacho, and thus began our long day of testing the cenotes. It was quite simple to travel across the talus mound that separated Muchacho from Mud; but unfortunately, all the others weren’t that close to each other. After Jeremy joined the team, we took a short walk to Raphael, and after the subsequent testing we embarked on the long journey to Coati Mundi. The hike was slow as the continually stopped to flag trees, dodge limbs, and avoid solution tubes. By the way, this was all while walking over sharp, jagged rocks. Our travels were not in vain, because they brought us to Coati Mundi, and we had yet to see this cenote. After an equally long journey, we came to four other cenotes. We did our job well and gathered all the needed data while only stopping for a short time to eat. Approximately half-way back Terrence deemed it necessary to pick up the pace, so we began to run through the thick, rocky, solution tube-covered jungle. The pace was somewhat slowed by Boz’s continuous tripping, hitting his head, or otherwise clumsy actions. But just prior to our collapse from exhaustion (or Boz’s killing himself on the rocks), we reached the van and dive crew, and then returned home. Hopefully our contributions will have aided the Foundation, and our energy use will not have been in vain (we are sure the data will be helpful).

Dive Team: Meg, Megan, and Jeremy
The dive team’s duties today began with Meg analyzing the divers’ tanks. The entire team loaded all the equipment into the van and proceeded to Cenote Muchacho. For the travel to and from the site we were accompanied by the jungle crew which meant that van space was a bit crowded. At the site we unloaded all the equipment they were going to be using on there dive today and placed it at the cenote. Artie taught us some wonderful things to remember when preparing before a dive. He taught us to remember ODIGTML (a pneumonic device for Oxygen, Decompression, Inert Gases, Gas Management, Thermal, Mission, and Logistic) so we can recall all that need to be checked and reviewed prior to a dive. We helped the divers into the water, and they embarked on their journey through the caves. While they were down, we tried to keep ourselves entertained by drawing (Mrs. Bounds), searching for snakes (Meg and Artie), tanning (Megan), and Jeremy went with the jungle team to test cenotes. When the divers surfaced, we helped them out of the water and returned the gear to the van, where we waited for the jungle team to return from their journey.

Cave Team: Annie, Woody, Amanda
When they said that we were going to survey and explore a dry cave, none of us thought that we would be up to our chests in water trying to get into it. We all got soaking wet, but it was worth it. The cave was unbelievable. It was a separate world down there, a world full of mysterious creatures and surprises around every turn. We walked through part of the cave that yesterday’s team surveyed and we surveyed a piece of our own. Bob came with us and we put his camera in a plastic tub and floated it through the wet parts of the cave. We saw many beautiful cave formations, including the one that yesterday’s team named “Helm’s Deep”. We found some cave creatures including cave spiders, isopods, a tarantula, crickets, and several bats. We all bumped our heads at least once on stalactites. This experience was something that we will never forget, and the surveying work that we are doing with the cave is promising that this cave will never be forgotten either. Josh did a great job leading us. It was fun watching Amy squeal at the bats and Renee squeal at the spiders!

As we were leaving Aktun Chen, we stopped in the office to see the owner Lorenzo. Bob set up an interview with him and then looked around to see what would be covered in his video shoot tomorrow. Meanwhile Renee bonded with a little Spider Monkey.

Once returning back to Villas DeRosa we had a little free time. Some went snorkeling, some went rappelling off of the third floor of Villas DeRosa and some took naps. Just before dinner was served, the Fuqua Team presented Project Director, Renee Power with an expedition t-shirt designed by the students. Renee said she would wear it proudly even though there is a drawing of a large Tarantula on the front of it!

Team Members

  • Artie Ahr
  • Amy Giannotti
  • Bob Giguere
  • Grant Graves
  • Renee Power
  • Karl Shreeves
  • Thecia Taylor
  • Terrence Tysall

Fuqua Team
  • Meg Barkley
  • John Boswell
  • Woody Dunkum
  • Meagan Jones
  • Brian Mackintosh
  • Amanda Massie
  • Josh Owen
  • Annie Rudy
  • Jeremy Wyatt
  • Dora Bounds – teacher
  • Shane Newcombe – teacher



Send questions or comments to the trilobite.
Questions and Comments to the Trilobite

Hi Meg-
Bob and I were thrilled to hear your fatigued/elated voice yesterday. Please tell Amy hello and pass along our best wishes to all for a fabulous and productive week. Sarah and Genevieve send their love to you along with ours—
Mom & Bob

Hey! It’s Great to hear from you guys! Things have been awesome! So far I haven’t been bitten by any monkeys or spider or any other hazardous animal. I have a lot to tell you, including about how Tesha (the nurse) dug the coral that was embedded in my feet. It was great… haha But I will call soon! I love you all! Adios!

Glad to see everyone arrived as planned, that’s great! The research team looks like a FSU crew (orange). Good thing Artie snuck his surfboard into Amy’s garmet bag(nice waves in the team pic). Oh yeah, we received a call from the Florida Highway Patrol, something about public indecency along the turnpike. We told them that the pair in the car were fleeing to Mexico, and the police said they would be waiting for their return. Sounds exciting already. Have fun!

The Ahr’s

Hey Guys,
The waves are mediocre here, about two to three feet- but the snorkeling is incredible. Amy found a freshwater outlet in the ocean. Tell everyone I said hi.

Artie

We haven’t received an answer to our e-mail yet, so will just continue asking until you do!!! My class hasn’t been able to log on to your web site yet, but there’s always tomorrow!! How big and how deep is the aquifer? Is the water colder the deeper you get? Is it polluted? Is it crystal clear (we hope)? How far away from the ocean is it? Does it have any brackish water? Are there any birds/plants that feed/depend on the aquifer? Is the water pressure the same in the aquifer as other bodies of water? What feeds the aquifer? Where does it begin and where does it end? Is it dark down there? Oh, and one last question. Dad wants to know if there is a Nascar race there. 🙂

Talk to you soon……keep sending the pictures!!!

Chelsea

Thanks for writing. I’ll start with the easy ones…tell Dad there are no races in the caves! Now the tougher ones. There are many things we know about the aquifer. It’s crystal clear and in good shape here. There is brackish water or haloclines around 70 feet down in some areas. We actually found a spring right off the beach in the middle of the reef outside our hotel. It is spewing fresh water, which appears as a halocline (fuzzy water). We don’t know where it goes or how long it is yet…that’s why we’re still here exploring. We went into a wet/dry cave today and had a great time exploring an area that no one has ever seen before…except the bats and spider we found. Also, took pictures of a Coata Mundi…do you know what that is? Good job for your science class. Hope the school logs in soon. Miss you and will have lots of pictures and stories when I return.

Thanks for tuning in…
Uncle Bob

Dear Brian,
Saw the photos of you and Bos on the website. Awesome!!!!!
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures so we can hear all about it when you return home. Take care and don’t drink the water or eat the ice cubes! Tell Bos Hi and that his truck is doing fine.

Love,
Mom
P.S. Many, many thanks to the Cambrian Foundation Team. It is because of such dedicated folks as yourselves that our children are afforded this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Hey family,
Yes, I took some photos of Boz and me doing stuff, we are having a lot of fun. Today we went hiking through the jungle, taking some water samples, and then a nice 3 or so minute run at the end. It was a bit tiring but a lot of fun. Caving was good too, I believe there are some pictures of that on the site from yesterday. But, when it was all done we went repelling today off of the balcony on the 3rd floor. See you in a couple days.
Love,
Brian

I LOVE seeing the pictures of the students (you guys have grown) helping the divers and trekking through the jungle. Sounds like your Mexico experience is a beautiful one. Why can’t I be your Spanish teacher NOW?? Dang. Well, have a great time together. Amy, we miss you. But, I got 3 calls from Mom today while I was at work describing how Allie is rolling over from her tummy to back…..3 times in a row….and then laughing at herself. Wish I were there with you guys. Diviertanse!
Jill (Srta. Wooddell) Aller

Hola mi hermana!! Muchas gracias pour le note! We are having a wonderful time down here…the weather is here..wish you were beautiful! Oops..I mean, wish you were here, the weather is beautiful! Seriously, you’d love it, and we all need to come down here sometime soon and give Allie a chance to wear her wetsuit in such a beautiful place. I have seen two sea turtles while snorkeling, several bats in the cave today, some incredible cave formations, and lots of jungle life…AND…the mosquitoes must be on vacation because they are not feasting on me! 
Love and miss you.
Amy

Hi Jill!
Renee

Meagan, I hope you’re having a great time and actually working!

Love,
Christy Burns (Meagan’s very jealous cousin)

Christy, Well, I am having a great time and working hard. It’s definitely a worth-while experience. Sorry that I haven’t called, but I haven’t had a chance and my cell doesn’t work here. Thanks for the email. I’ll call you and get you up to date when I get home. Love yah!
-Meagan

OK…let me get this straight. You go to the Yucatan for spring break, Mom and Genevieve go to Myrtle Beach, and on my spring break I go to…Detroit?? What’s wrong with this picture? I love reading the daily reports and seeing the pictures. It sounds as though the Fuqua Team is being kept busy and learning lots. I was particularly impressed by calisthenics at 6:30 am. Think all of you will maintain that routine when you get back to Virginia?! Keep up the hard work, absorb all you can, have fun, and watch out for those monkeys (you know how Mom feels about them). And say hi to Amy for me!

Love,

Bob

Hi Bob! I’m sorry that you’re having to work! We have all been working like crazy here too! The food is AMAZING, the workers at the condo make breakfast and dinner for us! So far, I haven’t been sick, hopefully this will continue. I will call soon and I hope that you aren’t too lonely! I love you! Hasta Luego!

Hi Renee. Well I see you all have your hands full now that the kids are there! Hope you’re all enjoying yourselves. Oh, and of course I like the pics, but why so few? You should post more!
– Keith

Hi Keith. Our hands are full but it’s well worth it. They seem to be having a great time, learning a lot, and making memories that will last a lifetime. We are having a blast with them, too. We are only able to post six pics with the program we have set up. Thanks for asking for more of them!

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