New Cenote Found by Dry Cavers!

Megan ponders the beauty inside the cave.

Today’s cave team explores possibilities.

Jeremy helps survey the dry cave.

Meg is captivated by the stalactites.

Amy and Amanda testing water quality.

Artie Ahr

Jumping jacks, sit ups, dive bomber push ups, quad stretches, and walking lunges got us warmed up for the day. Several people took turns leading the exercises so there was a lot of variety. After nourishment and loading the vans, we all headed to Cenote Muchachos. The first van loaded up and went to Aktun Chen to continue the dry cave survey. The second van stopped off at Aktun Chen to pick up Bob who was doing an interview with Lorenzo. While we waited for Bob, we played with a spider monkey, a Coati Mundi, and looked at snakes behind glass. After gathering Bob, we drove away to the site. Once there we divided up into four teams.

TEAM FUQUA

Jungle Team:
Today, Mr. Newcombe, Amanda, Annie, and Woody joined Amy in the field for some more water sampling. They collected data from nine cenotes and specifically examined pH, total dissolved solids, specific conductance, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and nitrate levels. We also collected water samples from two new cenotes, Coati Mundi and Kaibab. Cenote Kaibab was just discovered last week so we had to help the dive team cut a trail in to this location. This day was a very fun filled, busy, and delightful day.

Dive Team:
Today John, Brian and Terrence assisted the dive team. Everything went well until they got in the cenote and found that Karl’s main light had a bad battery. He had to take all his gear off and change the battery. After that everything went smooth and they entered the abyss to explore the depths of the cave. Then we trekked to cenote Coati Mundi and, as the survey team followed and did their sampling, we hacked a trail to the newly found cenote Kaibab. I (John) took the point with the compass and the “football” (the camera box for Bob the photographer) and followed a simple heading and lead us to the small cenote. Terrence and Brian had the real hard job of hacking the trail with machetes. Finally we reached the cenote. It was a welcome sight. The other team did their sampling while the three of us ate a well-deserved lunch. Then we packed it up and headed to the other cenotes. After the sampling was complete in Camilo, we took a quick dip. The thrill of the afternoon was jumping off the cenote wall into the pool – that’s about a 12 foot jump, ladies and gentlemen!! Then we packed it up and headed back to the truck. It was a very productive day all in all.

Cave Team:
A NEW CENOTE HAS BEEN DISCOVRED IN THE DRY CAVE! It was an extremely productive day! The main event being that Josh discovered a new cenote, which he named “Hidden Breeze,” because of the breeze that led to its detection. We were all ecstatic! Others present for Josh’s discovery were Grant, Artie, Mrs. Bounds, Josh, Jeremy Wyatt, Meagan, and Meg, the cave team for the day. During the five or six hour exploration, the members of the group surveyed lines that had been set previously in the cave, laid new lines for further exploration, and avoided low flying kamikaze bats. Grant, Artie, Josh, and Meg investigated a new cave, which they named “Bat Cave” because of the large amount of bat droppings present in the cave. While in the cave, various factors enabled us to conclude that the bats are fruit bats. We have a lot more work to do in the cave. Hopefully we can get most of the area surveyed and charted before the conclusion of this expedition. Who knows, maybe we’ll find some more cenotes in the process.

Dive Team
Today Karl and Renee used five cylinders each filled with 36% Nitrox. The plan was to go to the north area of the cave to look for leads around the breakdown in the House of the Gods area. We explored several possibilities before finding one that looked like it was going and headed in the right direction. It was low sidemount passage off to the east. Karl took the lead, running the reel down below the halocline into the passage. At first it was going well, but after about 250 feet, it pinched down too small for further progress. After turning the dive, Karl and Renee surveyed out to the mainline. Survey proved to be a challenge due to the halocline. As we headed back toward Muchachos, the line was pinned where suspect side passage might be and can be investigated tomorrow. Total dive time was approximately 137 minutes, and this included nine minutes of decompression.

After dinner and preparing for tomorrow, we watched some of the video that Bob has collected. Terrence had us all in tears as he narrated the footage. It was a great evening enjoyed by all.

Team Member Profile
Artie Ahr
Artie is a junior at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, majoring in Biology. He first got involved with the Cambrian Foundation through the internship program offered by the Foundation. He was able to earn four college credits during his internship in the fall of 2002. Even though Artie has completed the program, he still serves as needed in many different capacities.

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

Please apologize to the stalactites for my genes, I hope they weren’t marred!!!

Jack Boswell

Har har har thanks a lot Dad, We’re having a blast, but it’s no picnic.

Love you lots,
John

Hello Team Fuqua:

I have enjoyed keeping up with you via the internet site. I hope everyone is well. Weather here is cool but lots of sunshine. Have a safe flight home.
P.S. Miss you Boz!

Love
Melanie

Miss you too, talk to you soon

Hey there! Glad to see that you’re putting Woody to work. We enjoy the narratives and the pictures are great! It looks like the Fuqua kids and their teachers are having a great adventure. Work hard, have fun and take lots of pictures!!

Karen Dunkum

Hey mom, we are having a lot of fun. Thanks for writing.
Woody

Dear Dive Team
We are a fourth grade class at Sunrise Elementary in Deltona, Florida. We would like to know what a blue hole is, and why are you diving it? We are also wondering what GPS stands for. Have you found any undiscovered creatures yet? Will you see any sharks in there? How does it feel to explore the blue hole as a teenager? How were the students selected? Can you explain trimix?

Thank you for your answers,
Mrs. Ahr’s class

Hello Mrs. Ahr,
Hey guys this is Terrence, I just wanted to thank you guys for following along with our efforts here in Mexico! I wanted to take the time to answer the questions that you sent us.

A Blue Hole is a sinkhole that happens to be underwater in the ocean. Because they are usually deep, they look like a round deep blue hole (look at the pictures of the Great Blue Hole on our website). That’s why they have been given the name Blue Hole. We dived the Blue Hole in order to obtain samples of the various rocks at the bottom.

GPS stands for Global Positioning System which is a small electronic device that receives signals from satellites orbiting the earth. It uses the time delay from the different signals from at least three different satellites to triangulate where the receiver is. It can also be used to tell you how to get back to points that you have saved.

No undiscovered creatures yet, however an associate of our took a remipede (kind of an underwater centipede) out of the cave and the scientists will be looking at it to determine whether or not it is a new species

No sharks as far back in the jungle as we are yet. We are about 9 miles from the coast. When the cave gets closer to the sea you may occasionally see a shark in a cave. The island just north of Cozumel called Isla Mujeres was made famous by a scientist named Eugenie Clark who found sleeping sharks in the caves there.

Hey this is Josh Owen. I’m a college freshman at Lynchburg College in Virginia. We aren’t really exploring blue holes but we are working the same way the divers do in our dry cave. It’s really neat to see and survey a cave that not many people have been in. Just today I found a small room that has an opening to the outside, it was great because I had the privilege of naming this room, Hidden Breeze. Keep up with the updates and pictures, send any more questions if you have them.

Hi, this is Karl, one of the team cave divers. Let’s see if I can cover trimix briefly. The air we’re breathing now is about 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen. Air and other mixes of oxygen and nitrogen are useable breathing gases for relatively shallow diving. As we start to go below about 165 feet, however, we start to be concerned with two problems caused by the increasing pressure. First, oxygen becomes toxic if we have too much of a percentage in our breathing gas. Second, both oxygen and nitrogen become intoxicating, like drinking alcohol. This is called narcosis. Narcosis can be dangerous because it affects your thinking and can cause you to make mistakes. To overcome these problems, we dilute the breathing gas with helium. This creates trimix – “tri” means “three” – helium, oxygen and nitrogen. Helium is neither toxic nor intoxicating, so it overcomes the oxygen toxicity and narcosis. Of course, using trimix adds some complexity because we have to use different blends of breathing gases to decompress as we ascend. This is the process that removes dissolved gases from our tissues to prevent decompression sickness or “the bends.” But, the added complexity is worth it to make deep dives possible. Note that we are using nitrox not trimix during the expedition.

CONGRATULATIONS JOSH!!!!
Sure wish I could have been there to see you receive your scholarship. I can’t believe this is your third or fourth expedition with the Cambrian group. Tell Amy for me that I wish she could notify some of the schools that they have visited in the past year so they could follow along with your trip. If she has some of the addresses I would be more than happy to notify them for her. Also, did she get my message that Allie rolled over three times right in a row and ended up under the coffee table? Have a great time, Josh, and tell Woody and John I said Hi!!! Be safe and have fun.

Linda Wooddell
P.S. Tell Renee and Amy thanks for their notes.

Hi Mom…thanks for your note. All of the schools we have visited in the last two years know about the expedition, and we have heard from several of them. Bob shared some of his video footage with us tonight from the cave survey today, and it was so neat! I can’t wait for you to be down here next year, too.  Love to you and Allie and Oliver (and the cats)..
Amy

Renee/Grant,
Great updates! I haven’t been getting any pictures though – are you still going to be able to send them or is there going to be a wait?

Cheers,
Stephan Whelan

Hmmmm…We check the updates after we post them and the pictures are there. Sorry that you are having trouble with them. Thanks for following along on the updates!

Renee

Team Renee/Grant/Karl
Sorry to hear that you were unable to find any passages to push in lower Raphael. No connection found in Mud and no connection found in Raphael yet the water is coming into Mud and going out of Raphael. This system doesn’t give up its secrets easily! As discussed prior to your departure for Akumal, one of the mapping missions was to get the sidewall data for lower (deep) Raphael. I am very happy to see that you guys were able to get that dive in. You can go ahead and email the lower Raphael sidewall/survey data whenever you get a chance. By the way, have not received the re-surveyed K-Line data previously mentioned, hopefully it did not get lost in cyberspace.
I certainly miss not being there with you guys. Hopefully next spring ………. Be safe.
George

Hi George! The data is safe here. Terrence will be sending that to you. We have not yet gotten the deep section sidewall. Did get some up north today though. We will get that all to you. You’re missing a great expedition. The students are a blast and very into what they are learning. They definitely go to bed tired!
Renee


Hey!
It looks like all of you are having a great time down there in Mexico. I wish I could be there. I can’t wait to hear all the stories from the week; especially what Terrence has done! I’ll be reading what you guys are doing everyday. I’m jealous that I can’t be there. Have fun and be safe.

Becky
P.S. Miss you Josh!

Hey Beck, Thanks for the email. Everyone wishes you were here, too. Its really beautiful down here. Today I found a new room that opens to the outside in the cave we are exploring therefore I got to name it, Hidden Breeze. Have fun in class and I miss you too.

Good morning!
We just wanted to tell Amanda and her friends from Fuqua School, “Hello.” I know everyone is having a great time! Be safe and enjoy this opportunity of a lifetime.

Love,
Mom, Dad & Stockton

Hey! How are ya’ll. I’m having fun and learning lots of new things. I miss you all and I will see you Sunday morning in Raleigh. I will probably call you on Thursday or Friday. Love ya’ll. Love, Amanda.

Bob G.
I always thought you were a little touched but now its confirmed!! The pictures are great. I can’t wait to see your video.

Andy R.

Hey Andy. It’s going to be tough filming a trade show next week after this. Maybe we can do some landscaping here? Anything in the arid jungle scheme? Tell Melvin I’ll bring home a tarantula for him. Thanks for checking in. See you next week. Bob

Hi to my niece, Amy G. Finally logged on and the pictures are great. It sounds like a fantastic experience for the students. I’d like it except for the diving part. You know me I never was an underwater dog like your Mom. How many of past year’s high school students have gone on to college and continued with this field of study? Well, you are missing your baby and I am missing my sister! Have a great trip.

Aunt Pat

HI Aunt Pat…thanks for your note! It is wonderful here, and I’m sure you would love every minute of it! Eight of the nine kids on the trip are still in high school; the other one, however, is a freshman in college and is wanting to study ecology/environmental science. This trip was four years in the making, and so many of them have been planning it since they were in eighth or ninth grade. Very fun…Miss you!

Amy

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