Dive Plan

Project Director:
Michael St. Germain, Cambrian Foundation Dive Safety Officer

2109 Howson Rd.
Raleigh, N.C. 27603
(919) 552-8388

Dates for 2003′ Expedition: March 15 – March 29

Project Members/Dive Team:
Michael St. Germain (Project Director)
George McCulley
Andy Henderson
Renee Power
Nat Robb
Thecia Taylor (Non-Diver)
Theresa McCulley (Non-Diver)
Nan Henderson (Non-Diver)

All members of the Sistema Camilo Dive Team have satisfied the following training requirements:
Cambrian Foundation Scientific Divers
Full Cave
Sidemount Cave

*Every Member of the Sistema Camilo Exploration Team is a practicing Dive Instructor

As Cambrian Foundation Scientific Divers, the following requirements are current for each Member (all records are maintained and available through the Cambrian Foundation Dive Safety Office):
CPR Trained
First Aid Trained
O2 Trained
Each Member has Personal and DAN insurance
Each Member has a current Medical History form and Scientific Divers Physical (as required by the CF and NOAA)

Sistema Camilo 2003′ Expedition Objectives and Dive Plan:
March 15-29, 2003, members of the Cambrian Foundation will be meeting in the city of Akumal, Mexico for the Sistema Camilo Cave Diving Expedition (this will be the 4th year of continuing exploration into this system). The emphasis of the expedition will be in the following areas:

Cave Exploration & Survey: Our goal is to completely explore and provide a detailed map of the Sistema Camilo Cave system.

Water Sampling & Hydrology: The population of Yucatan is heavily drawing water resources from the aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, without understanding how this affects the local hydrology. In addition pollution is having a huge impact on the aquifer. One of the aims of this project is to test the water quality of the area and sample bacteria that has been observed in the system.

Biology: With increasing contamination of the local aquifer it is important to begin cataloguing the present species found in the caves. It is also hoped that the results will provide further information on the evolution of cave-adapted and rare species encountered in the Mexico cave systems.

Scientific Studies: The Cambrian Foundation Dive team will be involved with various scientific exercises during the expedition. One of the exercises will involve the Divers Alert Network and their Project Dive Exploration study.

Educational Outreach: Members of the Cambrian Foundation Dive team will be meeting with students (both at home and in Mexico) as part of our education outreach program. Students will get the opportunity to learn about all of the different and interesting aspects of the Sistema Camilo project (culture, science, exploration).

Site Description:
We have surveyed more than 30,000′ of passage in a very dynamic system. The Sistema Camilo Cenote entrance is a slightly offset sinkhole (Karst Window) with marginal flow. The entire cave yet encountered is submerged below the local water table.

Depths ranging from 30 – 80 ‘ (with a lot of the passage being in the 70-75′ range which is relatively deep for Mexico).
A density interface Halocline exists in the 70 to 80 foot range. Percolation is very low for an unexplored system except when exploring beneath the halocline. Outside of the main Cenote (Camilo), we have encountered more than 5 additional sinks large enough to support dive operations (and a few smaller ones that will not support dive operations). The area between Calavera and Muchachos is the shallowest part of the system existing in the 35’ range. Most of the cave is very dark (much like the hill 400 run at Ginnie Springs….the run between Calavera and Muchachos is much lighter and more typical of the Mexico systems…..highly decorated. From the Sistema Camilo sink, going left on the map is upstream and headed right is downstream (siphon). There are definite areas where the flow appears to be stronger than others and areas where the water color appears to have that very clear aqua blue color that you will often see in Telford (Florida). We appear to have a vast area of cave yet to be explored and our plans include (but are not limited to):
Water Sampling
Scientific studies (e.g. the DAN PDE program)
Biology Studies
Hydrology and Geology

Gas Supply Analysis
Breathing Gases: Air Team
EANx Team
O2 Team

Equipment Configurations:
Sidemount cave diving equipment

Special tools needed:
Survey line, suitable survey reels, survey slates, compasses, line arrows / markers. Video equipment (digital underwater) and digital surface camera, GPS, Laptop computer, Water Sampling equipment

Chamber Availability:
Chambers are available in 3 locations: Cancun (sixty minutes by car), Playa Del Carmen (forty minutes by car), San Miguel, and Cozumel (two hours by car and boat).

Chamber Operators:
Staff of facilities.

Emergency Oxygen:
On site during all operations.

Medical Evacuation Procedures:
Tailored to any situation that may arise during the expedition (e.g. making a hammock to evacuate a single injury, “Fireman’s Carry” for an injured party). Once we reach the location of our transportation (on the road), injured personnel will be taken to the appropriate facility for care.

Training and/or Work-up Dives:
Standard currency requirement for participant’s level of training and Cambrian Foundation Scientific Divers. As many Dive team members as possible to meet monthly or bi-monthly in North Central Florida for training and tune-up dives.

Specific Project Positions:
Photographer, topside
Videographer, topside
Photographer, underwater
Videographer, underwater
Bottom Diver(s)

Detailed Dive Procedures:
All Bottom / Survey / Exploration divers will be capable of staging all required decompression gases and extras in the open water area and cavern area of the site. All personnel will be on site until the last divers have exited the water in order to be available to assist others if needed. All Bottom / Survey / Exploration divers will utilize the existing rules of safe cave diving outlined as follows T,G,A,D,L,

Training all divers will be trained to at least the Full Cave Diver level.
Guideline all teams will run a single continuous guideline at all times while in the overhead environment.
Air Rule divers will begin the exit from the cave when the have reached the point of having 2/3’s of there total non-decompression gas remaining after matching gas with all team members. This is a bare minimum figure as divers are encouraged to turn earlier.
Depth no diver will dive deeper than his or her maximum rated depth while in the cave.
Lights all divers will carry a minimum of three mechanical lights with them on all dives in the overhead environment.

**All Dive team members will be required to make a familiarization dive prior to participating in exploration activities (to be conducted onsite in the Akumal system).

**All Dive team members will be utilizing Gas Switchable computers with at least (another computer and/or a set of tables/watch as a backup)

**All Decompression liability will be conducted while breathing O2 (a five minute air break is to be conducted after every 20 minutes on O2)

**All O2 bottles will be cleaned and will have O2 compatible O-rings and valves (each member will be responsible for bringing their respective valve).

**All O2 bottles will be clearly marked with green O2 labels and will have a device that must be removed in order to access the 2nd stage regulator (e.g. O2 bag or a regulator plug). Each member will be responsible for bringing their respective O2 bag or regulator plug.

**All O2 bottles will be re-filled for use/staging after they reach 750 PSI or less

**All dive team members are to conduct at least 10 minutes of resting (in water decompression) after the dive, prior to getting out of the water and participating in strenuous activities (if the Cenote location is conducive to this activity).

**All dive team members are to conduct at least 30 minutes of resting (out of water decompression) after the dive and prior to participating in strenuous activities….the focus will be rest and hydration!

**The Dive Safety Officer will monitor the daily diving activities and will use his discretion regarding future diving activities (if the DSO feels that a non-diving day or less strenuous dive is warranted, the practice will be instituted).

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