March 16

Huge thunder storm makes for cool weather

Base camp at Mud

Cenote Mud

2003 Team after first dive day

Nat, Mike and Renee “play in the Mud”

Dive Operations begin.

Sunday, 16 March 2003
The team awoke this morning bright and early (after working until midnight last night preparing for the first day of diving). Mike treated the team to his famous "cinnamon french toast" prior to leaving for dive operations. The first day of diving is always a long day because the team must load and transport all of the equipment necessary to sustain dive operations. The good news is that other than the tanks, batteries, and dive computers, most of the equipment is left in the jungle. The first day of dive operations finds us at Don Rafael’s property and operating out of two cenotes that are located about 10 minutes (walking distance) from Don Rafael’s house. Today, the dive team will split into two units and will be operating out of cenote "Mud" and cenote "Muchachos"…these two cenotes are approximately 150′ apart.

After the team loaded 25 scuba cylinders and everyone’s individual dive equipment, we headed towards the town of Tulum and the Coba Road. As we were headed down the highway, the clouds grew darker by the minute and by the time we reached our host’s ranch, the bottom fell out! After waiting for the lightning to stop and the rain to subside somewhat, the dive team and the muchachos spent some time clearing the trail, carrying all of the dive equipment to the cenote, and establishing our base of operations for the next couple of days.

Team 1 was comprised of Renee, Nat and Mike. Team 2 was George and Andy. The mission for today called for team 1, operating out of Cenote Mud, to travel down to the end of Cindy’s Line which ends at the intersection of the Low Silt Line in the area known as the Grand Canyon. One goal for the team was to cut back Cindy’s Line so that it would no longer be a "T" intersection with the Low Silt Line.  Location and directional markers were placed at the end of Cindy’s Line. Cindy’s Line is a beautiful and highly decorated section that made accomplishing this goal even more enjoyable! The team also made jumps out of any lines that intersected with Cindy’s Line, and investigate any possible leads for future exploration. The mission for team 2, operating out of Cenote Muchachos, was to find a passage between Cenote Mud and Cenote Muchachos so that the two cenotes would be connected underwater and linked with Sistema Camilo.

Prior to diving, two items would need to be addressed. First, the dive team submitted their cortisal samples (saliva) and filled out the stress indicator questionaire. The dive team is participating in a very important research initiative being conducted by East Carolina University in North Carolina, Dr. David Colvard, and Dr. Thom Skalko. Please reference our "Research Activities" link for more information. Secondly, the guideline into the Cenote Mud would need some maintenance as it had been severed from falling debris and no longer extended to the surface. Prior to Team 1 conducting their mission, Mike suited up, entered the water, and reinstalled the broken line between the surface and the first survey station.

Both teams conducted safe and effective dives. Another attempt will be made to close the gap between Muchachos and Mud. Tomorrow a team plans to now explore side passages off of Cindy’s Line.
Expedition Team:
Andy Henderson
Nan Henderson
George McCulley
Therese McCulley
Renee Power
Nat Robb
Michael St.Germain
Thecia Taylor

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