March 18

Current meter used for water measurements.

George (with 5 tanks), Nat and Andy.

A group “spit” (cortisol sample).

George foraging for some breakfast goodies.

News Flash…More line added in Sistema Camilo!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2003
Today we started out the day with yet another fabulous breakfast. Today’s chef was Andy Henderson. This meal is key to ensuring that the dive teams have the energy they need to make the long dives (and make it to our very late lunch). Nan, his wife, says she looks forward to having more of these breakfasts when they get home!

The teams remained the same today out of Mud Cenote. From the surface there is another entrance to the left of the main entrance. It appears to be about the same size with more rock. From underwater the area looks like cat eyes and the cavern area has been named The Cat House.

Team 1, George, Nat and Andy entered at Cenote Mud and traveled southwest until we reached the section of the cave that extends northward (see map). When we reached the northern most end of the existing line we determined that no further passage exists in that area. We explored several side passages that appeared promising, but none proved to extend the cave system further to the north. While exiting we had time to explore a lead from yesterday’s dive, which turned out to cut the corner between two existing lines. After surveying the newly laid line we made our way to the shallow water near Cenote Mud to begin our decompression. The team members were happy to have oxygen available for decompression, along with gas switchable computers, which turned our 90 minutes of deco into 24 minutes. It is hoped this new discovery will save valuable time traveling to the northern sections of the cave system for future exploration.

Team 2, Mike and Renee had a new mission. They were to deploy a current meter provided by Nortek-USA. It is the Aquadopp Acoustic Doppler current meter. After about a 300 foot swim, the team decided to deploy the current meter on a rock in the center of the room. Most of the floor in that area is covered by calcite rafting and is considered to be a cave formation and great care was taken to preserve it. The current meter was placed by Mike on the rock facing Mud Cenote. It is designed to measure readings 45 degrees up, to the left and to the right. The data collected will be sent to Doug Chapman, a Cambrian member, who will help us with the analysis. After placing the device, the team was to move forward to a marker placed by the team yesterday to indicate possible passage. The passage walled off after about 150 feet and they turned. After one more attempt at another promising tunnel off to the left, the team came back to Cindy’s Line and headed towards the Low Silt Line where they met up with team 1 on their exit. Team one began to explore a passage about 150 feet to the left off of the Low Silt Line. The passage went down, to the right and into the halocline. The tunnel was of good size and remained in the halocline. After deploying 450 feet of line the team turned the dive on thirds and exited the cave. The appears to be going with multiple possible side passage that will be explored tomorrow, of course!! The team exited the water after their 3 hour dive.

During the mandatory 30 minute surface decompression time the team collected their cortisol samples, continued to hydrate, and shared the experiences from the dive. Before the team exits the water, they must complete an additional 10 minutes of resting decompression time followed by a 30 minute rest on the surface. This additional rest period greatly increases the safety factor since strenuous exercise post dive is a contributing factor to decompression illness.The team went back to Villas De Rosa to enjoy a wonderful lunch and pico de gallo. Duties for tomorrow include tank preparation, web update, data plotting, dive planning and reel loading.

Expedition Team:
Andy Henderson
Nan 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

Hi Guys,
Hope all is still going well. Are you taking UW video or stills? If so, any chance of posting some images – The Cindy’s line section sounds particularly beautiful. You mention Cenote Mud – is it unusual to have silty conditions in the Cenotes or is it just the ‘rotting biology’ near the entrance? How are you attempting to find a passage between the 2 routes? Do you just find promising tunnels and see where they end up? Can you post an image of the map thus far? If it’s any consolation on the weather front – the weekend was VERY wet back home in NC/VA.
Have fun,
Steve Wring

Thanks for the note! We are all having a blast. We have not gotten to the UW video portion of this years mission and no UW stills are planned. Some frame shots will be posted when available. Cenote Mud is crystal clear every morning just before we (or the local dog) set foot into it. You are correct that the rotting biology that has fallen into the water over the years is the issue. We step in and sink waist deep into it every time we dive… UCK. Be glad we have not posted the "scratch and sniff update". The connection between the two is located by just looking around from both ends, as well as looking at the general topography of the area topside for clues.

Hey all,
Looks like fun. I’m hoping that when Renee returns she can give me a few pointers about line deployment. Keep up the good work and the good science.
Bob Giguere

Hi Bob,
We are having tons of fun! There seems to be a little healthy team competition developing! I’d be happy to give you pointers on line deployment, but that type of instruction doesn’t come cheap!
Sea ya soon, Renee

Hi Nat!
Hope you got there ok. I am back from AZ and you will be one of Alex’s godfathers……so stay safe!!
Love, Mom

Hi Mom. We are here! Glad you made it back from AZ safe. We are all being very safe indeed.
Love, Nat

Greetings all !
I’m following your progress from the website. I found myself gasping for air from the description of "Mud Cenote". Y’all be careful, cuz you’re nutz! 🙂

Some say nuts others call it living life to the fullest!! Careful is mission number one on all our dives. I believe it more dangerous traveling on the Mexican highways and byways. We are having a great time and learning lots about this cave.
Regards, Andy

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