March 25

Inside the Grand Canyon Room

Ceiling decorations.

Calcite Rafting.

Flowstone formation.

Divers Alert Network Logo.

Laying more line.

Tuesday, 25 March 2003
Andy Henderson and Nat Robb prepared our breakfast this morning of french toast, bacon and buttered toast. Therese sliced a wonderful fresh tomato (after peeling it, George likes it better that way, gasping “man, now I remember why I never peel these things”. After breakfast the team loaded up the truck and prepared for an early departure of 7:30 am. Today is a surface filming day, so Mike packed up his video camera and off we went!

Team 1, George, Nat and Andy headed downstream for some long-range exploration today. We were interested in pushing a line beyond Cenote Coati-Mundi that was laid last year by George, Renee and Andy. This area has been the source of many dreams in the past year, as it appeared to continue eastward, but the dive had to be discontinued due to air supply. Today the team began their dive with five tanks of air each, to allow plenty of time to explore beyond the existing line. When we reached the end of last years line we had consumed one half of the gas allowed for inbound travel and exploration. As we attached George’s reel to the existing line we soon realized that our dreams were about to become reality. We continued to explore, and burn through most of the line we had brought along, but did eventually come to what seemed to be the end of passable cave.

The new line was surveyed upon exit, totaling 831 feet, and we began the very long swim back to Cenote Camilo. Today’s exploration pushed the eastern boundary of our system to a new limit, moving us closer to a major road, and a shorter walk. Now all we need is a Cenote at the end of the line. The recent rains made our trip home challenging, as we found ourselves swimming against the strongest current found in the system to date. We completed our round trip of just over two miles in three hours and forty minutes. As we surveyed the new line we saw several other passages that look to be promising leads for another dive. Did we choose wisely? Should we return later this week or wait till next year? I suppose we will have something to dream about for another year.

Team 2, Mike and Renee, with 4 tanks each ventured back upstream from Carri’s Loft (the team was greeted by a large and very friendly blind cave fish as they left the cavern area). They went through the Lemley Room, the Halocline Room and up into the Loft where they hoped to find more elusive passage in that area. Prior to reaching the Loft, they investigated some other bedding planes. One area explored was off of the Halocline Room. It was up near the ceiling and only about 3 feet high. The team wandered back for about 200 feet and it walled off. The entire area was quite silty and looked like milk chocolate drizzled with dark chocolate icing. After exploring a few other areas there, they continued on up to the Loft. The Loft is a low, narrow, and winding bedding plane with vertical fissure/breakdown areas. Interestingly, once entering the Loft, the water seemed to be flowing against the direction of travel. At one point, the flow changed directions and began to siphon. It’s easy to tell water flow with sediment suspended in the water column. As the team swam further into the cave, they were being “followed” by the silt. Upon exiting, the silt flowed toward the entrance of the Loft. Just prior to dropping down out of the Loft, Mike swam up through a fissure/breakdown area to a depth of 40 feet where he found himself navigating through a very tight restriction. He could see up another 20 feet (straight up) and the passage seemed to go off to the left. The water there was green and tanic possibly indicated another cenote! A pressure check by Mike (as he was negotiating the tight restriction) indicated that it was time to retreat rather than push forward. The team turned on thirds and returned to the mainline to acquire the stage bottles, leaving the interesting area for yet another day of diving. After a 160 minute dive, the team found themselves back at Carri’s Loft, the team had a mere 8 minutes of deco on oxygen plus an air 5 minute safety stop before exiting the cave.

Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) is a sponsor of the 2003 Akumal expedition. The Cambrian Foundation is grateful for their support. It is a requirement that all divers with the Cambrian Foundation carry DAN insurance. We look forward to previewing the data collected by the DAN Project Dive Exploration (PDE) study (see research activities page). We are proud to be part of a worldwide effort to validate the currently accepted decompression algorithms used by divers today.

Mike and the team completed a successful day of surface video. Tomorrow the team plans for another underwater video adventure!

Expedition Team:
Andy 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

Greetings Team !
How do y’all prepare for the unknown depth of the newly discovered "hole in the floor" ? I would guess that sonar would be useless… how about lowering a depth gauge on a reel ? Or do you just keep going down, down and down with more and more tanks ?
P.S. Took Lo’s Harley out for a real spin on Sunday. I need lots more practice so not to embarrass my Gypsy Rider friends.
Jeffrey D. Watson

Jeff! We sort of use the lead weight theory… but with a diver. Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.

Yes, I have tried spitting into the vials. It takes talent. You have to spit straight down into the vial (nearly against your lips). Anything else is messy. I forgot that there was a skill to that. Wish I had a camera for your initial trials. Just kidding. I know my first attempt went down my hand vs. into the vial. I am sure the fly on the wall could tell some stories of the pursuant discussion about getting the spit into the vial.

How’s the ear Mike? Hope all goes well. You are on the downside of the adventure.
Will email soon.

Thom – We are all doing well, and keeping it mostly below our elbows! – Trilobite

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