March 28

Our film crew at work.

All the gear that goes in, must come out…

The last parting shot . . .

This is a tribute to expeditions past.

Mike packing it all away.

Thanks to Therese for her grammar insights!

All good things must come to an end…

Friday, 28 March 2003
There was a bit of sadness in the air as the team prepared to go to the jungle for the last time this expedition. Another underwater video day was scheduled so again the team had to load the necessary equipment.

The entire team headed off to the jungle at 7:30 am. Renee, Mike and Andy stopped to say goodbye to Don Raphael, the owner of the property that holds the cenotes. Don Raphael was very kind and generous when he said, “Mi casa es su casa”, which means, “My house is your house”. He told us that we were welcome any time at his home. We were honored beyond words as in the latin tradition, this is a high compliment. Ernesto, one of the muchachos, speaks very good English and was able to communicate some important information for next year’s expedition. Cenote Coati Mundi is one of the cenotes the team wishes to use as base camp next year. We learned that Don Raphael does not own that property, but would contact the owner for us and get permission! We plan on communicating with him during the next year via email. It was sad to say goodbye to Don Raphael as a good rapport has been developed. We consider him to be a friend as he genuinely does us.

Once arriving at the trail, we began the usual unloading of gear but this time it would be different…it was the last ‘”dance”. We hauled it all out there, set up the equipment and conducted an hour-long dive shooting underwater video. At the end of the dive we had the arduous task of removing the evidence of humans from the jungle. Once completed we took a few last photos, had a beverage and headed to the little store for ice cream!!! Since this was the last day, we had to remove stage rigging from all the tanks and begin the packing after another fabulous lunch prepared by Villas De Rosas.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, scientists, friends, family and other supporters who all helped make this project a success. A huge thank you goes to Terrence Tysall who helped get this project going originally!! Thank you Therese McCulley, our resident teacher, who proofreads our daily updates. Thank you to all of the Villas De Rosa staff who went out of their way to help us during our stay. Thank you to everyone who followed our updates and to those who emailed us during the project. Thank you to Don Raphael for allowing us access to his property…again! Thank you to the Cambrian Foundation officers, especially Terrence, Amy and Artie who promoted this project diligently. Thank you to Nan, Therese and Thecia, our non-divers, who put up with our antics and washed our dishes every morning! Thanks to Nat Robb who did a fine job making sure the expedition updates got to you. And a gigantic thanks to Mike St. Germain who did a tremendous job being a project director for the 2003 Akumal expedition and his motley crew!

See you in 2004!

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

hello this is Anna again (from Dr. Albright’s class),
I have another question for you. What made you want to do what you do ?

We enjoy what were doing for the science and exploration. It is very exciting to explore a cave system where no human has ever been before (to witness formations and creatures that have never been witnessed by the human eye) !

Hi Guys,
Just catching-up on the updates after a few days vacation (yard work). The UW photos are great. Are you going to ‘release’ a video of the expedition or maybe a guided tour through the caves. It would be wonderful to experience (in part) your dives, especially as we wouldn’t have to carry scuba equipment! Thanks,
Steve Wring

Yep! We will definitely be producing a video…which I will be glad to provide you. I have a copy of last years if your interested. Lets go caving…shoot Andy and I an email when we get back.

Hi, Michael, Thecia, Renee, Therese, George, Andy and Nat,
I hope everyone had a wonderful time in Mexico! I missed being with you all, although up until today I have tired very hard not to think about it, it would just make me miss you more. Hopefully I will be able to be there next year. I also missed the monkeys, triple chocolate popsicles (by the way, can someone smuggle me in about a half a dozen) the beautiful deep blue sky and aqua water – see all of you ranked higher than the monkeys. By the way, Renee I LOVE the picture of you with the baby monkey in the educational updates I am sooooo jealous! What other great animals did you get to pet this year? Can not wait to see all the pictures you guys took. Thecia I missed our long talks on the porch, expeditions into the villages, eating at road side food stands, and especially the trip to the “armed guarded” jewelry showroom! Hey, Andy I guess you are surprised that I really did not come the second week (it took a war to stop me)! Nat, I hope to see you soon in Raleigh got to check out the no hair look, by the way I went by the storage area yesterday and thought about you, mainly that I was glad I was open the Seas unit door and not yours – the last time I was there (over a year ago it was scary). George, I know you missed me not picking up you drinking glass and washing it, I also missed your wonderful smile – the ear to ear kind. Michael, well I just missed you all the way around and can not wait to see you tomorrow (I wish it was today!!!!!!!) – see I am in a better mood than when you left! Have a safe trip home tomorrow everyone.

Dear Carrie,
You really know how to make a person (s) shed a little tear. I have the chocolate ice cream all tucked away, Mike is in charge of that. Every year is different, but I wouldn’t trade anything for last year. It’s strange how a bad thing can be tempered by a good thing. That would be you.

I hope to see you later this year. Talk for sure. Thecia

I love you very much and can’t wait to see you and the kids!

Hi Renee,
Thanks for answering all my questions. That is very interesting about reducing your decompression time and important. I would be with you and very cold from hanging a long time. What is the temperature of the water? I am interested in the configuration and type of equipment that you have, BC/wings, type of regulators, dive computers (if this has been covered in a previous e-mail that would be fine). The last day of diving and packing is always bitter sweet so I will wish you a good and safe trip. I have enjoyed following along and loved the pictures and descriptions.

The water temp is 77 degrees. It’s a bit warmer in the salt water under the halocline. My entire sidemount rig is by Diverite. You can access their site through the link on our updates. Most of my regs are ScubaPro although I do use Poseidon on occasion. My computers are Uwatek Aladin Pro and the VR3 by OMS. We all use various regs and such due to preference. I’m glad you have enjoyed the pictures and updates. It makes the work even more worthwhile!! Check the calendar for upcoming projects and see if there is anything you’d like to participate in! We are sad to go but the jungle will be here in 2004! Look forward to hearing from you on future project updates.

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