Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming…

A section of cave near Cenote Kaibab.

Renee checks out a potential lead.

The eastern downstream area of the system.

Sampling practice for the science team.

A big thanks to the NSS-CDS for their support.

Project Director Renee Power.

We began our day waiting for cylinders to be topped up to complete our nitrox fills from the previous evening. Nitrox — enriched air nitrox to be more specific — is a tool we use to allow for increased available no stop dive time. This can provide the team with two to three times the available dive time compared to diving air. Enriched air nitrox is a mixture of more oxygen than normally found in air. Today the dive team used EAN 36. That is, 36 percent oxygen and 64 percent nitrogen.

Sistema Camilo is a relatively shallow system. The length of the dives we have been completing would require long periods of decompression if we were diving with air, hence the value of nitrox for our exploration.

Karl is still sick so he was not diving today. Having dived yesterday through the ups and downs of the Kilimanjaro line and Cenote Kaibab, Grant decided to give his over stressed sinuses the day off. He is feeling better, but sometimes it takes time to get rid of all the after effects of a cold.

While we were waiting for the cylinders to fill, we were joined by some old friends who just happen to be staying at Villas DeRosa as well. John Chatterton, Jeff Bozanic, Evan Covacs, DJ Roller, Connie LaRoe, and Brent Booth all chatted with the team. It was good to see old friends and share stories.

After analyzing five cylinders each, Terrence and Renee logged their cylinders and loaded them into the van. After all the gear was loaded up, Renee ran through the predive checklist.

Grant drove the team to Cenote de Muchachos. The team setup and was away with five cylinders each to explore leads around Cenote Kaibab and secure survey data.

Grant went and visited Cambrian Foundation research diver and local resident Andreas “Matt” Mathes, who was teaching at nearby Cenote Carwash. Matt was diving with students, so Grant passed the time by discussing the caves with the owners of the cenote. In broken Spanish, Grant learned that there are other systems near Sistema Camilo that could prove promising in future years. Landowner relations are critical to any expedition.

Matt was back on the surface after a forty minute dive. Grant and he caught up on old times. Finally, Grant wished them a fond farewell and was off to check a collapse on the side of the road that Terrence had noticed on the way to the cenote. Armed with a camera and a mighty pair of flip flops (technical cenote investigation equipment) he investigated what turned out to be just a cover collapse. There was only a small puddle of water in the middle of it.

Meanwhile back in the cenote…
Renee and Terrence had a mission to go back to Cenote Kaibab to get some tie-in data for Thecia’s Line and the Kilimanjaro Line. Looking at the map we first went to Cenote Kaibab via the Cindy’s Line, Black Forest Line, Kilimanjaro Line to Thecia’s Line. (For a better view of the map, click here.) The Kilimanjaro formation is a huge calcite mound that rises to 15 feet. At the top of the mound we saw the water was green and tanic. There were several dirt mats around an area that looked like it might be going to the surface. No opening was seen but perhaps it’s only a matter of time.

On our way again we soon arrived back at Thecia’s Line. First we resurveyed from Cenote Kaibab to the Blind Cave Fish Line and collected the tie-in data for both Thecia’s Line and the Kilimanjaro Line. Once accomplished, we had nearly two tanks with which to play. The Blind Cave Fish Line called us east and we explored some passages to the south with no avail. Interestingly, a catfish was sighted along the mainline about two hundred feet west of Cenote Coati Mundi. We turned about 500 psi before hitting thirds to allow appropriate gas for survey on the way out. We then gathered our gap reels and began the Kilimanjaro Line survey.

Once back on Cindy’s line after nearly four hours of diving, our primary lights both went out due to battery time. We had the not yet experienced opportunity to swim the entire length of Cindy’s Line with back up lights. It was truly spectacular to arrive back at Cenote Muchachos without the brightness of the HID lights. Light emanated from the south and eastern sides of the cavern zone. At a maximum depth of 70 feet and a total time of 255 minutes we surfaced after only a six minute required decompression stop with an added five minute safety.

Tomorrow once finished with collecting underwater video, we plan to investigate the cavern zone more thoroughly at Muchachos.

The arrival of the students from the Fuqua School in Farmville, Virginia will be the highlight of the day. Once they are here, we will help them get acclimated to Villas DeRosa and the expedition. Stay tuned in the days ahead as the scientific portion of the expedition ramps up to include water sampling of Sistema Camilo as well as other nearby systems.

Keeping with the daily tradition of thanking a sponsor, the Foundation team wishes to send out a big thank you to the NSS-CDS (National Speleological Society-Cave Diving Section)for the grant awarded for expedition expenses for Akumal 2004. As with all of our sponsors, none of this would be possible without their support. Thanks from all of us.

Team Member Profile
Renee Power has been involved with the Cambrian Foundation since 1998. She has worn many hats and is now the Director of Fundraising efforts for the Foundation. Once relocated in Orlando, Renee has more opportunities to serve with the Foundation. Akumal is her favorite destination thus far and is Project Director for this year’s expedition.

In Orlando, Renee is employed by Florida Hospital where she is a Radiologic Technologist specializing in Computerized Tomography (Cat Scans).

Team Members:

  • Grant Graves
  • Renee Power
  • Karl Shreeves
  • Thecia Taylor
  • Terrence Tysall

Send questions or comments to the Trilobite.
Questions and Comments to the Trilobite

That’s a bummer hearing about your cold. I know you’re kicking yourself for not taking me with you. I could have taken your place… Sure, I don’t dive but isn’t it just a 30 minute course to learn? hahahaha. Thanks for the great pics. The website is cool.
Take care, get well soon
Be safe all.

Saul Panduro

Sure, 30 minutes, just like the 30 minute course in viropathology that would have prevented my cold. Actually, we have a quite a few non divers joining us on Saturday to learn about the cave environment and the fragile ecologies within them. Plus we can always use people who love to haul heavy boxes through a hot humid jungle full of potholes, mosquitos and thorns.

Cold is doing much better, and hopefully I’ll be diving tomorrow. Thanks for your wishes and prayers. Love to Steph and Luke.


Hey there everyone!
Okay, since everyone is asking and I personally am also dying to
know, someone must explain the peanut butter incident that my talented husband managed to be involved with the other day! Terrence, you are no longer allowed to make any comments about Amy’s cooking!! As for the updates, they are wonderful! I am following daily and was thrilled when you guys named the new cenote after the greatest Boxer in the whole world! When does Molly get one now? :)And then of course Oliver…and Quinn….. and Millie……..and Mia and Buddy and Liza!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be safe and send my love to my husband!

I was just trying to thaw out the peanut butter…who freezes peanut butter anyway? I guess we’ll have to get busy and find some more cenotes. Maybe we should request a grant from the SPCA. I love you and miss you, I wish you were here.
Love, Terrence

I am really enjoying your updates and I am very thankful for the team and their hard work and dedication to the project. Truly, words cannot describe the efforts, the work, and what the “Cambrian Foundation” is accomplishing with the “Akumal 2004 Expedition,” so Thank You, good luck, and dive safe.

Bill Rotella

Thanks so much Bill for your thoughts. We hope we are making a difference to those at home and here as well.

O.K. Grant, why are you sick? Did you eat one of those ROUS’s. I warned you about them. The site looks great and the expedition is fascinating from this end. See you all soon! Hi Terry!
Matthew A.

Terry says hello back. No ROUS’s down here. You are mistaking here with Venezuela. Wish everyone a big hello. You need to get yourself down here on one of these and come join in the fun. Tell everyone hello.

Our Fuqua kids are “so eager” to arrive in Akumal! Thank you so much for arranging this fabulous opportunity.
Mary Herdegen

P.S. Do we need to send in a fresh supply of peanut butter?

Not a problem Mary. We are looking forward to their arrival as well! Stay tuned for all of the updates next week that will incorporate the students.

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