Checking more leads

Analyzing gas

Diver’s bubbles during decompression

Sartek 4.5 amp canister with 10 watt HID lighthead

Andy surfacing after a long dive

The view from Villas DeRosa

Don Raphael was awaiting us this morning with his usual countenance at 8:45 AM. Once at the site the team performed the usual task of unloading the van of gear and transporting it to Cenote Muchachos.

Today the team again split into the same two teams as yesterday. Karl and Renee donned 4 tanks each and proceeded to an area named Nan’s Bypass that was placed on the 2003 expedition. The passage was much smaller than the main line through the cave and certainly darker. They saw loads of amphipods and crayfish in the water column. The objective was to swim this passage and look for possible passages branching off of it. Renee spotted one lead near the end of this line and signaled Karl that it had potential. After swimming about 100 feet, the passage ended rather abruptly. They turned and reeled up the line, then moved northward to see if they could find any more leads. After checking out a few possibilities (none of which panned out) they hit thirds and turned to exit the cave. Cave divers stick to a strict rule to turn the dive at the point any team member has consumed one third of his gas, leaving twice as much for exiting as for coming in. This leaves one third for the exit and one third for an emergency. On exit, Karl checked out few possible leads, which also proved to disappointments. The pair spent 1 hour and 55 minutes total time underwater before returning to the sunlit opening of Cenote Muchachos.

Terrence and Andrew investigated two other potential leads that had been noted previously. First they swam a loop on the east side of the House of the Gods, but they didn’t find any ongoing cave passage to explore. They then continued up the main line towards the T to the Grand Canyon passage and looked at the Off Ramp. This is a small twisting passage that drops down to around 75-80n feet depth through the halocline into salt water. Here the limestone is friable and easily broken and the passage is low bedding plane. They followed this line to its end, deciding that although it was not definitely walled out, it was too small to have serious potential. They then swam back to Cenote Muchachos where they met Karl and Renee doing their decompression. On this dive, as on the previous ones, we all saw lots of indigenous cave life: remipedes, amphipods, isopods and stygobitic crayfish. ‘Stygobitic’ refers to an aquatic organism that is morphologically adapted and restricted to the underwater cave environment and which must feed and reproduce there. For more information about stygobitic creatures please visit

Upon return to Villas DeRosa, the team unloaded tanks for the staff to fill. After filling, the divers need to analyze the contents. To do this, each diver connects an analyzer directly to the cylinder valve and measures the amount of a specific gas, in our case oxygen. The team needs this information to prepare a proper dive plan.

Sartek Industries Inc. continues to “light the way” on the Akumal Expedition. The Cambrian Foundation much appreciates the efforts of owner Carl Saieva. He is tireless in handling our lighting needs.

Team Members

  • Andrew Pitkin
  • Renee Power
  • Karl Shreeves
  • Thecia Taylor
  • Terrence Tysall
Send Questions or Comments to the Trilobite

A big hello to the Akumal dive team!! Just a note from Fuqua School to tell you all how excited we are to be joining you this weekend!!! We have been reading the website updates and the kids have been working on their PowerPoint’s. All we have left to do is get down there and experience Akumal for ourselves! Thank you in advance for this incredible opportunity!

~ Fuqua School Mexico Travelers

Thank you very much for your kind words. We are so looking forward to your arrival. We are sure your PowerPoint presentations will be fantastic! Get ready for some jungle tromping. It seems as if the fauna has grown a bit since last year! See you soon and please be safe in your travel.

~The first week’s team

Hi to the team! Glad to hear you are all there safely and settled in. Your first day diving sounded fun……I won’t make any comments about Karl’s heavy breathing…..:) I’m looking forward to the daily updates (and phone call!!!) I’ve sent the link to your site out to everyone I know. Have fun and be safe tomorrow…you are all in my prayers. My love to Karl,

~ Shawn

Hi, sweetie, thanks. I do seem to be the air hog, but any group, someone has to breathe the most. Besides, what organ in the body requires the most oxygen? The brain. So, if I need MORE oxygen and someone else needs LESS oxygen, then what does that say about our relative brain sizes? Hmmmmm. I’m kidding, of course. We’ll be safe tomorrow – that’s always the first priority – so no worries.

Love you,

Comments are closed.