…Leave Nothing But Bubbles. Unless It’s Line!!

Science in the field

Gearing up in the cenote

Bob checking on his buddy

Sandra’s birthday party

Bethany LOVES jungle life

Team photo with Jaime

The team got underway a little sooner this morning. Kara, Catesby, Taryn, and Bethany left with the dive team and stopped at Tulum to post the update. From there they headed to the Camilo site and unloaded Brown Stripe. It’s been 2 years since we’ve made the hike to Camilo. It was as arduous as we imagined or remembered. Twenty six tanks, 6 sets of dive equipment and several boxes of water sampling supplies were hauled out into the jungle by 24 people each carrying their own backpack of water and supplies. Once all of the gear was down the trail and in the jungle, and after a rest, the dive team prepared for diving assisted by the Fuqua team.

The Fuqua team began to sample the water of Camilo for pH, turbidity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, carbonate, phosphate, etc. From there, the team headed out into the jungle to collect data in the surface waters of nine more cenotes. Students were paired up in groups of two and rotated through a variety of tests to familiarize themselves with proper sampling methods and data collection procedures. Upon our return to Villas deRosa, we showered, rested, and enjoyed some time on the beach. After a nice chicken dinner, we compiled all of the water quality data and discussed some trends in our findings. During the dive team debriefing, Andy announced that he and Renee had named a newly discovered passage the Falcon’s Nest in honor of the Fuqua mascot.

The dive team was grateful for the assistance of the students in carrying the 26 tanks and associated gear approximately a mile through rough limestone terrain. Brown Stripe did actually get us to the beginning of the trail, a limestone road next to a huge water pipe. The water pipe prevents the team from using vehicles or horses to carry the tanks back to the cenote. The trail, cut yesterday by the students, passes right by deep solution tubes, prickly cactus and other jungle plants. The trail ends in a gorgeous blue cenote hidden in the jungle. Mike and I followed the Allison’s Room passage upstream to the south. We checked a few grungy leads that pinched down in the saline portion of the halocline. Pieces of rock falling from the ceiling made for an interesting dive. The rest of the passages this side of Cenote Camilo were very similar to the Cenote Muchachos passage: dark with white calcite floors resembling white shining sand dunes. Great columns and many stalactites decorated the passages. There appeared to be more gigantic blocks of breakdown, creating winding obstacles. We checked many leads and nothing panned out. Terrence and his team sure are thorough! Renee and Andrew emptied both primary reels in huge going passage with flow. Tomorrow we are following them! The divers hiked out with gear, it was a very long hot hike, returning for a surprise birthday party for a very surprised me, Sandy (The kids guessed I am around 22, I’ll go with that!Thanks, Mom and Dad and the Cambrian Team! Muchas gracias!) The entire team enjoyed chocolate cake. The grown ups had an infinitesimal taste of champagne. We saved the rest of the bottle for the pirates.

Renee and Andrew entered at Cenote Camilo and headed for the upstream section called the Loft. Along the way we passed lots of very dark formations in dark rooms, large rooms with huge halocline pools and various types of rock. Once at the Loft we ascended up through the fissure at the back of the Halocline Room. In this section of cave we continued to swim into the flow. Renee and Mike St. Germain had explored a lead during the 2003 expedition in this passage. Upon reaching that lead, Renee held on the line while Andrew went for a look. Interestingly, the flow changes direction at that very spot. The flow was coming out of the passage where Andrew was looking. Hmmm…. Andrew came back and got Renee giving a very favorable gesture that the passage ahead was worth pursuing. Up they went and 550 feet later the team turned to survey. Sadly, they turned the dive due to a lack of knotted line and not gas. Underwater and seemingly simultaneously the team lamented the fact that precious line had been strung in the trees to hang dive gear after the dive. The passage up there was very low and required sidemount configuration. It was a little silty but the flow helped to clear it. After 187 minutes the team safely surfaced after spending a little deco time in the beautiful cavern at Cenote Camilo.

Bob and Karl had decided to head downstream to the section of the Low Silt Line where Karl and Renee had been exploring previously. A bit of confusion was encountered along the way and the team was unable to accomplish said task. However, the route is known by them now for future exploration.

After a late afternoon arrival at Villas DeRosa everyone cleaned up and prepared for the next day.

Team Members

  • Bethany Barton
  • John Boswell
  • Breanne Bryant
  • Doug Chapman
  • KO Donkor
  • Woody Dunkum
  • Taryn Eggleston
  • Amy Giannotti
  • Bob Giguere
  • Jessica Langlois
  • Hope Morton
  • Mr. Shane Newcombe
  • Josh Owen
  • Andrew Pitkin
  • Renee Power
  • Michael Poucher
  • Mr. Gumby
  • Sandra Poucher
  • Cara Robertson
  • Catesby Saunders
  • Karl Shreeves
  • Thecia Taylor
  • Ms. Stephanie Trovato
  • Terrence Tysall
  • Linda Wooddell
Send Questions or Comments to the Trilobite

Are you having fun? Using any geometry?
How’s the food?
First period Geometry Class–Bethany’s class!

Hey yall…what.s up? Ummm…yea, I’m having so much fun and Mexico is really cool. We use some Geometry like parallel lines and perpendicular lines and we use a protractor a lot too. The food is so yummy here. The only thing I haven’t liked yet was the shrimp and some vegetables that the waiters brought us for dinner on Tuesday night. But other than that, the food is great, especially the dessert. The chocolate cake is the best cake I’ve had in a long time. I wish yall were here and I miss yall and I guess I’ll see you at April 4. bye!.)

Hey Bob

Sounds like you guys are having a ball—once you hound-dogged the luggage issue. Great hammock pix! Will look forward to seeing more from the caves, that’s fascinating stuff. By the way, got a look at a rough cut of Wes’ nicely done St. Johns film today. They did a “penetration” of a stormwater drain in Altamonte Springs by Crane’s Roost [to illustrate the reach of the watershed] and found small cave formations back there. Very effective, but am betting it’s a lot more spectacular in a cenote. Dive safe and have fun!

Thanks for checking in…the hammocks are great…think I’ll bring one home. I’ve been seeing some fascinating cave systems and today we’ve finally been laying lots of new line in unexplorered areas. The hike is incredibly grueling, but pretty satisifying to swim somewhere where no man has ever been. …sort of like that stormdrain, but better. I’ll catch up with pics and stories when I return. Thanks for the note.

Yo, Bob, did you find your luggage? I’m guessing that you did from the smile on your face in the picture.

Actually I found someone else’s which was much better than mine! Kidding. It finally came on Monday, but it took another trip to Cancun with no diving to get it….and nothing missing. Sorry you’re not here this year….the dog misses you for PT.
See you soon,

Message to Karl from his mom,
Just thought I should let you know how much fun I’m having looking at the
daily reports of what you, the team and the students are doing there in
the cenotes of Akumal. The descriptions and pictures of the
preparations, explorations, and debriefings have been spellbinding. Your
trip tomorrow is going to be strenuous, and I’m grateful for the students
who are there to help.
Needless to say, I continue to be grateful for the rule of thirds and all
the other precautions you observe without fail.
Best wishes to everyone for continued success.
With love and prayers for everyone’s safety.

Thanks, Mom. It’s great that we can give everyone daily progress reports so that you can follow our exploration together. Needless to say, we follow all the safety rules that keep us safe. Love you, Karl.

Finally….a picture of my husband without him making a weird face….I
wish I could zoom in! Tell him I miss him immensely.
The updates are great and very informative. I’m sure there are quite a
few friends and families out there who, like me, can’t wait to read each
day’s entry and see all the pictures.
Are you going to post the updated survey map at any point?
Safe Diving and give Karl my love,

My face is always weird. Not weird is weird. Incidentally, Sandra said that I look BETTER than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Obviously, she’s an insightful and discerning person (Ha!). I miss you too, but we’ll home soon. Love, Karl

What happened to Spongebob? He disappeared from the team list! What happened? Did he feel one with the karst and return to his mother sponge earth? Looks like you all are learning a lot again and are in the process of applying your knowledge. I love seeing the pictures. I’ll keep checking your updates.
Love, Dora Bounds

Not to worry. Spongebob is just fine and so is Yoda. Thanks for following along and we miss you!!
Renee and the team

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