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5/8/2008 Yax Muul by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Nick Ambrose
Visibility: 100' - 100' Time:12:28 PM
Temp: 79F - 79F Surge:  
Max Depth: 44FSW Avg Depth: 30FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double AL80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Nick and I were looking for a new cave to dive after doing several dives in some of the most commonly dived caves down in Mexico. During a previous dinner with Fred Devos we managed to get several promising leads to some caves that we had never dove before. One of the leads was a site called Yax Muul. We were told the system had an extensive cavern zone and was somewhat small and shallow downstream and maybe a short penetration possible upstream. We were warned though that the landowners had made a deal with a local tour company for exclusive rights and the Cenote could be closed for diving. After a quick discussion with Nick, we decided to go for it.

The very first question that we needed to answer was, could we find the turn off? Our instructions from Fred were passably vague: “There could be a sign on the side of a road, near a brick wall with some type of chicken wire fence.” Luckily we were able to locate the small sign beside the entrance and turned onto the very rough dirt road that would hopefully take us to the Cenote. Keep in mind that we were currently in a subcompact car that was loaded with four sets of doubles, gear and two dudes who weren’t the lightest cave divers around. Our main goal was to hopefully keep car from high centering and causing the sharp rocks from the road from piercing the undercarriage of the vehicle. A secondary goal was to arrive at the site with our internal organs in roughly the same place they started the day.

After about a mile and a half down, the road the ended near a large rock pile and somewhat small Palapa with a table under it. Could this be the place? We didn’t see any water around, but we did find two nicely maintained paths heading off into the jungle. As there was absolutely nobody around, there was nothing to do but pick a path and hope for the best. Maybe we would find something.

After a short walk down the first path we came to a very beautiful overgrown Cenote that looked promising. Only problem was, the water in it was only about 2 inches deep! Hmmm maybe further back in, it gets deeper? We slowly moved further in until the cave ceiling dipped down to about 2 feet and curved left off into the darkness. As I left my light back at the car, I couldn’t see exactly what was there, so we tossed in an exploratory pebble hoping to hear a nice plunk of water. Instead we hear a wet squish of mud. This did not sound good!

So we decided to go back and try the other path. Once back at the car we were met by a nice Mayan gentleman who worked on the ranch. Unfortunately for us, he did not speak a lick of English and our Spanish was sorely lacking. After some discussion between Nick and I that revolved around if either one of us knew the Spanish word for cave diving (turns out we didn’t) we elected to go with the sign language route and tried to see if it the Cenote was around and if it was possible to dive here. He indicated that the Cenote we were looking for was down the other path but the word “Prohibito” came up quite often. This did not look good. After making sure it was okay with him if we went and took a look at this Cenote we headed down the other path.

We eventually came to a small hole in the ground somewhat overgrown with foliage perhaps no more than 15 feet in diameter with steep stairs leading down. What we saw when we got down to the bottom quite literally made our jaws drop. Spread out before us was a very large underground cavern with crystal clear water covering at least 75% of the floor. Spaced throughout the room were several large scale decorations that seemed to be lit by shafts of light coming from natural sunroofs scattered throughout the room. It was at this point that our hearts were taken with the site and we quietly agreed that we would pay anything in our pockets for the privilege to dive in such a wonderful site.

After admiring the view for a while, we poked our heads back out and endeavored to convince our gentlemen to gain approval to dive here. After several minutes more sign language and some belatedly remembered Spanish words, it seemed we had met with success, so we trekked on back to the car to begin our setup. Unfortunately our hopes were quickly dashed as when he saw our doubles tanks, “Prohibito” was again making itself known. After a bit more discussion we found that we might be able to get permission from the Senora back at the Ranch at the beginning of the road. This would mean another two trips up the kidney grinding road. Were we up for that? Hell yeah!
Back at the ranch we quickly located the Senora and started in on negotiations. We quickly learned that the local tour company did have exclusive access to the Cenote and it was looking like we were going to be out of luck. In desperation we showed her our Cave 1 cards and made mention that Fred and Danny had told us of their wonderful Cenote would be appropriate for divers at our level. Her eyes lit up with recognition with the mention of Danny’s name and her stance immediately softened. She agreed to allow us to go diving, but warned us that it would be on our responsibility and we were not to get hurt. We quickly paid our dues, thanked the Senora for her kindness and after having her write a permission note in our wetnotes for the gentleman we headed back up the road for the Cenote.

After gearing up and humping our tanks the 200 yards down the path to the Cenote we quickly put on our drysuites and splashed in the water and spend at least 30 minutes snorkeling around checking out the nooks and crannies that existed in the cavern zone above the drip zone. We were able to quickly locate the cave line running through open water and even found a permanent cookie on the line that identified the cave as Yax Muul.

We quickly got on the rest of our gear and picked a direction for our first dive. As it turns out we headed in the upstream path. The line started out very shallow with no more than 15’ max depth but heavily decorated. After just a few minutes we hit our first arrow pointing back into the cave. Little did we know that within 5 minutes we would pass right by another unknown (to us) Cenote. After passing and having to mark several more arrows we came to a portion of the cave where the line dropped sharply down. From our briefing with Fred, we thought that this potentially could be the portion where the cave turns to no mount. The strange thing was that it looked quite open down there. After deciding to at least head down to take a peak we quickly followed the line down to 35’. To our surprise and joy the cave opened up to even bigger passageway. We had dropped below the halocline and the cave had changed to the cheese cloth type formation with a fine layer of silt across the bottom. It became quite apparent that the cave hadn’t been dove that often as any stoppage on our part caused percolation and bits of cave ceiling to rain down around us. Proceeding on down the line we saw Styrofoam cups attached to the line and were marked with distance and the name “Lunas and Sombres” (Moons and Dreams). The line arrows were marked with names such as Pablo Diaz, Mike Madden and somebody simply named “The Bear”. We ended up calling the dive all too soon afterwards, for of all things, running out of cookies! While I still had a few left, Nick had run out.

After returning back to our starting place we decided the dive was cool enough to do all over again and went back on in. This time we did some judicious cookie redistribution and were able to get a little farther in before running out of cookies again! The cups at this point were suggesting that we were only 300 feet away from something as they had been counting down on our entire trip in. After forlornly peering further into the cave in hopes of seeing anything we turned and swam on back to our entry point.

After humping our empties back to the car and bringing out second set down we geared up and went exploring downstream. According to this briefing, the cave would be very shallow for quite a while before eventually the line would dip down to 17’ and become no mount. As it turns out shallow was an understatement. For the first 10 minutes we were at times swimming with our fin tips out of the water and sucking in our bellies to keep them out of the silt. Eventually the depth settled down to around 8’ to 12’ and remained there for the rest of the dive
The cave passage here was quit a bit tighter with a somewhat silty floor but was absolutely covered with decorations. Most were stained a nice light shade of orange from the tannins in the water. Once again the cups made their presence known, this time a bit more annoyingly as we often had to cross the line, and the Styrofoam cups, being buoyant would cause the line to float up. After a good 25 minutes swimming, we reached the spot where the line jumped to the right and a final forlorn cup signified that this was 3300 feet from Lunas and Sombres and was indeed End of Line. To me this suggested that the original explorers were running on back mount and the cave narrowed up at that point. Looking at the line that continued on past it was clear we had reached the no mount section. We turned for home and swam on back to our entrance. Once back at our home Cenote, we agreed that we had done quite enough swimming for the day and we were both tired. We packed up our gear and headed out.

These dives were very spiritual experience for me. Being able to wipe the silt off the arrows and read the names of the giants who explore and dove these caves still sends shivers down my spine as I think about it today. It’s a connectedness that leads all the way back to the ancient Maya who used these caves and I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to experience just a small part of it.


5/4/2008 Pt Lobos by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Mark Lloyd, Dionna House
Visibility: 20' - 60' Time:10:40 AM
Temp: 45F - 49F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 160FSW Avg Depth: 71FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:15
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
3,3,3,3,5,5,5
 
On Sunday Dionna and I came down to Lobos to dive Twin Peaks on our scooters. The condition report didn't look too bad so I was hoping, as always, for great vis. The tide was high at the boat ramp which is always nice for getting in. Once in the water the vis in the cove looked good, about 10 feet or so. Once we descended at the worm patch and got past 100' the vis opened up big time. Woooohooo! Finally, scootering with great vis ! It was so easy to see the sisters, then to the end of Beto's reef, over to the left side then following the ridge all the way up to Twin Peaks. Zooming around the end of TP we turned back passing some Sea Pens on the ground. It was so serene I could of stayed hours playing around out there. As my light flashed past the red and orange sponges, schools of yellow rockfish, and all sizes of yellow dorids, I was regretting that time had passed so quickly. We dodged large bushes of kelp while making our way in, and finally back at the worm patch again we settled in for our final deco stops. A quick check of the temp confirmed that it was a pretty cold 45 degrees. After our deco we surfaced and scootered back to a nice lunch with Suzanne and Gary, unfortunately not in the sun.
5/3/2008 East Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Matt Vieta, Cameron Wheeler
Visibility: 60' Time:9:45 AM
Temp: 47F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 78FSW Avg Depth: 60FSW
Bottom Time: 1:00 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Cameron, Matt and I got in a couple of very nice dives on the Escapade. Reports from Friday had indicated bad vis in the bay and high winds. Jim told me on Friday afternoon that he was fairly sure we wouldn't be able to get around the corner to Carmel. Given this I switched from wide angle to macro thinking we'd be hiding in murky water.

Instead the winds were light and variable in the morning and so down south we went. Shortly after passing a pod of Risso's Dolphins near Point Joe the water started to clear up. By the time we got to Carmel it was a beautiful clear blue and I was cursing my decision to switch to macro.

As we jumped in I got even more mad at myself as the water was not only very clear and blue but filled with Sea Nettles and other jellies like Scrippsia pacifica. Ah well, nothing to do but head for the reef and look for little critters. Happily this worked out well too as we spent an hour finding one cool aeolid to another and I managed some decent shots of some rarely seen species.

Dive two ended up being over on Lingcod Reef. Visibility there was nice as well but being shallower we struggled to look for small stuff in the surge. Still a nice couple of dives.

Note to Team Kitty: Matt says you guys were thinking of coming along. You should have. ;-)

Pictures here.
4/28/2008 E3 aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Allison Lee, Robert Lee
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:10:21 AM
Temp: 50F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 154FSW Avg Depth: 86FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double HP100Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
4,4,1,1,2,8,5
 
Team Kitty invited David out with us for the dive. This was his last dive before he leaves for 4 months. The conditions weren't too bad, but it was mostly wind driven waves. Phil didn't recommend going around the point as he felt the conditions would build throughout the day, so we decided on going to E3 and insisting that Phil take us there this time. :)

Conditions shallow were somewhat like what we saw at the Breakwater the previous day. Lots of particulate in the water shallow, but still decent enough viz. Deeper the particulates cleared out to a respectable 30'-40' viz. Several people said it their gauges were reading 46 or so, but I sure didn't feel cold the whole dive. At the start at the dive, we saw an absolutely huge 'dorid' type nudibranch. It had to have been at least a 10" long. Toward the end of the dive, I found two larger Albus' mating. David got some really nice footage of this with his camera. Deco was uneventful, but a bit boring. We ended up doing 130' for 35 minutes w/ 25 minutes of deco.

At the 10 foot stop we could really feel the waves pushing us about and the surface had gotten a quite a bit more sporty. We ditched our gear and got out of there. Lunch was at Siamese Bay.

Pictures here.
4/27/2008 Butterfly House by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Matt Vieta, Nils Brummond
Visibility: 5' - 20' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 48F Surge:  
Max Depth: 38FSW Avg Depth: 23FSW
Bottom Time: 1:00 Total Time: 1:00
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
min deco
 
Sunday was unbelievably calm. Neither Nils nor myself had been to Butterfly house so we thought it would be a perfect day to check it out.

I'd heard that approach wasn't all that much fun. The reality wasn't all that bad, even though the next day my legs were a little sore from hauling doubles up and down the rocky path.

The plan was to drop at the the end the small rocky point and to follow a 210 heading to deeper water.

The entry is through a small, shallow cove with lots of kelp and rocks. We dropped in about 5' of water to go under some of the kelp and to better watch for rocks. Once we were under we made our way out of the cove and hit an interesting, relatively shallow wall where we spent quite a bit of time poking around for slugs. I found a Triopha catalinae just floating mid-water. Nils spotted a nice Okenia rosacea, and I found another on an egg mass shortly thereafter.

It was a pretty cool dive. I'd like to go back and try to explore the deeper areas.
4/13/2008 Pt Lobos by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 10' - 40' Time:11:00 AM
Temp: 46F - 50F Surge:  
Max Depth: 180FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Sue and I had a Fundies class reschedule for the weekend so we decided to do get some Lobos diving done. We had a fish survey/research goal for the dive so we headed to Twin Peak and checked on the 2 Juv Yellow Eye rockfisht that live at the peaks. To our surprise there was a 3rd one in the crack now :-). It's cute... just like 1 inch long.

On the way back we set some survey lines and actually surveyed them on the second dive with the help of Dionna, Mark and HarryB.

It's was pretty cold but it was a lot of fun!

4/12/2008 Pt Lobos by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Matt Vieta, Ben Villao, Don Chennavasin
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 48F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 75FSW Avg Depth: 45FSW
Bottom Time: 1:27 Total Time: 1:27
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Min deco
 
Great Vis! I'd been wanting to improve my mental map of Lobos. Scooters were a great tool to tie together many of the places I've been to as isolated dives, but hadn't placed in relation to eachother. I have a much better feel for the area now!

From the ramp we headed to the hole in the wall for a quick look. From there I attempted a round trip to the lone metridium and back. We deviated a little into the area behind the hole in the wall on the way back and had to back track before finding our way.

Next we jumped E. across the sand channel to Middle Reef, and followed it to the overhang near the end. The plan from this point was to head over to granite point wall. I wanted to find a patch of hydrocoral that Allison showed me last weekend in the granite point area.

We jumped 60 degrees from the overhang at middle reef to granite point wall. Followed the wall left 'til it turned a corner. From there we jumped north across a sand gap to a 2nd wall, and followed it left to the hydrocoral patch! I was very excited to have found it - it is a very pretty corner covered with hydrocoral/anemonies.

By this time I was starting to get cold. We backtracked to middle reef with a slight detour to the left side of the overhang. We stopped for a second to visit the war bonnet.

We cut across to HITW for fun on the way home and ran into Allison, Rob and Jonathan. Some kelp antics ensued.

Great fun!
4/11/2008 Montana by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Harry Wong, Jonathan Derosier
Visibility: 50' - 50' Time:11:02 AM
Temp: 48F - 48F Surge: 1'
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time: 0:50
Max Depth: 147FSW Avg Depth: 74FSW
Bottom Time: 0:45 Total Time: 1:28
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double AL80,HP100Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
4,4,2,2,3
 
It was an incredibly beautiful day topside. After staging bottles in the water, we dropped right at the ramp and scooted on out. Within what just seemed a short amount of time we had passed Crossroads and were on Montana. We ended up checking out the north western side and exploring a couple of cracks that run through the face of the reef and looking at the gently waving gorgonians on the face of the reef.

Saw some really nice spanish shawls around 140' of depth. All of a sudden they seem to be everywhere.
4/1/2008 Flintstones aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Dionna House
Visibility: 40' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 46F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 190FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
 
Dionna, Susan and I went diving at Flintstone today. The ocean was like a lake with weak S winds. We headed for Flinstone and had a great time diving the pinnacle. We saw many gorgonias gardens, a lot of rock fish, one touchina very large 10inches long, and a very nice cabezon at the top of the reef.

Vis was 40ft at the bottom 15 in the shallow with a cold 44-48degrees water :-0, which felt like 40F after a week of diving in Mexico. For that reason we cut it short at 30min vs 40min that was the plan.

Diving Flintstone is the right way to get back to local diving :-).



3/22/2008 Hopkin's Deep Reef aboard HarryB's Boat by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Harry Babicka, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 5' - 20' Time:12:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth: 82FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
1's up
 
We anchored at Deep Hopkins and started preparing our gear when Jim from the Escapade motored by asking how the vis was. He was bringing in a group that had already had one dive and was planning another in the bay. We had only heard that the vis was about 10' so we past that on. After putting all our deco bottles in the water we geared up, dropped over the side, and clipped the 3 bottles on. Vis at the surface was pretty poor and green. No real current to speak of and the waves/surge was light. We dropped into the darkness with Harry leading. After we tied the reel onto the anchor we set off for a 15min out and 15min in dive. While swimming around I spotted a couple of big Triopha catalinae, 1 Acanthodoris hudsoni but the yellow spots were much bigger than what I have seen before, and a few yellow dorids. Vis on the bottom opened out to about 20' so we were happy. The temp definitely dropped however, it was about 48f and you could feel it getting colder as you decended. Harry almost used all his line going out the 15mins. We turned the dive at the 1/2 way point and we switched from our 32 stages when we reached 1500psi. On back gas we made our way back to the anchor, detached the line, and prepared to ascend. Since the bottom was around 78' we did our switch to the 70' bottle at 60' and rotated the 32% stage back and brought up the O2. At 30' we switched back to back gas and at 20' to O2 then made our way up. The anchor line was definitely difficult to see at 20' but the BBQ sandwiches were calling my name so we quickly made our way up, relaxed for a bit on the boat then hauled ourselves back for lunch. Fun fun fun !!!


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