3rd time in this cave and 2nd time diving it.
The first time was only a walk into the dry cave with some friends and with Mr. Felix Espinosa (who is in charge of looking after this land) and his employees. We got to the water and jumped in with masks and a dive light to look for cave from the surface. We did see a crack and decided it was worth going back in with Sidemount gear for further exploration…
The second time I went in with my friend David Peraza, Felix and a team of guys to help me get in the dry cave with all my cave diving gear and I laid 350 feet of line south of the open water entrance to a maximum depth of 75 feet which is unusually deep in a cave that is less than 2 kilometers from the coast. I called this the Roller Coaster line because of the sawtooth profile. This time I also found another line that according to some of the dry cave explorers in the area was laid in the 1990’s by Gil Harmon of Paamul.
This time I asked my friend Alessandro Reato to come diving with me so we could resurvey the dry cave and the existing line plus explore whatever we could.
We found an entrance from the side of the Federal Highway which saved us from walking through the jungle with the gear and tanks on our backs, instead we got into the dry cave and started surveying from there.
Once we got to the water I reeled the line back, geared up and jump in the water where Alex was already waiting. The water is always around 24 to 25ºC or 77 – 78ºF so it was really nice and cool to jump in after the workout in the warm dry cave.
At this point we didn’t know exactly what we were going to find, all we knew was the line I had laid (The Roller Coaster) and that there was another line laid by someone else but we didn’t know long it was or if we were going to find additional lines going in other directions meaning more intersections that would require us to do more complex navigation. On the other hand, it could be just the one line and more cave left to explore.
We knew it was going to be a deeper dive to around 60 to 80 feet but very unlikely to be any deeper than 100 feet. We came prepared with 32% Nitrox for extended bottom time. I explained the lines and the cave as I remembered it to Alex; we went over our gear checks, pre dive plan review and down we went on the Roller Coaster line…
We headed straight for the existing line, connected to the Roller Coaster by a short line I left in place the first time. Once there, Alex pulled out his slate and started surveying it in. I surveyed the line connecting The Roller Coaster to the old line. It was just a few shots, I finished it in a few minutes and went in to catch up with Alex.
As I approached him I could see a lead on the side of the cave. He signaled me to take my reel and go in there to explore.
I was excited and quickly had the reel in my hand unlocked and ready to go.
I laid a few hundred feet of line going through the cave which looks like a demolition site. Apparently it used to be deeper but at some point the whole ceiling collapsed, probably a few hundred or even a few thousand years ago when the cave was still dry. Now we are diving over the debris from this event and under a “newly” exposed ceiling. The bottom is nothing but rocks until you come up into a room at 45 feet of depth. It has a majestic column 8 to 10 feet high in the middle with a bunch of other speleothems decorating around it both at the top and on the bottom.
Then it goes a little deeper to 60 feet and ends up in a big room that I could see where the cave was headed but was blocked by a massive collapse. I turned right at a 90º angle to go across the room and that was the last shot.
For obvious reasons I decided to name the new line “Under the Highway”.
Alex surveyed the rest of the existing line and pushed it back a few more feet, then he went around the whole system looking for other leads and concluded that there is no more submerged cave to explore or survey…
This project is finished.