It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Del Mar

On Wednesday we went to Del Mar to do some sensor maintenance for the sensors that BAUE (and Kevin) sponsored with CINDAQ. Del Mar is (or at least on this day was) the closest thing to a mud hole that I have ever dived. It was also rather buggy, but that could be because it was raining intermittently that morning. We parked right on the side of the road there, which was convenient. I think there is a parking lot across the street that you are supposed to park in, but we stopped there to unload gear and check out the site, and since no one seemed to mind our car there, we decided to just leave it there. It really didn't seem very likely that anyone else was going to appear to dive the mud hole. From the car, it was a short walk to their sketchy tables and less sketchy deck/walkway to the water. The walk was over some not very slippery rock, which was great, but right next to the path I was walking on, there was a fence with barbed wire about chest high. So I just kept thinking, if I slip, I know I'm going to put my hand down on that wire without thinking. (And on the way out, I was thinking if I slip, I know I'm going to slice my drysuit open, but neither came to pass.) While getting changed next to the driver's seat (so I was hidden from traffic), I suddenly felt pin pricks all over my foot and ankle and looked down to see a couple dozen ants grazing on my foot. I started squealing and yelling incomprehensible things about my foot and ants, and Kevin said in passing "oh yea, there are ants over there". Thanks for the warning!

Rob hopped in to place his camera and found a spot deep enough for us to baby stride into -- you know, it's like a giant stride, but you curl your legs up in case you are going to hit bottom. With (literally) zero viz from the top, there was really no way to tell if Rob was accurate in his report that it would be deep enough to jump; so of course I what anyone would do, and let Kevin go first. In addition to looking like poo water, the water smelled like rotten eggs. Once we dropped down, the water was quite clear from about 5 feet down (the basin is only like 6 or 7 feet deep, so that isn't as impressive as it sounds). The water was also much cooler below the muck, which was refreshing. We found the line, which comes to open water, and in we went. The cave is silty and crumbly. And dark. It reminds me a bit of Hole in the Wall (the cave in FL, not the reef at Point Lobos), because of the crumbliness, but darker and smaller in much of it. There is also a bit of flow; nothing raging, but enough that Kevin's suggestion that we could poke around downstream quickly did not appeal to me at all. We had been given scavenger hunt-like directions to find the sensors, and in the end we each found one, but it took about 15 minutes. Once we had all three, we headed out. Rob dropped his camera on the line in preparation to take pictures on the next dive.

Rob and I waited in the water while Kevin got out to dump the sensor data. He returned with a video camera (borrowed from Don, who was off with Elissa at her class today). We headed back in, and Kevin got some video on the way in, before our bubbles disturbed the cave (because it is crumbly, it does not take long before it is raining down on you). Then we placed the sensors, and continued up the line. Rob wanted to get pictures of the sensors, but figured it would be best to wait until the dust settled, so to speak, so we left some time for that on the way out. The cave is not the prettiest cave we saw this week, but it was interesting. It reminded me a lot of Florida, with big boulders in a lot of spots, but then occasionally there were be spots that were extensively decorated with icicle stalagtites. All told, we passed about 4 jumps, one of which went to another opening and we could see daylight (very green daylight) from the mainline. That jump line is ridiculously close to the mainline; I don't understand why some lines are like 3 millimeters from the mainline (well, perhaps a small exaggeration) and others are like 100 feet away. Anyhoo, Rob thumbed the dive just as I was starting down a sort of chute-looking passage heading down, which I thought was pretty cool looking. So I was a little bummed when he thumbed it (especially because it wasn't on gas; Rob doesn't breathe, so he never calls a dive on gas). But only minutes before I had been thinking that given how shallow this dive is (maybe 25 feet average), we might be doing a LONG dive if no one called it sooner on boredom or whatever.

Rob got some pictures of the sensors on the way out, while I waited on the line. I was getting super cold waiting for him, which was funny since earlier, when we were kicking against the flow a bit, I was getting hot. Rob finally finished and we headed out (or rode the flow out is more like it). When we were about to climb out of the water, Kevin mentioned something about the ladder being slightly tricky to climb. Rob suggested a "better" way to climb it, which resulted in one of the rungs breaking while Kevin was climbing it. So climbing out in gear wasn't going to work. Instead we all took our rigs off and once Kevin was out, we passed it up to him and climbed what was left of the ladder sans gear.

We had originally been planning to relocate for a second dive, but decided to just take the afternoon off. We headed to Super Carne (HC de Monterrey) for lunch, where we each got an enormous plate of meat with a baked potato, half of an avocado, tortillas and some other accessories for not much money. And cool beer, hehe. Then we drove by Temple of Doom just to take a look. I am no longer scared of the jump; now that I understand the geometry, I realize it isn't possible to hit the side on the way in. And even better, they now have a very civilized ladder in there. But it is a bit of a walk to get there (I know, whine whine whine). On the plus side, they had a little pen with some bunnies in it there, and they were exceptionally cute bunnies. After that we headed home for a swim and eventually headed to the Pub (again) for dinner.

No comments: