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Friday, July 5, 2019

Mexico 2019: Naharon to the Battleship Room

For our final dive of the trip, I decided we would go back to Naharon and do the dive to the Battleship Room.  We did this dive in 2011, and when I was coming up with proposals for the last dive for Kevin, Karl, and Bobby, I stumbled across the report from that dive.  And I thought it would be fun to do it again.  Also, on Thursday we didn't get to spend quite as much time in Southwest Sacbe, so I figured we'd get another chance today.

We were extra efficient getting going this morning and getting out of Zero Gravity, and made it down to Naharon at like 8:50.  All of the signs there say that they open at 8, but they weren't open yet.  I suddenly remembered Danny talking about how they had been waiting at the gate from 8 to 9 when we were at Mayan Blue, and figured they'd open at 9.  We just happened to arrive at 9 on Thursday, so I didn't even think about it.  A few minutes before 9, someone showed up and we paid and drove in.  We were also super efficient about staging our gear in the water and getting geared up and I think we started the dive around 9:30. 🙀

The directions for how to get to the Battleship Room in my previous report were spot on, though the times were a little vague, so I'll include more detail this time :)  The whole swim between the South Sacbe jump and the T, I was counting minutes, worried I wouldn't have the gas to get the whole way there.  I'm pretty sure I had the same feeling the last time we went there.  Anyhoo, Rob took an interesting route on the way to the mainline, we'll just call it "experimental", which I suspect put us a couple minutes behind the times I reported on the last dive.  So we got to South Sacbe jump at 22 minutes.  Very shortly after that, there was a slightly annoying restriction.  It wasn't that resticted, but there are lots of craggly rocks that you are working your way through, which things can get caught on.  Like your light cord.  Or the remote strobe cord wound around your light cord.  That got seriously entangled around a pointy little piece of rock below me, and after I managed to get it uncaught, I looked down and saw the cover for the strobe sensor on the bottom.  Doh!  I didn't notice it come off at all.

The South Sacbe tunnel is very pretty -- bright blue water, bright white walls.  But for the most part the walls are the craggy cheesy texture like in the crack.  It's not very decorated, which I misremembered.  I thought that this line looked more like Southwest Sacbe.  Oh well, it was still a nice swim.  I dropped my first stage at 34 minutes, and between there and the T, there were some more restrictions that I would not have wanted to carry two stages through.  I especially thought this while watching Rob squeak through with his stage and camera :)

We hit the T at 47 minutes.  So either we were swimming faster than last time, or my numbers in that post were approximate.  Just like last time, at the T, there was an arrow pointing back the way we came which said "Cristal" and one pointing to the right said "Mayan Blue".  From here, there's a lot of time spent right around the halocline, and the rooms get taller and a little wider, and "dirtier" looking.  I guess that's just because of the part above the halocline :)  I wasn't sure how much longer until the Battleship Room, though my wishy washy description led me to think it would be around 10 minutes.  After about 10 minutes we were in a pretty big and long room, right in the halocline, when I dropped my second stage bottle.  Somewhere right around there, the line changed to gold line.  I missed the change, but it happened just before I dropped my stage.  I was thinking that on the way out I wanted to find the exact point where it changed.

At the end of that room, there was a dip down and a pinch point and when we came back out that, I think we were probably technically in the Battleship Room.  It took another minute before I realized this, though, When I saw a nice big stalagmite pointing at an angle like a gun.  The room got wider as we went, before eventually starting to get narrower.  We swam slowly through it.  The room wasn't as big as I remember it.  I think this is most likely because the last time I went there, I had never been to Eagle's Nest.  But after going to Eagle's Nest, this room was not comparatively that huge :)  We continued swimming for about 15 minutes.  I'm not sure where the end of the Battleship Room technically is, but I suspect that we made it past the pinch point that shows 1550' from Mayan Blue on the Mayan Blue map.  We continued until the line was about to dip down through another pinch point and we turned it there.  We meandered back through the room at a leisurely pace, and ended up back at the start at 1:28.

When we got out of the room, I picked up my stage bottle and after I got onto it, I noticed that we were back on white line.  So I missed the switch again!  I think it must have been right before the stage drop, so I was busy doinking with my bottle both on the way in and out.  I shot a bit of video on the way out, after we passed the T and we had some gas to burn.  Rob took pictures too.  I would shoot a bit of video, then hand the video light head off to Rob (because I think it looks dumb in pictures) so he could shoot pictures.

When we got back to the Southwest Sacbe line, we dropped our stages and continued up that line.  We decided Rob would take pictures on the way in and I would shoot video on the way out.  I think I got the better deal on this, since I could use the swim in to find spots I wanted to video on the way out.  I took a few sequences where I swam ahead of Rob, signaled him to start swimming and then video'd him coming through a decorated area.  We had a good time with that for a while, and then we headed out.  My light never died through all of my switching light heads (phew!) because I was diving Kevin's light battery (which he'd left for Rob to use) and Rob was diving mine.  Both Rob and I have pretty new light batteries (Rob's is *really* new since he uses his EOS a lot for local diving) so their behavior on this trip is pretty disappointing.

Once we finished up there, we headed straight out to the cavern for some deco.  The dive to the Battleship Room is relatively shallow (55 feet-ish) compared to yesterday's dive, so only had 12 minutes of deco.  Woot!  My heels were killing me from my tight spring straps and I was dying to get them off!  Since this was the end of diving for the week, we took apart our gear in the parking lot :(

After packing up, we headed to Don Cafeto's for lunch.  I was determined to get the arrachera, which I've decided is the closest thing to Super Carne now that it's closed :)

Last ice cream cone of the trip :(
After that, we headed to the gelato place for one last cone.  I got Bailey's :)  I think this makes it 5 out of 7 days that I managed to have gelato during the trip, which is probably a personal record.

Arca, swanky Tulum restaurant
After we got back and laid out our gear to dry, we pondered how to spend the afternoon.  Since we didn't have to get up early the next morning, I was pretty determined to do something more exciting than nap the afternoon away and eat at the pub for dinner :P  Rob's hairdresser (who he refers to his "stylist") had recommended a couple of shi-shi restaurants in Tulum, so we decided to check out one of those, Arca.  We stopped at the beach bar in Akumal for a drink on the way to Tulum, and then undertook the long drive through the Tulum beach scene to get to the restaurant.

We didn't have a reservation, so we ate in the lounge area, which was equally as shi-shi as the main restaurant, but with possibly more comfortable seating.  Everything that we got was super tasty -- we had the roasted red peppers, bone marrow, suckling pig roulade, and something else that I can't remember.  I liked the hipster music playing in the background.  The only downside was that nothing on the dessert menu sounded tasty enough to get, though to be fair, I am not sure I really understood what at least some of the items were.  I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a nice place to eat in Tulum.  It was way more expensive than all of the other places that we went during the week, but not very expensive by Bay Area standards.

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