It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, September 24, 2010

White River

We got a slightly late start because we stopped by ZG in the morning and ran into the Tahoe crew there. I also met Heleen, and aired my grievances about the She-P to her. She had satisfactory answers to most of them. When we finally got going, we headed to White River, which is about 15 minutes down the highway and then 30 very bumpy minutes into the jungle. I guess it used to be a lot worse though. Once we got there, though, there were really nice stone steps down to the water, and then either a wooden staircase or an elevated platform to enter the water from. The water in the basin in crystal clear. It was one of the nicest cenotes we went to, especially because it seems more authentic (though still has easy access for wimps like me). There were many interesting insects here too, including some pretty red dragonflys (among other dragonflys) and a beautiful blue-purple and brown butterfly. I also saw a black centipede, which I thought was gross. Then I thought about the cool orange centipedes I saw a Jailhouse and decided this guy was okay too.

We all got geared up and into the water, and at the last minute, we got Kevin on our team. We were heading downstream to Fenomeno. I was not very confident that we could make it there on our puny little 2/9s, but we just made it. The cave is very pretty, with tons of decorations, and rooms of various sizes, some quite large. There was a big pot too, which unfortunately has a few chunks missing from it. But it was still really cool. The cave is quite shallow, probably averaging less than 30 feet. We passed another cavern along the way (about 9 minutes from White River), and an air pocket not too far before Fenomeno. This was one of my favorite caves; it has a little of everything -- tons of decorations, big rooms, but a cool (short) tunnely area too; and a pot! The only thing missing is a salt water passage, though I hear there is one of those too if you do a jump. We ascended at Fenomeno and hung out there for a little while. A couple minutes later, Don and Elissa appeared. Rob and I shared a goo and after a little break, we headed back in (upstream, blah). We were all really hungry when we got back so we got right out and ate our lunch sitting on the steps into the water.

We eventually got geared up for a second dive, but while doing gear checks, Kevin had some sort of gear problem, so he stayed behind to fix that and joined Don and Elissa on their dive. So it was just the two of us. Rob had left his camera just in the cave, so the plan was to not to go too far and just doodle around and get some pics. That cave drops percolation like crazy, so I was trying not to breathe too much -- now i know why they make us do a breath hold in GUE classes. But since we were headed downstream, the percolation was following us. So eventually we decided to swim in and get pics on the way out. We went probably about 2/3 of the way to Fenomeno and then turned it to have plenty of time for pictures on the way out.

We surfaced and decided to head upstream. On the way in, Rob had ear problems and couldn't get below 30' (which was shocking -- that never happens to him!), so we headed out shallower and then back in and it was fine. Because of this, we really didn't make it very far in. It was not that decorated with mostly big boulders in medium-sized passages. Eventually we came to a fairly big empty seeming room where the line turns 90 degrees right, then quickly turns left again and becomes a bit more tunnelly, and more interesting, I think. Just a little bit down the tunnel, we could see the other team's lights in the distance. Since it was a convenient spot to turn around, we decided to just turn there to avoid having to wait for them to pass. When we all got to the basin, Don asked me if I wanted to try out his sidemount rig in the basin, so I said sure, but only if I could wear the helmet :) If I ever go sidemount, I'm going to do all of my swimming on my side -- it's just so comfy! Then Rob couldn't resist trying it too (of course I got this all on video). Don's rig was just a little small for Rob; he's been talking in a higher pitch ever since.

It was pretty late by the time we were all packed up. We didn't expect to be able to swap tanks at ZG, but Fernando was there, so we stopped by. We decided to just take a set each for the next day. We were having dinner in Playa with Steve, but Rob was withering, so we swung by the Pub for some snacks. We had the ceviche, which was super tasty (why did it take us so long to try it!?!) and mojitoes of course. Then we went to an Argentinian place in Playa, whose name I did not catch. Steve was a friendly chap who was interesting to talk to. And he's not at all scary or intimidating ;)

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