It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pet Cemetery: Blue Abyss and Dark Side of the Moon

On Friday, we went to Pet Cemetery with Kevin, Lynne and Peter. Rob, Kevin, and I dove as a team. We met up at the Dos Ojos entrance, where you pay for Pet Cemetery too, and then we followed the others down the slightly long road to Pet Cemetery. The road is in quite good shape for a while, then gets worse (about on par with the road to White River) and then it gets better again right before you get to Pet Cemetery. The site has some nice, sturdy tables to setup gear on, and a nicely groomed trail to the water. The bathrooms are also super nice, so all in all it has really nice facilities. The staircase is very steep (Lynne has a good picture on her blog here). It was pretty freakin' scary to walk down the steps. I think Rob was nice enough to carry more than his fair share of the bottles down :) Once you get to the bottom of the stairs, there is a platform with some high benches, where you can put your doubles. So we walked them down before getting into our drysuits, and sat them on the benches. Then we got into our suits and went for a quick swim in the cenote before getting into our doubles, doing gear checks, and getting back in.

The plan was to go to Blue Abyss and then to Dark Side of the Moon. We were double staging, but the plan was to leave the full stage at the Dark Side of the Moon jump on the way in. So my kind of double stage dive :P Rob was bringing his camera on the dive, which was exciting. He just got a new slave strobe that he was using for the first time. When we first got into the water, he bungeed it to my tanks. He did not want to schlep the camera the whole way to the Blue Abyss, so the plan was to drop it on the line at some point on the way there. We took the cavern line, which seems to go on roughly forever, to the IHOP line. I think that the "cavern line" uses a very loose interpretation of what the cavern zone is :) But it is a very nice cavern line, and very long. Just a few minutes up the IHOP line we encountered a marked jump to the left, and just as described, there were two lines, one going roughly forward and to the left (toward DSotM), and one going roughly backward and to the left (toward Blue Abyss). At this point we were in a big, very tall room. We dropped our full stages there and headed down the Diaz line, toward the Blue Abyss. I thought this line was very pretty. It is relatively small passage but is quite decorated in many areas. In a few spots it gets restricty, but the tunnel is not actually very small. It is just that the stalactites are spaced so that you have to weave yourself between them. Rob dropped his camera (and I de-strobed) before we got into the really weavey area. I thought the passage was very nice, and worth diving even without the Blue Abyss as a destination.

Eventually we came to the jump to the Blue Abyss, about 55 minutes into the dive. The jump goes down a bit of a chute, which was fun to go down. Within 10 minutes, we hit the Blue Abyss. We came up a little tunnel that suddenly opens up into a big room, and you keep swimming until you hit the edge of the universe. Well, the edge of a big dropoff anyway, and the line goes shooting down into the abyss. After looking at it from above for a minute, we followed it down and once we crossed through the halocline, the water had a really deep cobalt blue. It was pretty cool. We continued down down down, and eventually settled a bit off the bottom. As Rob was looking around, I descended just a bit more, and reached my arm down below me -- just so my gauge would show a greater max depth than Rob's. Teeheheh. After playing around in there for a few minutes, I signaled to Rob to ascend. Rob returned the signal and then told me to shoot a bag. Hehehe. We slowly ascended; it was like we were moving in slow motion, especially as we crept through the halocline. When we got close to the ledge, we played around there for a few more minutes, shining our lights up at the ceiling, etc. Then we headed out. Just as we came back to the Diaz line, we crossed paths with Lynne and Peter, who were sitting there waiting for us to come out before they jumped to the Blue Abyss line.

We headed back out. When I got to my stage (the half-full one, which we dropped along the way on the Diaz line), I was so happy to be reunited with my Camelbak, and stopped the team so I could take a few sips. I haven't mastered the art of drinking on the go, but I've definitely made a lot of progress on the drinking underwater thing in general -- I was previously afraid of drowning while I tried to drink from it, but on this dive I got thirsty enough that I quickly got over that! Once we got back to the IHOP line (there were no pictures taken on this first segment of the dive), we dropped our stages and picked up the full ones, and moved the jump spool over to the Dark Side of the Moon line. I decided on this dive that the plan was a bit flawed in the sense that we didn't start taking pictures until more than 2 hours into the dive. I was getting tired and just not feeling very patient about posing for the camera :) We had been led to believe that this line was more photogenic than the path to the Blue Abyss. I am not convinced that that is so, however. There were some very nice sections of DSotM, but they were interrupted by not very beautiful sections. However, looking at the pictures, there were clearly some really nice spots! The slave strobe makes a huge difference. I thought the pictures looked great, but there were clearly a few things to tweak (like my trim, which led the slave strobe to light the floor behind me, not the wall in a few of the pics :P).

I eventually thumbed the dive because I was getting tired and my feet were a bit sore. We took a few more pics on the way out. By the time we got back to the stages we had dropped, I was totally not in the mood to swim two slightly positive stages out. That cavern line just kept going and going :) About 5 or 10 minutes from the end of the dive, my light crapped out again. This was seriously anomalous, since I was using a 10W lighthead (since I knew my 21W would not give a long enough burn time for this dive) and it lasted a bit under three and a half hours, on a battery that usually lasts 3 hours with my 21W. I guess the battery didn't get a good charge or something. After packing up, we headed to EE to get tanks for tomorrow. Then we headed down to Tulum to have some empanadas with Kevin at Buenos Aires. I was very sad that they did not have the blue cheese and chorizo empanadas :( Maybe next time.


Hks said...

This is so beautiful! Remember those you love

Unknown said...

Hi Allison--we're visiting Tulum, diving, and plan to dive to Blue Abyss and Dark Side of the Moon tomorrow. I've been to Blue Abyss a couple of times before but not DSOM; is that off the Princessa line? Anyway, looking forward to it.


Allison said...

Barbara, I'm not really sure what the lines are called. So the description I gave in this post is all I got :) Have fun!