It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Crack at Naharon

We were still without Kevin today and fairly without a plan too.  Our fallback was to go back to Gran Cenote and go toward Calimba. Naharon was on the radar too but Rob wanted to scooter it. So we stopped at ZG and they had two T16s all charged up and ready to go, so it was settled (actually first there was a quiz about gas planning which I guess we passed). We got a briefing on the workings of the T16, which I had never used before.  Neither had Rob, though he has driven an XK1 which has a similar interface.  We told Chris where we wanted to go, to the crack back there, and he told us that we would eventually hit a T and he recommended going right there.  Apparently the left side ends after not too long plus he said if we liked the earlier part of the tunnel, we'd like the right.

When we got to Naharon, we were the only dive team. There were a couple of locals there swimming but overall it was pretty dead.  The stairs we used last time were in disrepair so we just used the little wall that drops into the water for our entry (we stood our tanks up on the wall and got into them there).  After unloading all of our tanks and setting up gear, I realized that I had pulled the ultimate John Heimann... I forgot my undergarment!  After debating our options, we managed to cobble together makeshift undergarments between our base layers and Rob's "undergarment" (which is really just a heavier base layer). I ended up pretty comfy and Rob... did not. But it was at his insistence.  Somehow Rob led the dive, even though I guess it was technically my turn. The plan was to go up to the crack and then hit Southwest and/or Southern Sacbe on the way out.

We stopped at our primary tie so that Rob could install the strobe on my tanks. Then we stopped again at the stick around 30' to ditch our O2 bottles and then we headed to the mainline, which we sort of missed to the left. Then we headed to the Descondido (or whatever it is called) line, which in hindsight we should have just run the reel directly to. Then we finally got going.  I really liked riding the T16. I love the trigger... It is way more ergonomic than either the X or the Gavin trigger mechanism. And the T16 is easy to maneuver, perhaps even more so than my Sierra, though I didn't really notice any stability problems that typically go along with maneuverability.  Anyhoo, we quickly blew past the SW Sacbe jump and before you know it, we were riding the halocline for a while. I was rather amused to see the hazy water spewing from the back of Rob's scooter as it chewed up the halocline and spit it out. Thanks to the ease of maneuverability, I only had to briefly go off the trigger once or twice as we passed between speleothems.  And through the first dome, but that was more of a buoyancy/ear clearing thing.

Before you know it, we were at the base of the chute up to the second dome, where we planned to drop the scooters. I backed off a bit so we wouldn't be all piled up, though ended up in the haze of the halocline trying to clip stuff to the line. We left our first stage bottles with the scooters, even though they had a lot of gas left, because it was convenient and was part of our contingency gas for the scooters.  The path to the second dome is a little bit cozier than I remembered. Also once we were past the dome, the descent through the halocline and turn in the line was sooner than I remembered. We quickly came to the jump we were looking for and had no trouble recognizing it.

Rob installed the jump and I switched over to my video reflector and whipped out the hero cam. I decided to video from behind today, since Rob waggling his light around behind me was problematic yesterday.  Rob was also shooting some pictures, which was awkward since I found myself switching light reflectors a bunch, since I think the regular one looks better in pictures. Eventually I decided to just put the camera and video reflector away, so Rob could do his thing. My clearest memory of this passage from the last time we dove it is based on the pictures of it that appeared in one of Rob's calendars.  So based on that, I didn't remember how much decoration is in there. I think of the passage as being mostly the rough cheesy textured walls, but these parts of the passages are broken up by more decorated patches. We came to the T and jumped right. The passage beyond that seemed a bit more decorated, but otherwise pretty similar. We made it about 15 minutes beyond the T.  Just before I turned it, we were in a little vestibule before the passage sort of narrowed and went a bit deeper, around some formations. Rob started gesticulating some very complicated combination of hand signals that involved me staying, him going, video, and light.   Then he scurried down through the passage ahead. I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be doing, so I shot a little video and then followed him. I guess this was mostly what I was supposed to do. It was a bit silty in this narrower part. I turned the dive a moment later so I don't know if it opened back up or what.

On the way out there were more photos and a bit more video too. Because of this, Rob led on the way out too (until we got back to the Descondido line).  The passage was a little chalky in some areas on the way out. When we got back to the spool, I passed Rob so I could get some video of him cleaning up the spool. He loves taking pictures of me doing stuff like that so it was payback time!  After that was cleaned up, we headed out, after a brief stop to doodle around with the hero cam in the halocline.  Then we passed through the dome, and I had trouble clearing my ears on the way back down. I had to go back up to the top of the dome and try again. When we got out, we retrieved our gear; mine was annoying to retrieve in the halocline (I can only blame myself, for dropping it there!). We headed out, with me now in the lead (woohoo).

When we got to the SW Sacbe jump, we dropped some bottles and our scooters and I tied the spool in.  I headed down toward the jump, and couldn't clear my ears. I tried again and then handed the spool off to Rob. I tried again, even more slowly and just couldn't get below 38 feet!  Meanwhile Rob had finished installing the jump, though it was all for naught. I thumbed it and we headed out :(. After a short deco, we eventually surfaced to a few more swimmers in the water.  After we got out of the water, I decided to join them. This was a convenient way to cool off while retrieving bottles. I think Naharon is a great swimming hole... The water is nice and clear but the site isn't super built up and touristy (like Nohoch or Gran). It actually still resembles "nature".

Amazingly, I wasn't super hungry after the dive, I guess because we scootered. So we headed back to ZG instead of eating in Tulum.

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