Well, another great week spent viewing wet rocks.
Arrival couldn't have been easier -- we used Don's EasyWays car rental place and were VERY satisfied with them. We passed all the hurdles -- immigrations, customs, car pickup, grocery store -- with no issues, until we got to the condo and the key wasn't there. We called Debbie (the agent) who was, in fact, at DEMA; but ten minutes later we had a key, and a half hour later, a second one. A pretty minor bump!
More significant was that, despite the fact that I gave up my beloved usual condo in order to gain internet access, we had none. As it turned out, it was a Telmex problem that wasn't expected to get fixed (and wasn't) during our stay, so even the Pub had no wifi, as a consequence of which, we never set foot there. Thank goodness that Dive Aventuras had access, or Peter would have spontaneously combusted before the end of the trip.
We were delighted to discover that a big Chedraui is going in just across the highway from PA, but it wasn't open yet. And the small grocery store in PA was undergoing renovations (should be open soon, if not already) so we had no way to pick up the bread everybody forgot to buy for breakfast and sandwiches, once we ran out. But water was available at the deli place behind what used to be Richard's.
The new ZG fill station is lovely, and works quite well, once you figure out the rhythm of it. It was confusing at first, that it is open certain hours for swapping out tanks and other hours for fills of the tanks you HAVE, and the office is open the hours it used to be, which are not the hours the fill station is. But once you sort it out, it works. And they have HAND TRUCKS! No more dragging doubles in and out of the shop. My kind of lazy American housewife cave diving.
We started the trip with a lovely cruise around the Cuzan Nah loop, which was marked by my first brain fart of the week. We actually completed the circuit on thirds, and here I was, looking at our jump spool and thinking, "Well, Peter can just cruise up there and pull the spool, while we remain on the line," which appeared to be his idea, too . . . right up until I went to pull out my "exit" cookie, and remembered all the contrary arrows we had marked. I then had to signal him to stop, and indicated my cookie, which didn't convey anything to him except that I hadn't taken it off yet, so he continued what he was doing, which resulted in me pulling out the wetnotes. Ben was sitting there the whole time, bemused by the marital discussion, but said that, had it been anyone else, when the wetnotes came out, he would have thumbed the dive. But he knew we were prone to this kind of nonsense, so he put up with us.
The following day, the plan was to take Kevin's advice and go dive "upstream Dos Ojos". It sounded like a good idea, since I hadn't been IN Dos Ojos since the photo shoot with Danny following Cave 1. The problem was that we failed to ascertain which lines were "upstream", and when we asked people, we got a wide variety of incorrect responses. This resulted in Ben getting to have one of the quintessential Mexican cave experiences, which is the great line search. We found lines, quite a few of them, but none of them seemed to have anything to do with any going cave, and by the time we were working our way around to the end of the cenote that proved fertile, my ears had had it with going up and down in very shallow water, so I had to wave "bye-bye" to Ben and Peter, and they went and cave dove and I went up to the parking lot to watch cavern tour people head to the water, octopus regulators swaying gently as they walked.
The two spent some time trying to analyze the intersecting lines off the Barbie line, and seemed to enjoy what was, of course, a relatively short dive, since so much gas had been burned doing the cavern lines in perfect trim.
Saturday was our day of guided diving, which turned out to be with Danny. This was the first time I had been in the water with him since class, and I was wryly amused at how nervous I felt. We went to Dos Pisos, which I thought was beautiful. The dive begins with a fairly long, restricted passage, over coarse calcite "sand". It was the first time I had carried a stage through anything remotely that small, and it was definitely a learning experience. I found that, if I wrapped my arm around the stage to lift it, the body would come up but the nose would go down, and I managed to "tent stake" myself into the bottom more than once.
We did the jump into the room with the tree roots and fish, which was breathtaking. Then we did a very long upstream swim (we had stages) during which I proved to myself that I really SHOULD have practiced handling a stage before I left, and watched a team of sidemount divers choose probably the worst place in the entire passage to drop THEIR stages, in a field of thick mung. Memories of Cave 2 came pouring back . . . We didn't make it to the Dos Pisos cenote, and in fact had a bit of team separation at turn, which came in a narrow, switchback-filled section of cave, and resulted in a prolonged discussion at the end of the dive. Danny kept trying to stop it by saying there really was no point in trying to figure out who was responsible for what; the important thing was to put some kind of procedure in place to keep it from happening again. But since none of us was precisely sure WHAT happened, let alone HOW it happened, it was a bit difficult to figure out how to prevent it in the future, except to say that five people in a cave at once is too many people.
Sunday, we went to Jailhouse. Having had our way smoothed by Danny, there were no issues with picking up the key. The weather was perfect (it was amazingly cool throughout the entire trip) and there were NO bugs. I mean, none. Jailhouse, where I came out of my first dive with my eyes swollen shut, had no mosquitoes whatsoever. It made gearing up and getting in the water easy, and allowed us to lounge about a bit in the cenote before making the climb out of the water.
We did the Swiss Siphon, and I was pleased as punch that I remembered the entire route, and found the unmarked jump with no difficulties whatsoever. However, one of the lessons of the trip was that, if you put me in front and make me run line, my gas consumption is no longer as good as Ben's. Adding that to the fact that I consistently had 100 psi less than anybody else in my tanks, and poor Ben was subject to the disappointment of having me turn the dive and watch the "hoover" team go sailing past us.
That night, we had Lamont and Jen Bush and Steve Bogaerts over for dinner, and Peter managed to materialize an incredible spaghetti sauce out of virtually no ingredients. It was fun to sit and talk to Steve, and he made several comments that gave me food for thought over the next few days.