Dos Ojos Cave Dive
Mike, my cave instructor, had to run off and teach a trimix class the next day, so we were diving with Bernie Carrion, a very pleasant and talented young lady. My dive buddy "Junior" was feeling better and had decided he was going to dive with us today. We drove to Dos Ojos pretty early in the morning to try and beat the crowds and dropped into the main Cenote (the East Eye), and went through our equipment matching and S-drills with Bernie as this was our first dive with her. We then descended and proceeded down the Cavern line at quite a fast pace as Bernie wanted to get back to the Cave zone as soon as possible. Just as we were passing the "West Eye” of Dos Ojos, Tani signaled that he was in too much pain to continue. The whole team surfaced in the West Eye and discussed our options. We decided to let Tani get out of the water, and we told him to leave his gear there so we could haul it up later and that Bernie and I would proceed with our dive as planned.
The two of us descended and ran a primary reel from the cenote to the center upstream cave line (sometimes called the “slot line”). Dos Ojos is a beautiful cavern, and I was fortunate enough to have done the cavern here 3 times previously, and was not disappointed by the Cave zone. I was a bit surprised at how the ceiling dropped down such that much of our dive was spent in very wide rooms that were barely tall enough to swim in comfortably. I had to really watch the height of my fins while frog kicking to make sure my tips didn’t brush any of the decorations.
I enjoyed the dive, and Bernie frequently stopped to point out the highly decorated features of the cave. Eventually, we reached the end of the line, and only a few inches away was another line, that we jumped to and started heading off to the left. Eventually, we figured out we had jumped to the IMAX line and here heading back downstream, so Bernie called the dive and we made our way back to Dos Ojos. I surfaced with my dive computer just hitting 100 minutes of bottom time, and a big, silly grin on my face because of the excellent dive. Bernie did a debrief and suggested I use my rear pull dump more than my inflator, which turned out to be very good advice.
We found Tani up at the truck, with his gear, and changed out our tanks. For our second dive, we entered the West Eye of Dos Ojos, and went upstream on the IMAX line. If you have seen the amazing caves IMAX video (or the The Cave movie), you have an idea on how incredibly beautiful this area of the cave system is. It amazed me that Wes Skiles and his crew had been able to film this section using a giant IMAX camera and surface powered lights. We passed beautiful formations and gorgeous decorations, and eventually made our way to the place we had jumped to on the previous dive, so yes, that had been the IMAX line we jumped to before. We passed the jump and continued on down the Imax line for a while, but I called the dive on time a bit early, as I know Tani wasn’t doing very well, and wanted to let him get back to the hotel and get healthy. I practiced with my rear dump valve on the way back and found this to work much better than lifting the inflator when in a tight area. Thanks Bernie!
More pictures from the Dos Ojos Cavern Zone can be found here.