Category — DPV

A lot going on – keeping busy

The last weeks have been awesome, it started of with a basic Sidemount course, followed by a CCR experience, a multistage course, then Basic Cave DPV, an Intro to Cave course, taking some pictures with Matt and some guided CCR cave diving … I really like to do different things, so a schedule like this is just perfect for me.

First on the list was Tristan who lives and works here in Playa and felt it was time to expand his horizon and move into sidemount diving. First step was to work on a rig and after listing up his different options he decided to go with a basic webbing harness and a modified recreational bcd on top as buoyancy device. We used to first day for theory, talking about equipment, gas management, some history, benefits and dangers of sidemount diving among other things. The afternoon was spend with configuration and some time in the pool to fine tune the rig.


On the next day we went to Cenote Xtabay, to work on buoyancy, trim, fining techniques, equipment familiarity and zero visibility procedures. A very long day with hours in the water but leaving with a streamlined rig that started to be more and more an extension of Tristan’s body.
On the last day we went to Cenote Chac Mool to dive in low ceiling cave to show how easy and fast you can move in a sidemount configuration in passages that would really slow you down diving in backmount.

The very next day, I spent with Arthur who had just finished his cave course with Nando but wanted to try out CCR diving before going back to Poland. For his try out he chose the Classic Kiss . We met in the morning and I started with some basics on ccrs, different types and units, potential hazards and advantages over OC diving. Later we went to Ponderosa where he had the chance after some basic exercises to swim the unit in the open water and make his first bubble free experience underwater.


Right after that the finish invasion started with Lauri who came in from cold Helsinki to further his knowledge and experience in cave diving with a stage multistage course followed by a basic cave dpv course. A really perfect combination since it follows the principal of progressive penetration.
There are many different schools of thought coming from different point of views, environments, agencies and other ideas and so the first step always has to be to analyze and review them and see which one fits best ones believes. These also may change with time and from one environment to the next and so to be open minded and willing to try different things is the key in my opinion.
The main  topics for the two courses definitely should be different rules of gas management, streamlining of gear, team protocols, zero visibility training including pick up and switching, different failures and the response to these failures and then just train, train, train.
We definitely had a cool time and did some super nice long dives where one drill followed the next keeping us busy and alert. Lauri handled everything I was throwing at him from out of gas drills to zero viz having to pick up and switch to stages with his eyes closed while staying in contact with the team retrieving his scooter while lights out then towing and pushing fellow divers with dpv malfunctions and  all of that several thousand feet back in a cave. He mastered the techniques  necessary for long penetrations understanding the risk of these dives and accepting to start slow and never making too big steps. Now it is up to him to stay sharp and to adapt the skills learned in the Mexican caves to  the cold mine diving he is doing back home.

A couple of days later the finish invasion continued with Veli, Mia, Saara and Miksu that all came to do their intro to cave training with Matt and I. Although we had to fight with sickness and cancel sightseeing trips we fought our way through and at the end all four left as certified intro to cave divers.   I also had the chance to take Miksu and Saara on some guided dives afterward where they finally had the chance to try the learned outside the course environment. We went to places like Nohoch and Dos Ojos which are famous for their beautiful decorations.

Having some days off in between Matt and me took the opportunity to go and take some pictures  in Grand Cenote … here a little taste:


Finally I had the great pleasure to take Dr. Mel Clark on some guided ccr cave diving. Having been sick before I wasn´t quiet 100%  but to be around an energetic and fun person like her immediately made me feel better. She was packing her revo ccr and a camera and so we went for some longer dives taking what felt to me like 1000s of pictures. First day we were out at Cenote Pet Cemetery to dive both lines towards the blue abyss and a bit beyond. On the second dive we where joined by Michael another ccr diver with a Megalodon that made our team complete.
The day after we went to Mayan Blue to dive from B tunnel to E and F and finally back over towards A after the T. One of my absolute favorite dives!!!!
Definitely cool  to hang out with her and share experiences and discuss some different ideas, great time!

So that’s it, a short report on what I did the last weeks and maybe it also explains why I didn’t sit down in the evening to write about it, I was a bit exhausted =)

Thank you very much to all the divers that gave me the opportunity to show them a little bit of my world, it was a great to meet and dive with you. Hope to see you all back here soon!!!


January 18, 2010   No Comments

One Polish Group, 6 Dpvs and a 17km dive!

This project has been long time in the making. October 2008 was the first time Leszek and his guys where diving with me, only a couple of days to get back into Mexican cave diving. In February 2009 the team was back with a bunch of brand new Cuda dpvs and ready to scout dos ojos to see how the lines had changed since there last project in 2005. It was also used to train their side mount techniques utilizing multiple scooters and stages.
Now in October 2009 almost exactly 4 years later they had assembled a strong 7 man team to try and push their old distance. The first days where used for scouting as well as establishing procedures and protocols for the team. Leszek also tried different equipment configurations to determine which would work the easiest for his 10h run time. He went from back mount to side mount and even tried a “quad” (4 tanks on the back) but ended up deciding that side mount with additional stages would be the best compromise given that he was diving solo and the passage seize especially downstream of cenote monolito.

In the same time other team members where locating and cutting trails to different cenotes which would be used as possible bail out points. The day after the whole team including 4 Sherpa where taking off to cenote kentucky castle 1.3km in the dense jungle to scout the lines around this area as well as leaving some equipment staged for the big dive.

The day after we decided to take a brake and relax a little, which also gave me the time to prepare some   custom gas blends for the deep dives that followed in the Pit. These deep dives where the last missing puzzle pieces for the declared long distance dive that would start off with a deep drop at the short line right under the cenote.

Everyday passed in a very relaxed atmosphere with plenty of laughter and good spirits. Always with a cooler full of drinks and food and hammocks for the surface support to relax while waiting for the dive teams.

Finally the day had arrived and we started our day early at Cenote The Pit. In the days before we had finished dropping tanks, scooters and lights at predetermined locations through out the cave which would enable Leszek to travel the 17km without ever having to surface.
He started his journey with a drop to 72m before exchanging tanks in the dome and then taking off towards the passage named link. After reaching the end of the line there, he turned around and passed the pit once more on his way to tikin chi and afterwards to Cenote Kentucky Castle. There a team was positioned which informed the rest of us when Leszek was passing by. Then he made his way towards Cenotes M1 and M2 but was forced to turn as a collapse had made the passage too small for him to pass. Now he was on his way downstream and followed the lines up to the end of the LSD area and back. He was making good speed, reaching every waypoint at almost the exact previewed runtime. Half way through he passed the Main Entrance of Dos Ojos and now continued downwards to Cenote Monolito passing several other Cenotes on the way. There he changed his gear to slim down for the restrictions lying ahead. After almost reaching Cenote Hilario he truned back and finally surfaced slightly tired but happy in Cenote Esteban where the team greeted him and took his gear for the final 500m walk back to the cars. It was almost 10 o’clock at night and his Liquivision X1 marked exactly 558min after submerging.

A great achievement and the perfect end for an awesome project that lasted at the end for 12 days. I really had a nice time with genuine people that always smile and joke even after a 90min hike through the jungle with a 30kg backpack and 1.2million mosquitoes chasing them.


The team:
Leszek – dive leader
Remek – main support diver
Cisek – rescue expert and support diver
Mirek – support diver
Bogush – surface support and protection =)
Richard – surface support and equipment expert
Waldek – surface support and equipment expert
Patrick – logistics, transport and diving safety officer
Lucio – Equipment transport at Pit

This will definitely not be the last you heard from this extraordinary team as future projects are already planned.

November 15, 2009   2 Comments