Cedam Dive Center
Puerto Aventuras
March/April 1997
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Dan Lins


Matt (the German)


Ponderosa Cenote


Ponderosa cavern entrance

This trip probably started many years ago when I was interested in caves and geology as a child. After watching the PBS special on the Nohoch Nah Chich cave system in the Yucatan for the third time, I really wanted to see the underwater caves. I had discovered Mike Madden's Cedam Dive Centers web sites (now dead links), and well, e-mail is a pretty cheap way to ask questions. It didn't take long for me to plan a trip with brother Mark this spring to see the cenotes, caverns and caves of the Yucatan.

We arrived in the 21st of March in time to ask a few questions and get familiar with the location of the facility. We started on the 22nd with a full day of lecture. Mike Madden stopped by to welcome us, and spent a while checking out gear that we would need the following day.

Our instructors were Chuck Stevens (NACD), whose team made the connection between the upstream parts of Nahoch and the ocean, and Dan Lins (NSS-CDS) who is also an explorer in the Nahoch system. Matt "the German", who is undoubtedly soon to be a cave diving instructor, assisted in our training.

The course was eight days in length for full cave certification, but the instuctors preferred a nine day program to allow a solid day of lecture on the first day. They started us on doubles on the first day of diving to give us the greatest amount of experience with them during the course. We unexpectedly had to wear a few pounds of lead with our thick wetsuits, and worked on our trim over a couple of days.

I was hoping to see some interesting scenery during the class, and was amazed at the variety of environments that were selected for us. We dove "Car Wash" (named because taxi drivers used to wash their cars there), Ponderosa, Taj Mahal, Chac Mol, and Naharon. Car Wash seemed to be a very good introduction to cavern diving, and a good place to practice reel work in the cenote. Ponderosa offered several interesting elements of typical environments including haloclines and their affect on visibility. Taj Majal offered decorated domes and opportunities to practice jumps between lines. Naharon was a dark, but decorated, cave because of the minerals deposited on the walls. Each environment was different, and offered its unique scenery. We didn't expect such a variation in sites, but our instructors wanted to make sure we were exposed to as much variation in environments as possible to enhance our education.

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Copyright © 1997 Randall C. Allen
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visitor # 3313 since 6/10/97