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Monday, August 31, 2015

My book will be published this month, September, 2016.  It is 640 pages containing 12 chapters of tremendous information.  Page Publishing of New York City is the publisher and it will distributed as an eBook and a hard copy.  It will distributed through all the major book companies such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. and through 50 different countries.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

                            My Primer

                                   Michael Meduno

     Cave diving in Mexico has come a long way since the 1980s when explorers like Sheck Exley, Ned Deloach, Karen Pribble, and later, Mike Madden and Parker Turner first put the Yucatán on the map. Today, three decades later, the so-named Riviera Maya, which runs along the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula in Quintana Roo bordered by the Caribbean coastline has arguably become the mecca of the cave diving world with over one thousand cenotes from over 330 distinct underwater cave systems containing more than 30,611,517 ft (9,330,390 m) as of June, 2015 of surveyed line.

     To put these numbers into perspective, that’s nearly 5,798 mi or 9,331 km of known passageway, and exploration continues to this day. In fact, Riviera Maya contains nine of the ten longest underwater caves in the world, and explorers expect to extend the two largest systems Sistema Ox Bel Ha (843,654 ft [257,146 m]) and Sistema Sac Actun (810,714 ft [247, 106 m]) as of May, 2015 to over one million feet each underwater within the next few years.

     More amazing, explorers are still making major finds, such as the 2007 discovery of Hoyo Negro or black hole, a 200 ft (61 m) wide, 187 ft (57.6 m) deep chamber located at Cenote Ich Balam (the Jaguar Eye), which may be the most important Paleo-Indian site discovered in the last few decades. And dry cavers are now journeying to the peninsula to undertake karst explorations of their own, deeper into the Mayan jungle.

     This mind-boggling pace of discovery is one of the reasons that sixty-two-year old educator, explorer, guide, author, and underground photographer Steve Gerrard decided to update and expand his original Cenotes of Riviera Maya guidebook (February 2000), which sold more than eight thousand copies. This new e-book edition Cenotes of the Riviera Maya 2016 leads the adventurous reader further into the field and details some of the amazing discoveries that have occurred over the last decade and a half. I can think of no better guide.

     Cave certified in 1975, Gerrard has been diving the cenotes of Riviera Maya since 1986. Following a dive at Carwash with Mike Madden and Parker Turner, the quiet-spoken explorer made his first exploration dive at Nahoch Nah Chich with Madden and Juan Jose Tucat, where the team laid nearly 2 km of line in Nahoch Nah Chich, setting the record at the time for longest surveyed line in a single cave dive. He continued to make pilgrimages to what was then regarded as cave diving’s frontier until 1992 when he packed up his gear and moved to Puerto Aventuras.

     Since that time, Gerrard, who has logged in excess of eight thousand cave dives, and trained more than three thousand cave and cavern students has dedicated his career to exploring, teaching and guiding divers through the Yucatan underground. In addition to Cenotes of the Riviera Maya, the veteran caver is the author of Cavern Diving Safe and Fun (2007) and coauthor of Cave Diving-Safe and Smart (2008) published by the Professional Scuba Association International (PSAI). His cave photography has been featured in more than fifty publications.

     In Cenotes of Riviera Maya 2016, Gerrard describes and highlights over 120 cave systems nearly three times the number of systems in the original guidebook and almost ten times the number of cenotes. He has also added rich overlay of information about the Yucatan’s unique underwater discussion of the anthropologic finds and their significance by Jeronimo Aviles and Eugenio Acevez.       Sadly, the growth of surveyed passageway in Riviera Maya has accompanied an unprecedented explosion of population and its associated development along the Yucatan Peninsula. Sewage, nitrate runoff, and destruction of habitat have become major problems impacting numerous cave systems, which empty into the Caribbean Sea, and the coral reefs, many of which are dying.

     Gerrard’s book serves both to document the condition of the Riviera Maya’s cenotes today as well as drive home a strong conservation message to protect this unique and fragile environment for future generations of cave and cavern divers before it is too late. They have a saying among the Yucatan underground, “You don’t know if you don’t go.” My advice to divers is to get yourself down there, but be sure to read this e-book first!

Monday, January 19, 2015


      On Saturday, January 17, 2015 I had a great photo session at CENOTE NOHOCH NAH CHICH with MICHEL VAZQUEZ of Puerto Aventuras and JESUS GUSMAN of KOOX Diving in Tulum. The photo session started horribly as one of slave strobes would not fire and as I predicted as my models were ragged at the beginning. However, as we progressed they got better and better. It was the first time for both guys. After 30 shots, I stopped the dive on Ron's Line and somehow (miraculously) I got Jesus's slave strobe working...YAHOO! From there it just improved as we went along my route. Out of 280 shots, over 200 were keepers. CENOTE NOHOCH NAH CHICH has always been my favorite place for underwater cave photography.
An underwater cave photographer's paradise!
Photos by Steve Gerrard.

Friday, December 05, 2014

This is LENA ERICSON of Tulum, Q. Roo, Mexico working together with me as a team with a photo shoot on Friday, November 28, 2014 at SISTEMA CHI KEEN. When you do underwater cave photography, it is definitely working as a team to try to get good results. I always enjoy working with Lena as she definitely knows what she is doing.

16Q 0442844 UMT 2231653
16Q 0442932 UMT 2231628 (at Cenote)
N 20° 17.814’ W 087° 54.507’

The land owner is Delfino May. The total distance explored and surveyed is 16,377 feet/4992 meters. The maximum depth is 57 feet/17 meters. There are three cenotes located within this cave system.
It is located 4.5 kilometers south of Tulum on the west side of Tulum. Look for the Rancho 3 Reyes sign. Open the gate, drive through, close the gate and drive to the general parking area. Delfino will usually greet you and organize the transportation of your diving cylinders. It is a short hike on a well groomed path to a stairway leading down to the water. There is a map of the cave system posted at the beginning of the path.

There are no bathroom facilities.
The dive site fee is 200 pesos that includes carrying your tanks to the cenote.

The explorers were Victoria Alexandrova, Mauro Bordignon, Henrik Danielzon, Kim Davidsson, Henrik Farnbo, John Faulds, Sebastian Kister, Phillip Lehman, Pierre Montes, and Alvaro Roldan.

Photo by Steve Gerrard.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jeff Highley and Scott Banks of Long Beach, California during Friday afternoon, November 21, 2014 enjoying a GREAT dive at:
W 87.6276 / N 20.0614
The land owner is Senor Dzulo (the correct spelling) who sadly passed away during the spring of 2014. His family now operates the dive site. The family calls this cenote Cueva De Golondrinas – “Cave Of The Swallows”. The maximum depth is 89 feet/27.1 meters.
There are bathroom facilities available.
There is a dive site fee paid here.