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Friday, September 12, 2014

CENOTE JAILHOUSE “The Muknal Siphon Area”

16Q 0448796 UMT 2232419
N°20 18.832” W° 87 48.985”

The land owner is Jose Ismael Poot Cahuich.    The maximum depth is 124 feet/37.5 meters.

This cenote is located in a surface drainage area that was once surrounded by barb wire to keep cows from falling in.  The land owner has cleared most of the jungle surrounding the cenote and has constructed a stone wall on the south side.  There are two equipment tables available along with QRSS map on display under a glass frame underneath a papala roof to protect it from the rain.  There are stone steps along the pathway to the water.


The basin is clear water from late October to early April and usually brown algae water the rest of the year.  Once a group of cave divers enter the water the basin will usually turn to muck.  The permanent line begins tied to a log at the surface on the left side from where you enter the water.   Follow the string into a small opening (not a restriction) and immediately the line turns right down a steep slope of organic slit debris.  If not gentle with your buoyancy you will make a mess. At a depth of 40 feet/12.2 meters there will be a permanent “T” intersection with two white arrows pointing back to the surface.  To the right is the upstream section of the area.  To the left is the downstream area.  Swim about 250 feet/76 meters and you find two offshoot lines on the right side.  The offshoot line that heads to the right is a shortcut to the incredible deep saltwater line.  The offshoot line to the left is another shortcut line and will take you to the beginning of the saltwater area.  Jump across and swim right about 100 feet/30.5 meters and then jump left 50 feet/15.2 meters and you enter the beautiful Swiss Siphon passage.

There are no bathroom facilities.

This cave was connected into the massive Ox Bel Ha cave system by Steve Bogearts on March 28th, 2011 with the help of Bil Philips.  (Read story in the Exploration Chapter)

There is a beautiful cartography map of this cenote and the surrounding area drawn by Jim Coke and is available through the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


16Q 0442844 UMT 2231653
16Q 0442932 UMT 2231628  (at Cenote)
N°20 17.814” W°87 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.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Daredevil cave divers exploring depths across Nullarbor Plain

John Vanderleest
Cave diver John Vanderleest explores the underwater caverns of WA's Nullarbor. Picture:
DAREDEVIL divers are exploring remote underground caves across the Nullarbor Plain, swimming below millions of tonnes of rock where one mistake can prove fatal.
But they say taking the ultimate risk is worth it to pioneer a world most of us will never see, in water so stunningly clear that it is "the closest you can come to being an astronaut on Earth".
Their view backs up Lonely Planet's list of top dive spots which shows WA's Nullarbor ahead of the Great Barrier Reef.
While that outraged tourism bosses in Queensland, a hard-core club of about 50 WA cave divers say Lonely Planet was right to name Cocklebiddy Cave, 1150km east of Perth, as one of the world's top-10 dive locations.
"You shine your light and it is so magnificently clear it makes a swimming pool seem murky," Nullarbor veteran and Cave Divers Association of Australia director John Vanderleest said.
"You can't articulate how crystal clear it is. You're floating in a giant cave that's so crystal clear you don't even realise you're underwater. It's like you're floating in space."
And it's almost as dangerous as a trip to outer space.
More than 90m below ground, divers are beneath millions of tonnes of rock. And at 6.5km long, Cocklebiddy Cave is the longest underwater passage in the country, up to several hundred metres wide, along a fault line in the biggest slab of limestone on the planet.
In 1972 and 1973, at least eight people died cave-diving in Australia, prompting the formation of the cave divers association and the introduction of a permits and a training system that has kept fatalities to two since then.
That record was almost ruined in 1988 when producer Andrew Wight led a Nullarbor cave-diving expedition and a freak storm caused the entrance to collapse, leaving 15 people trapped underground.
A rescue mission was mounted and everyone survived in a harrowing ordeal that inspired the movie Sanctum.
So mysterious are the world's giant, flooded underwater caverns, the Maya believed the entrances to them to be portals to the underworld.
"It's an unforgiving sport. You can't afford mistakes. If anything goes wrong, you have to deal with it underwater," Mr Vanderleest said.
He said the Nullarbor's six regularly dived caves were among the most popular in the country for Australia's small and highly trained group of cave divers, who number about 800, including up to 70 in WA.
Phenomenal visibility is the result of artesian basin water that has taken thousands of years to filter through the limestone surface layers, the cave divers association's scientific officer, Ian Lewis, said.
And exploring the underwater realm isn't cheap.
"A re-breather will be $12,000-$15,000, an underwater scooter $5000, but people don't mind the expense because when your life is reliant on equipment, you don't want an old VW, you want a Ferrari," Mr Vanderleest said.
Perth diver Craig Challen holds the "crown of Cocklebiddy" for going deeper than anyone to the end of the cave system, where it branches into several tight passages. Another Perth legend of the sport is Paul Hosie, who has mapped more than 15km of virgin cave-diving passages in the Nullarbor and elsewhere.
Fellow diver Geoff Paynter has tackled Cocklebiddy more than a dozen times since it was discovered in the '70s.
He said most West Australians had no idea that the treasure existed.
"People are literally driving over the top on their way to Perth or Adelaide and they don't realise what's below," he said.

Four die after panic set in during scuba dive at popular Italian resort

A British scuba diver was one of four to die after becoming trapped in a submerged cave near the tourist Italian port of Palinuro at the weekend the coastguard revealed.

Divers and Coast Guard personnel at Palinuro in Italy
Divers and Coast Guard personnel during recovery operations of the four drowned divers at Palinuro in Italy Photo: EPA
Douglas Rizzo, who was born in London but had been living in Rome, is believed to have been the leader of a party of divers who lost their bearings after kicking up mud from the floor of the "Blood Grotto", a popular destination with amateur divers because of its red walls, caused by a bacterial growth.
According to Italian investigators the group missed the exit to the cave after becoming confused and instead entered a nearby tunnel which led to a chamber with a dead end.
An Italian magistrate has opened an inquiry into the accident at the seaside resort south of Naples. Authorities identified the victims as Rizzo, 41, who leaves a wife and six-month old son, Andrea Pedroni, 40, from Rome, Greek-born Panaiotis Telios, 23, from Reggio Calabria, and Susy Covaccini, 36, also from Rome.
Massimo Ruggiero, the coastguard commander in Palinuro, said: "The entrance to the cave is through a tunnel at a depth of 13 to 14 metres. The group should then have swum up to a higher tunnel and made their exit from the cave through that.
"Beneath this channel there is another tunnel that leads to a dead end in a chamber with a sandy floor. All the victims were found there."
Marco Sebastiani, one of four other divers who survived the tragedy said he realised something was wrong when he saw their guide showing signs of agitation, but at that point it was too late.
"We suddenly found ourselves in a blind tunnel. We couldn't see anything. At that point it was panic. The agitation of the least experienced took hold. Mud and sand came up from the bottom of the cave and visibility was gone," Mr Sebastiani told Il Messaggero newspaper.
"At a certain point I managed to find my way. I took as many people as I could with me and we swam towards the light, which grew bigger all the time. When I came up, I looked around to count us and I realised that Susy, Andrea, Douglas and Panos weren't there."
Roberto Navarra, the diving school owner who provided the group's equipment, confirmed yesterday (Sunday) that four of the group had swum into the wrong tunnel.
"It's an easy cave but there is a dangerous tunnel that people never use. Four people swam into that channel," Mr Navarra told reporters.
He said he had tried repeatedly to save the missing divers but "the visibility was terrible. You could see nothing".
Mr Navarra said the group was correctly equipped and carried torches. "Unfortunately there was not one, but an incredible series of negative circumstances. Now we are all shocked and saddened."
Valter Ciociano, an expert diver from nearby Marina di Camerota, said many of the 35 underwater caves that draw divers to the area have muddy bottoms. "Often when you go in, the water is clear and you don't notice that your flippers are muddying the water behind you, creating what seems an impenetrable wall. On these occasions it's panic that rules the day."
The underwater caves do sometimes contain small air pockets under the roof, but experts say they are no guarantee of safety. In many cases the air would not be breathable because of the presence of poisonous hydrogen sulphide fumes.
turday 6 September 2014

Rescuers continue efforts to recover body of cave diver

Barry Duggan

PUBLISHED07/09/2011 | 05:00
01OF 4
Cave diving trainer Artur Kozlowski, from Shankill, Dublin, whose body was discovered in a cave network near Kiltartan in Co Galway last night
Efforts will resume today to recover the body of a diver who died exploring a cave in Co Galway.
The alarm was raised when Artur Kozlowski, (34), a Polish man who was one ofIreland’s most experienced cave divers, failed to resurface from a diving trip in a flooded inland cave on Monday night.
Members of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation located his body last night, nearly 24 hours later, about 52 metres down in the deepest section of the cave.
They plan to bring it to the surface during the day.
Mr Kozlowski had been living in Ireland for a number of years and held several records in Ireland and Britain, including one for the longest and deepest cave traverse of 103 metres.
He had enough oxygen to last more than six hours when he went into the water at Pollonora cave, Kiltartan about two and a half miles north of Gort at 3pm on Monday.
His close friend and experienced diver Jim Warney found the Polish national's body in an underwater passage at around 6pm yesterday.

It took Mr Warney an hour to dive to the narrow passage where the victim lay with his oxygen tanks and guide rope fully attached.
The location where he was found is almost a kilometre from the access point to the cave and is 52 metres deep.
The family of the diving training instructor in Poland were informed of his death shortly after the search diver returned to the surface.
The rescue team has now requested the assistance of a UK dive rescue unit to assist in the recovery of Mr Kozlowski's body.
Mr Kozlowski was on the final day of an underground expedition when he vanished.
The Polish national was regarded as the most prominent cave diver in the country -- and it was hoped that he had sought sanctuary in an air pocket in the extensive underground cave network.
Originally from Poznan in Poland, Mr Kozlowski lived in Shankill, Dublin, and was known to his Irish friends as Artur Conrad.
He arrived at the rural location in Co Galway on Saturday, and spent Sunday diving, before going underground for a final exploration on Monday.
Mr Warney's search last night was his second dive in less than 24 hours, having spent Monday night searching after the alarm was raised.
After two divers searched an initial 350 metres to no avail, Mr Warney examined an un- searched area of the 800 metre-wide cave which is 52 metres deep.
Conor McGrath of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation said a considerable air space had been discovered halfway into the underground cave and that they had hoped to uncover more. "The air space is near the surface so that gives us hope that the cave may have more similar air spaces and that he is in one of them," Mr McGrath said before the discovery of the diver's body.
"He is very experienced. He has very good equipment, very good training and very good knowledge. He is the only one who has been into this cave to its known limits,"
All five divers involved in yesterday's search were friends of Mr Kozlowski. A quantity surveyor by trade, he had been living in Dublin since 2006 and began cave diving in 2007.
Friends said he quickly became involved in all aspects of cave diving and soon opened his own training company.
In 2008, he recorded the deepest underwater cave dive in Ireland and the UK at Pollatoomary, Co Mayo.
For the past two years he had extensively explored the vast underground cave network in south Galway.
Tom Nolan (86) of Croker House in Kiltartan, Co Galway, had known Mr Kozlowski since he first explored the cave at the rear of the family home in 2007.
Mr Kozlowski became a familiar face at the the bed and breakfast. "He'd come and ask: 'What room am I in? I'll dress the bed myself'.
"He arrived on Saturday night and was diving Sunday and Monday.
"On Monday he told my son, John, that he was going for the last stage. He wanted to see if he could connect this with the caves in the Burren. If so, it would be the biggest underground cave network in Europe.
Artur was underground there one day and he could hear this noise," said Mr Nolan.
"He checked all his gear to see if there was something wrong and couldn't figure out where the noise was coming from.
"He kept listening though and eventually figured out it that the noise was from the traffic on the road above him. That is how big it is underground here."
Irish Independent
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Diver calm to end as death closed in

Agnes Milowka
Cave diver Agnes Milowka.
CAVE diver Agnes Milowka remained calm until her last breath as she tried to find her way to the surface.
Dr Richard Harris, a close friend of 29-year-old Ms Milowka, says she didn't panic in her final moments.
He is part of the team trying to clear the way for police divers to retrieve her body from Tank Cave, near Millicent.
Dr Harris, who had seen Ms Milowka's body submerged under 20m of water in a tight section of the cave about 550m from the entrance, said she was not trapped before her death.
He said Ms Milowka, who worked as a stunt diver for James Cameron's movie Sanctum, had ran out of air and suffocated after becoming disoriented.
She was separated from her diving partner and later became lost after stirring up silt from the cave walls and floor.
"It looks like she has remained very calm right to the last breath while she's been working at extricating herself," close friend and state safety officer Dr Harris said.
"She couldn't see anything and she's been unable to quite work out the way to try to get out of the cave and she's run out of air."
He said cave diving accreditation was sufficient and the sport should not be banned despite the death.
Adelaide-based Dr Harris said the sport had an enviable safety record with only two deaths from cave diving in the area since 1984.
He said Ms Milowka - a marine archaeologist - was at the "leading edge" of the sport and respected worldwide for her diving skills.
Her "aggression" in the winding and narrow tunnels might have cost her life, after venturing into "a very narrow, rocky piece of passage," which took divers about an hour to reach, he said.
"There was no room in there for two people so she was by herself. To dive by yourself under certain situations is acceptable in this sport," he said.
Ms Milowka, who had explored Tank Cave many times, was reported missing about 1.45pm on Sunday.
Her friends and fellow expert cave divers had since worked non-stop to recover her body.
On her website, Ms Milowka called Tank Cave a "spider web gone wild".
"The walls and roof to begin with are quite soft and squishy, which means that large chunks of the roof rain down on you as you exhale and the visibility is quickly reduced to zero," she said.
"This is not only a hazard when coming back out through the small restrictions, but it also means that this section of the cave is particularly fragile and needs to be handled with a bit of tender love and care."
Divers recorded a video of the path to Ms Milowka yesterday, which convinced experts that it was possible to retrieve the body.
The retrieval team discounted the idea of a drilling through about 15m of earth above Ms Milowka to recover her body, but were hopeful it would be brought to the surface today.
The divers were working in pairs with a guide line from the cave's entrance and had positioned emergency tanks along the route to their deceased friend.
Dr Harris said Ms Milowka was a "very vivacious, out-going woman with a huge smile" who was passionate about cave diving and would be missed.
"She was someone who would light up the room; a big personality," he said. "Everyone in the cave diving community in Australia knows Agnes or has heard of her.
"The international cave diving community as well, especially the US where she worked and dived for a while, as well (will grieve her death).
"She's been a part of a lot of international diving projects and documentaries."
Underwater hell: Man trapped for 20h in cave
The coast north of L'Estartit in Catalonia. File photo: Hector García

Underwater hell: Man trapped for 20h in cave

Published: 21 Jul 2014 11:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Jul 2014 11:17 GMT+02:00
Three divers, aged in the 50s and 60s, had been diving just north of the Catalan port of L'Estartit on Saturday when they found themselves trapped in the cave , Spain's El Periódico newspaper reported.   
One of the men managed to escape and informed emergency services who rushed to the scene.
Divers with Spain's Civil Guard police force found one of the men had already died.
The other diver, however, had managed to find an air bubble, and was "hanging onto life by a thread", police said.
A difficult rescue followed, with heavy seas meaning police divers were forced to submerge 12 times in a bid to extricate the man from the cave.
The man was finally rescued at 5pm on Sunday after being trapped for 20 hours.
The search for the deceased man has been postponed until Monday because of difficult conditions.
It is not yet known how the two men became trapped.