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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CAVE DIVING IN MUYIL, MEXICO

By Steve Gerrard, NACD & PSAI Instructor #39

Muyil (it is known by the Maya people as Chunyaxche) is the name of an archaeological Maya site and a village located about 20 twenty kilometers of the City of Tulum in the State of Quintana Roo along the western coast of the Caribbean on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.   It is within the boundaries of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. 
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was established on the 20th, January 1986 by presidential decree (under President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado) and became part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program that same year. In 1987 the reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sian Ka’an is approximately 1.3 million acres in size and spans 120 kilometers from north to south (comprising almost one third of the Caribbean coast of Mexico). In 1994 an area of over 200,000 acres to the south of the Reserve was named a protected area of Flora and Fauna of Uaymil, increasing the continuous area of protected land.
The Muyil archaeological site was inhabited by the Maya when people migrated from Peten, Guatemala during the fourth century AD.  Many artifacts and pottery that were found have been dated to as far back as the year 350 BC and remained inhabited until the years of 1200 – 1500.

The ruins of Muyil are an example of the architecture of the Peten region with some architectural resemblance to the ruins of Tikal of Guatemala. Its position in the lagoon of Sian Ka’an provided a strategic position on the trade route of the Maya people along the coast and through a network of waterways in this region of the Mexican Caribbean.

By order of the Ejido Chuyaxche the Muyil area caves are officially open for cave diving.  There is NO cavern diving in any of the cenotes of Muyil.  There is a cenote dive site fee for full day access to all Muyil caves with the fee paid to the Diconsa mini super market located directly across the street from the Muyil ruins entrance.  Muyil area caves include Sistema Nohoch Pek and Sistema Caterpillar.  The Secretary for the Ejido Chanyaxche and all annexes is Juan Bolotista Kau Cen. His phone number is 984 116 5292.

           
        

CENOTE BAMBI
The land owner is the Ejido Pino Suarez.  The linear distance explored and surveyed is 2753 feet/839.1 meters as of May, 2014.  The maximum depth is 70 feet/21.3 meters.

Drive to a trail approximately 100 meters pass the overhead sign shown below and turn right into a vacant field and continue following this jungle road for approximately two kilometers.  Park vehicle and hike another 160 meters and turn right (north).  It is 57 meters from the trail.            
             

             

The first explorers were Nadia Berni, Privett, Pye and David Sieff.

SISTEMA CATERPILLAR
The linear distance explored and surveyed is 44,134 feet/13452 meters as of April, 2014.  There are four cenotes located within this cave system.  They are Cenote La Bajada, Cenote Bobcat, Cenote Escamas, and Cenote Dzulo (Xulo).
The first explorers were Sebastian Kister and Rick Hakin.  Other explorers were Nadia Bernie, Mauro Bordignon, Kim Davidsson, Pietro Donaggio, Henrik Farnbo, J.F Huard, Philip Lehman, Jason Renoux, Alvaro Roldan, David Sieff, and Patrick Widmann.

CENOTE CATERPILLAR 
The land owner is the Ejido Chuyaxche.   The maximum depth of this area is 89 feet/27.1 meters.



Drive south of the village of Muyil on Highway 307 past the first curve and travel approximately a half of a kilometer.  Look for a road to the right and follow it a ½ kilometer and the jungle will open into a large unused limestone quarry.  You will find the opening on the far side.  The best dive is the “Ho Lee Sheet” passage.   There are two sets of ancient bear remains including very well preserved feet and claws.  Be sure to register with the Ejido Chuyaxche before you dive.

The dive site fee is paid at the Diconsa mini super market located directly across the street from the Muyil ruins entrance.                    

CENOTE DZULO (XULO) 
(CUEVA GOLONDRINAS)

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.

SISTEMA DOGGI

The linear distance explored and surveyed is 39,488 feet/12036 meters as of June, 2014.  The maximum depth is 48 feet/14.6 meters.   There are two cenotes located within this cave system.  They are Cenote Doggi and Cenote Style.   Side mount configuration ONLY is allowed.

The explorers were Victoria Alexandrova, Mauro Bordignon, Kim Davidsson, Pietro Donaggio, Santiago Pintado, Harry Gust, Sebastien Kister, Arnaud Leblant, Phillip Lehman, Ralph Naruszewicz, Alvaro Roldan, Jason Renoux, Alvaro Roldan, and Patrick Widmann.

 CENOTE DOGGI

The land owner is Jose Segoviano Martinez.  The maximum depth is 48 feet/14.6 meters.
This cenote is located within the village of Muyil ½ kilometer south of the Diconsa mini super market located directly across the street from the Muyil ruins entrance.  You take a right and drive back to a gate, unlock the gate with a key obtained at the Protec Dive Center in Tulum, enter, close the gate and drive to the “new” palapa and equipment tables constructed for cave divers.

  
There are bathroom facilities, equipment tables and palapa available.
The dive site fee is paid at the Protec Dive Center in Tulum and a Side mount certification card must be presented.

CENOTE STYLE
The land owner is the Ejido Chuyaxche.  The maximum depth is 48 feet/14.6 meters.


The dive site fee is paid at the Protec Dive Center in Tulum and a Side mount certification card must be presented.

SISTEMA DZONOT MUYIL

The land owner is Lic. Javier Tun Jimenez.  His email address is:  tunyasociades@hotmail.com  The linear distance explored and surveyed is 478 feet/145.7 meters.  The maximum depth is 27 feet/8.2 meters.
This is a small cave system that requires side mount configuration.


There are bathroom facilities available.
There is a user’s fee charged.
The explorer was Robbie Schmittner.
There is a cartography map produced Lucas Tietz and Roth.

SISTEMA KIIX PEPEM

The land owner is the Ejido Pino Suarez.  The linear distance explored and surveyed is 7092 feet/2161.6 meters.  The maximum depth is 44 feet/13.4 meters.  There are five cenotes within this cave system.   They are Cenote Kiix Pepem, Cenote Kiix Pepem, Cenote Sac Pepem, and two others.

This cave system is located west of the village of Muyil.
The first explorers were Natalie Gibb, Anders Knudsen and Vincent Rouquette-Cathela.

SISTEMA NOHOCH PEK     “BIG DOG”

The land owner is the Ejido Chuyaxche.   The linear distance explored and surveyed is 78,430 feet/23,905 meters.  The maximum depth is 61 feet/18.6 meters.  There are eight cenotes located within this cave system.  They are Cenote Alvaritos, Cenote Black Spyder, Cenote Quicky, Cenote Muk K’in, Cenote Rat’s Hole, Cenote Second Look and two more.
The explorers were Laurent Benoit, Mauro Bordignon, Kim Davidsson, Natalie Gibb, Harry Gust, Sebastien Kister, Anders Knudsen, Philip Lehman, Jason Renoux, Alvaro Roldan, Vincent Rouquette-Cathela, TristanTermat, and Patrick Widmann,


CENOTE MUK K’IN

The land owner is the Ejido Chuyaxche.   The maximum depth is 58 feet/17.7 meters.  This cenote was connected into Sistema Nohoch Pek on Friday, 30th, 2013.  Drive one block past the Diconsa mini super market located directly across the street from the Muyil ruins entrance.  Be sure to pay the dive site fee.  Drive west four blocks where the road ends and park your vehicle.  Hike back following the trail approximately 400 meters and look for path on the left side (south) and a short distance is the cenote.  The entry is side mount only.       

                
                                                    
 CENOTE NOHOCH PEK

The land owner is unknown.  The maximum depth is 58 feet/17.7 meters.   It is located by following the same path to Cenote Muk K’in but 200 meters closer to Highway 307.  Turrn south and hike ¾ of a kilometer.
                         
                                             
The dive site fee paid to the Diconsa mini super market located directly across the street from the Muyil ruins entrance.
The first explorers were Natalie Gibb, Anders Knudsen and Vincent Rouquette-Cathela.

SISTEMA SAC PEPEM   “White Butterfly”

The land owner is unknown.  The linear distance explored and surveyed is 6365 feet/1940 meters.  The maximum depth is 47 feet/14.3 meters.  There are four cenotes within this cave system.

This cave system is located on the property of the the Ejido Chuyaxche.
The first explorers were Natalie Gibb, Anders Knudsen and Vincent Rouquette-Cathela.

SISTEMA SAC PEPEM   “White Butterfly”

The land owner is unknown.  The linear distance explored and surveyed is 6365 feet/1940 meters.  The maximum depth is 47 feet/14.3 meters.  There are four cenotes within this cave system.

This cave system is located on the property of the the Ejido Chuyaxche.
The first explorers were Natalie Gibb, Anders Knudsen and Vincent Rouquette-Cathela.


This is a sample of my new eBbook “THE CENOTES OF THE RIVIERA MAYA 2014.  It will be published late August, 2014.
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