Wednesday afternoon, June 19th.

My computer was down for a day.
First, very BAD news for cave diving. Very bad. Sunday, June 16th. Chuck Jones of the Discover Dive Shop, German Mendoza of Yucatech Diving Expeditions, Sheila Gracey - partner with German at YucaTech Expeditions, an American cave diver whose first name is Bryan (Don't know last name) and another Mexican cave diver whose name I do not know...............ALL were arrested in Cozumel for having Mayan artifacts in their possession. According to the Cozumel newspaper and television reports, 5 cave divers were diving a cenote located next door to the airport. This cenote was only known by locals but apparently this group found out about it and were conducting exploration. On Sunday, several witnesses observed the group remove from the cave a Jade Knife, a three foot statue, several figurines and some pottery. Cozumel police were summoned, the group was arrested and held in handcuffs for two hours by the road until transported to jail.
On Monday, the Cozumel judge declared the three Americans to be deported back to the States to face Federal charges in an Agreement with the U.S. Government. The two Mexicans are to transferred to Mexico City to face Federal charges there. That's all I know at this moment. So you know, the #1 rule with diving the cenotes .......never ever touch Mayan artifacts.
This is worse than smuggling drugs. These people are in big time trouble. I'm sure the Mexican Government will make an example out of this incident. Word is floating around that Cozumel officials will completely stop cave diving in Cozumel. Will keep everyone posted as I find out more.
Concerning the project. Yesterday - Tuesday, June 18th. Bil Philips emptied another reel in the Cenote M1 - over 1100 feet. Bil is going great! Steve Keene added 400 feet in Kentucky Castle. Sue Sharples is pushing another lead. The team of Steve Berman, Steve Irving, David Minor, Pat Watson and Keith Kinard still pushing upstream on the Frontierland area. Steve Berman put in 500 feet.
Brian Kukak is in Cenote Kentucky Castle pushed a lead 200 feet. Still working on a connection with Nahoch Nah Chich. Rich Chapski joined Bill Renaker at Hilario's Well. No line added Tuesday. Moving to a new area on Wednesday. Gary and Kay Walten join into the exploration today at Kentucky Castle. Connie LoRe graciously took Michael Menduno on a dive to see the complete downstream traverse dive from Dos Ojos. Today she is working the downstream Cenote Monolito.
Michael Menduno and myself spent all Tuesday afternoon on the telephones contacting magazines. We lined up six magazines for announcements and/or stories about our progress and success.
The past four days has been quite challenging with several glitches. Sunday, Tony DeRosa entered the hospital because of severe pain from kidney stones. Spent two days and now back home resting. Pablo Diaz is suffering from Chem Chem which is like Poison Oak. No more jungle for him this week.
One of the employees of the DeRosa's flipped the Flat Bed truck at the entrance of Aventuras Akumal. No one hurt. Going too fast. Truck out of commission for two months. Yesterday, our 4 wheel Buddymobile broke down for the fourth time. Being fixed today.
We now have16 sherpas hauling tanks for the team. The portable compressor broke down last night. Working on that today. Hauling tanks back to the Dos Ojos Dive Center for filling. These are normal things that go on. Never any problems, only solutions. We now calculate that we are easily over 167,000 feet in distance for Dos Ojos (Sistema Ejido Jacinto Pat).
Breaking 170,00 feet definitely possible before we finish this weekend. Buddy admits today is is near exhaustion. We ask him to take a break, he's doing one hell of a good job. Received a phone call from the GUINESS BOOK of RECORDS in London. They confirmed that the last report from NAHOCH NAH CHICH is at 159,600 feet. They are faxing us the application for new world record for longest underwater cave system.
Everyone on the team is estactic. The hard work, fatique, the glitches, wide variety of diving experiences and personalities is paying off handsomely. Makes it ALL worth while. Bill and Elaina Dooley along with Jim Osborne fly home today. The spent four days shooting film. Tom Young arrived yesterday. Lance Milbrand arrives today. They had several situations arise to delay their arrival from last Friday. Begin video filming tommorrow. Paul Heinerth and Jill Rabjohn continue to shoot film.
The support from our SPONSORS has been very appreciative. We thank ALL for their spport. Aquatech/Villas DeRosa. DIVERITE - Lamar Hires. OCEANIC - Barry Warner. IANTD - Tom & Patty Mount. SCUBA WEST, Hudson, Florida - Paul Heinerth. IKELITE from Indaianapolis, Indiana. Henderson Wetsuits of New Jersey. Spring Systems Dive OutPost - Jonathan and Kathy Lesh. Lloyd Bailey's Scuba og Gainesville, Florida. American Underwater Lighting - Arnold & Judy Jackson. National Association for Cave Diving - Gainesville, Florida. It;s Dive Time, Inc. - Rob Harris - Columbus, Ohio. SubAquatec - Cancun, Mexico. Dos Ojos Dive Center - X'cacel, Mexico. Posiedon - Joe Schelorke, Hauppauge, N.Y., Beth Somers and Mark Steingart of Hudson, Florida, Richard Rachel - UltrTek , Jordan, Utah, Thorn Fillipelli of Scaler Wave Systems. All this help made our project a big success.
Thank you - A Special Thank You to our individuals who donated money to the expedition. They are: Larry Kirby of Illinois - $500.00. Kevin Mack of Chicago - $500.00 plus more. Barry Thomas - Atlanta, Georgia - $250.00. Tom Topping - Marland - $100.00. Larry O'Loane of Maryland - $100.00. Murray Bilby - Pittsburgh, Pa. - $100.00. A friend from Texas - $800.00. Harry Cure of Ft. Worth, Texas - $200.00. Judy Bauer 0f Archer, Florida - $100.00 of guideline. Tim & Jane Tye - $500.00. Bill Renaker's company - $500.00 plus there are a few more.
All this was a tremendous help to the success for the NEW world's longest underwater cave system. Wish to thank ANDREW PITKIN of England and KEN FURMAN of Orlando, Florida who contributed TWO days of exploration for us. It was definitely an experience for them.
... And........the #1 satisfaction from this project - so far - no one has been hurt underwater.
Be safe. STEVE GERRARD - Co-Director.
ps. By the way, it's been said before that this group of people could not lay line in a swimming pool. Well, so far, we have put in over 49,000 feet of line and it's still growing. Have a nice day!