Day # 4 Into The Exploration. A glorious, successful day!

Overall, everything is going as we are hoping. In fact, we must be "blessed" so far because the rewards of the hard work and dedication to this project is going better than we could ask.
First, the weather got better. Much better. By the afternoon, the skies were sunny. Second, our 4 wheel vehicle (which had broken down the day before) was back in service due to the superb wok of our Team Member - Issac Villanavunue. What a star! We had a team meeting in the morning.
I apologize to the team for my "mistake" the day before, reviewed what we had accomplished the day before and briefly outlined our goals. The "attitude" was still in tuned. The "fatique factor" was definitely beginning to show but the spirit was still intact. Fatique is the most crippling effect on a team mission such as this. Since most team members lifestyles are not exposed to the day to day control of heat and humidity that ALL of us who live here get adapted too, it is a very challenging part of this game. Something Not to take light hearted. Typical things happened in the morning. One van needed 5 gallons of gas; could not find the "keys" to the other van resulting in switching to another , and so on. But, we got off within a reasonable time. Everyone had their assignments for the day!
Here are the results: 1. Bil Philips and Pablo Diaz successfully connnected M1 with M2. Bil and Pablo installed over 400 feet of line and connected with 450 feet of line that Pierre Turgeon of Montreal installed six weeks ago when both Cenotes were found. Added line to Dos Ojos: 850 feet. 2. Paul Heinerth was assigned the task to go to the end of the "Main Line" called Frontierland and push Brian Kukak's line to the suspected Cenote we figured would appear because of the black dirt, catfish galore and shallow depth. Bam. Paul nails it (requiring three stage bottles and DPV to get there) after laying about 500 feet of line. (My longest known friend - we met in 1972 at St. Petersburg Jr. College when he was the asistant Instructor to my Basic Scuba Course.)
Buddy predicts he will find the cenote by land and instructs him to recalculate thirds and empty the reel and "hoot" for him to locate. Buddy tramps through the jungle with two Mayans (45 minute hike from M1) and finds Paul, reloads Paul with fresh tanks and 2,000 feet and tells him to "spank" the cave. At the radio check at 6:30 P.M. (I'm now out of the jungle at Villas DeRosa) Buddy reports Paul empties 1 1/2 reels and only quits because his light (stupid us) runs out. Paul reports its BIG and we think this is the MOTHER of both Dos Ojos and Nahoch. Incredible! Dreams do come true......maybe. Buddy plans to "turn" Paul and Brian loose tommorrow with mega reels and have "No Mercy" on this cave. Paul says "It's Big!" and going like a freight train due west. Calculated line (no survey data on paper yet) installed: 2,000 feet +. Yes. 3. After yesterday's performance (since I can't coach) I decide to get into the trenches. My original plan was to keep out of the water, coach, be a toby and do whatever it takes to make people have fun and lay line. But, a slight glich evolved where my good friend Donn Ellerbrock (a lawyer and Lobbiest for the State Legislature of Ohio) was matched up with another good friend as dive buddies ...... but ..... it did not not seem to merge very well. No problems but you can "sense" when it works and when it does not. So, my other friend........ we put with someone else. I informed Donn I'll dive with him as I promised when I originally invited him to this game. So, we will dive Kentucky Castle, go downstream about 2500 feet and look for leads off this "offshoot" huge loopline I laid installed with Dale Hardy (now lives in Las Vegas and originally from St. Louis). We use a stage bottle and get into the area to begin our "hunt for prey". I spot a small passage to the left, sniff around but discouraged with the potential. Donn spots a lead to the right but it is "too soon" because we just "turned off" the main line and any passageways to the right would smack right into the Main Line going south. We go another 150 feet and then we spot a dark, void to the right. Now, that looks good. Donn ties off on the original guideline and we follow this downstream lead that is really nice. Donn handles reel and
I serve as the "point man" to determine the right way, I hope. The reel spins and Donn makes the wraps where needed. You can see he was stoked. I'm stoked. Two pigs in heaven. Before you know it, the Explorer Reel (DiveRite) is empty and we had reached our air turnaround. We slap "high fives" and I could see the gleam in Donn's eye. That's what I love the most about cave diving - the joy of happiness in someone's eyes. That's why I love to teach cave diving. We were very happy puppies! I survey out. The dive took two hours. At my decompression stop according to my computer (yes, we have decompression in Mexico) - maximum depth 50 feet - I add up the score card.
Line installed: 827 feet. Yes. Steve Keene, with Sidemounts in Kentucky Castle (we give him the shitty jobs because he is damn good) installs 350 feet. Sue Sharples has a very good lead going and figures she has 350 feet plus going with her side mount but could not survey because of a regulator problem and will continue tommorrow. Line installed total: 1177 feet apprioximate. Yes. 4. Bill Renaker - at mid day - radios us from Hilario's Well. He just ran out of guideline. He needs more. Much more. Buddy remarks that everyone does not grasp the potential of laying Mucho line. We keep telling everyone to always carry a minimum 1500 feet of line on your exploration reels. Later this evening I ask Bill what he intalled. 615 feet of line. He says he thinks there is enough potential for two explorers. The man is Super Happy.
Bill says the cave is ungodly gorgeous. He has found a huge bedding plane going south and southeast. We have already decided to put Lee Gibson with Bill by tommorrow. Maybe Steve Keene. Bill says he found a hole with water going down in it. He thinks he can get down through it. My Theory is coming true. Bill is estastic. The man is in heaven. My hunch seems to be going where I hope. Tommorrow we shall see. Bill knotted 1900 feet of line during the late afternoon. You can see the look of a hunter now in his eyes. He is ready for a Glory Day. If we don't get 10,000 feet plus out of this area, I will be disappointed. Everything is going great!
So, everyone is happy. Today's total - roughly is: 3992 feet of line. This makes Dos Ojos at: ................. about 140,000 feet. Still going strong. When the project ends, I'm sure it will take us awhile to get all the data sorted. So far, a wonderful project indeed.
Our man - Thorn Fillipelli who owns SCALER WAVE SYSTEMS in California arrives Thursday to Villa DeRosa for a week. He is a computer specialist. Thorn says he has a software program that can "blow Smaps" away. I'm excited. This survey data on Smaps has been a nightmare only because how a variety of individuals have been treating it as though it were the "secret code" the President keeps in case of a nuclear world holocaust. So far, I've seen it destroy several friendships and make a wide variety of people upset. How silly. Here is an underwater cave where over 60 different cave divers have contributed to it's growth. Then we have perhaps less than three individuals who think this data is theirs personally. Thank you to Harve Thorn of Fayetteville, Arkansas for all his help and cooperation. With this new software program, we hope to transfer all the present and new data into something that will clearly show the immensity of this cave system.
A big thank you to these individuals who have made contributions towards the expedition. 1. Larry Kirby of Illinois - $500.00 2. Kevin Mack of Chicago - $500.00. 3. Barry Thomas - Atlanta, Georgia - $250.00 4. Tom Topping - Maryland - $100.00. 5. Larry O'Loane of Maryland - $100.00. 6. Murray Bilby of Pittsburgh - $100.00. 7. A friend from Texas - $800.00. 8. Harry Cure of Fort Worth, Texas - $200.00. 9. Judy Bauer of Archer. Florida - $100.00 worth of Guideline. 10. Tim & Jany Tye - $500.00 11. Bill Renaker - $500.00 I realize there are a few more names but Jill has them which I will get from her later to acknowledge. From everyone involved - we all appreciate your kindness and generosity. It will not be forgotten.
Oh, ever heard of Cave barking spider? Apparently, it exists. I will tell you about it in Report #6.
For our Sponsors, great support. We appreciate everything. 1. Oceanic - Barry Warner. 2. DIVERITE - Lamar Hires. 3. IANTD - Tom & Patti Mount, Dick Rutkowski and El Capitan Guillermo Deans 4. NACD 5. Poseidon - SEArious Fun - Joe Schelorke. 6. Underwater Lighting Inc. - Judy & Arnold Jackson 7. Scuba West - Paul Heinerth & Jill Rabjohn 8. Spring Systems Dive Outpost - Kathy & Jonathan Lesh 9. Lloyd Bailey's Scuba - Lloyd Bailey. 10. Aquatech/DeRosa Villas - Tony & Nancy DeRosa 11. Ikelite 12. Henderson Wetsuits. 13. Dos Ojos Dive Center. 14. SubAquatec of Cancun. 15. Scuba Cancun - Cancun, Mexico plus more.
The biggest surprise and disappointment was the # of companies who verbally committed to this project months before but as we approached the Grand Finale - their promise was unkept.
We had great newspaper articles in the St. Petersburg Times and the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch last week. National Geographic is following our progress and waiting to see what happens.. Scuba Times Dive magazine is following us closely. So is DeepTech. Florida Scuba News is keeping tabs. The NACD Journal, the IANTD Journal and the NSS-CDS Underwater Speleology have been very cooperative. Dive Training magazine announced our project. Thank you to all.
Tommorrow (Wednesday) will be slow. The fatique factor is kicking in, logistics of where divers will go is becoming more difficult. Bill Renaker should have a field day at Hilario's Well. So will Paul Heinerth and Brian Kukak at the new cenote. We will have four teams going downstream Kentucky Castle. We shall see what happens. Wow! Received 19 E mail letters yesterday. Very nice feedback from all. Several people were impressed with my honesty. Well, I wasn't looking for sympathy or praise, just telling the truth - like it was. Well, that's it for now. Thank you to all for your interest and feedback. It inspires me more to keep you informed of whatever happens with this thing. I can assure you there will be days of no productivity or dissappointment. I'm just surprised of our progress so far.
Take care. Be safe. Maintain. Steve Gerrard