Thursday Evening, June 13th.

Diving day #6. Weather is hot, sunny and humid. Everything drying out from the Tropical storm three days ago.
We are getting excellent results from everyone, it's like we are in "the zone". Way ahead of our planned pace. This cave system just keeps giving and giving. Incredible! As of this morning, the Macco's Marvels area and beyond has produced 26,500 feet of surveyed, explored passages. Cenote Kentucky Castle has produced approximately 7,000 feet of new, surveyed line. Not including Hilario's Well, we are now past 150,000 feet and growing steadily. From Kentucky Castle, Rich Chapski was the big winner of the day. We instructed him to go downstream - main line - about 2500 feet and push any potential leads going south.
Pow! He nails one. Emptys a reel with air to spare (Got to teach these guys never to run out of line before they "hit" their air turnaround ) Surveys 941 feet of new passage and still going strong. Big passage - going south towards the "promise land" of the Southwest Canyons and the "bigger prize". Rich is from Boston, Ma. and produces the excellent 02 monitors he calls "The Spectrum" which is distributed through DiveRite, IANTD and Randy Boehr. This guy had the look of pure contentment today. He was one "happy" cave diver. The kind of look you appreciate and hope all members of the project can hopefully experience sometime during these two weeks. Tomorrow, Rich along with Bob Griffith have #1 priority with their lead.
Connie and Travis LoRe of Florida add 400 feet. We have them double staging with DPV's. Myself and Donn Ellerbrock contribute 645 feet. (That gives us 2,179 feet for 3 days work) Steve Keene adds 200 feet. We ask Steve to "sniff" out leads with his sidemounts in areas where most would not waste time. We are going through this cave with a "fine comb". I'm hoping Steve finds a good lead. He will! Sue Sharples takes the "day off".
Out of Macco's Marvels known as M1, Buddy and Bil Philips find a new cenote while adding 1,000 feet. This find may change some stradegy. The new cenote found two days ago is named the "Conch Republic" as Paul Heinerth found a beautiful conch sheel imbedded into the limestone and a very large animal skelton. This new cenote allowed us to "leap frog" ahead and requires a 45 minute hike from Basecamp. We put Brian Kukak and Paul Heinerth in to push leads upstream and south. This cenote is a 40 foot deep well with a huge, undergroud lake. Jill Rabjohn and Gary Lemme are taking pictures as they say the beauty is magnificent.
As a reward for their dedicated hard work filling tanks, we put Sandro Mateo (from Germany) and Chris Pyle (from Scotland) in the system with megareels. They were like two kids in a candystore. No word on line laid yet. Lee Gibson of Ft. White now is diving Hilario's Well with Bill Rennaker. Bill is super happy with his assignment. He can't believe the beauty, the flow and the potential. He's in a huge bedding plane. He located a hole that sucks water to a deeper level like Niagra Falls. This could be the "doorway" to the saltwater zone I'm hoping for.
Today was Lee's first day, he was impressed. No better way than having two "happy" cave divers having the time of their life. That's what makes this expedition rewarding, fun and exciting. A group of people joining together toward a common goal! A rare thing these days in cave diving. Tommorrow Lee is asked to lay line period and Bill is working on the hole. So far, 1000 feet plus with Bill spending most of the time establishing a "main line" and rerouting the guideline avoiding as many restrictions as possible. This thing will grow, no doubt.
Tommorrow (Friday) Tom Young of Houston and Lance Milbrand of LaJolla, California arrive to begin the PBS video shoot. Bill Dooley of High Springs arrives at 2:00 P.M.. He's going to shoot video. And Michael Menduno arrives at 5:45 P.M. for a few days to witness the spirit, the team and all the preparation going into this project. Michael will return in July and will spend most of the summer helping write the book on the expedition. (Footnote: For those who had a paid subcription to AquaCorps Journal. Michael has made the arrangements with Ocean Realm to take over the subscription. Very nice thing to do!) Saturday, Steve Berman of High Springs, Steve Irving of Tallahassee (Go Noles!),
Pat Watson and Keith Kinard of Montgomery, Alabama along with David Minor of Tampa arrive,. All accomplished side mount explorers. We plan to put three of them in the LSD area of Dos Ojos and take no prisoners. The other two will help to establish a hopeful connection with Sistema Ek Be. Ed Grossenbacher is now in the EK BE cave system becoming oriented with it and start pushing it west towards Dos Ojos.
Definitely things are in the groove! Today, Gary and Kay Walten entered Cenote Dod Ojos with DPV's and began a detail check for any leads not found during past exploration upstream. Found two. One is small and will requires sidemount the other looks very good. With the # of divers we have involved in this expedition, our odds of finding many new leads is in our favor. Thank you to Gary and Kay for their valuable help.
Saturday afternoon at 4:00 P.M.. we have the Team Photo shoot at the La Terrazza Rooftop bar of Villas DeRosa. Saturday night we have our Team Dinner at the Buena Vista Restaurant in Akumal. Kay Pozda Walten has been a tremendous help setting this up. Thank you Kay. Resume the exploring on Sunday.
Have received an incredible amount of positive feedback and comments. We really Appreciate the support and enthusiasm from everyone. Thank you to Eric Noftall, Bob Schweitz, Spyro Papademetriou, Steve Berman, David Rhea, Harve Thorn, T.J. McCann, Michael Menduno, Jay K Jeffries, Russell Poole III, Billy Young, Bill Elliott,
Elena Casson, Donnie Reid, John "JP" Delaney, Kevin W. Kuhn, Jim Rexrode, Joel Markwell, John & Rose Dunk, Justice Terrence, Penny & Bruce O'Connell, Daniel L. Crawford, Samuel Frushour, Chris & Kathy Brown, Chris & Micheele Muir, Tim & Jane Tye, Robbie Osman, Grant Wilkinson, Tony M. Satterfield, Barb Marshall, Rob Fuller, Frans Vandermolen and many more. Very surprised and quite pleased in the interest. Will keep it going! This Internet E mail is definitely a good tool to allow others to be aware of what is going on. Hope everyone is enjoying it. Will respond to all letters personally but please give me a chance.
Received a great letter from Jim Coke today! Jim is the Discoverer and first explorer of Dos Ojos (along with Johanna DeGroot) back in 1986. My first visit to this area was May, 1986 and that's when I met Jim and Johanna. Jim produced a beautiful map (among may others) of the Cavern Zone and the early parts of the exploration. Jim made a few suggestions with regards of these reports. I will do a better job of how I word some of my input. In Report #5, I made the comment how the SMAPS data was a nightmare and referred to how a few people were treating it like a secret code. Well, that's my frustration showing ........judging from few incidents that have evolved during the past six months
Both Jim and Harve Thorn of Fayetteville, Arkansas began and maintained the data collection of Dos Ojos and graciously presented All they add which is approximate 97%. We will resurvey the remaining 3% or so. Anyway, the SMAPS data is in use and with help of Thorn Felliplli of California and his software, it will be interesting to see it in action. Well, this concludes Report #6.
Any feedback is welcomed. The biggest satisfaction from this expedition is the "bond" and totally hard, dedicated effort by all. And, thank you to our Sponsors and individuals who made contributions. Rob Harris - It's Dive Time - $2,000 plus the help with our project caps. DIVERITE - Lamar Hires - donating approximate 40,000 feet of guideline with another 40,000 feet purchaced by various indiduals. Tony & Nancy DeRosa - Aquatech/Villas DeRosa with accommodations, tanks and air, and vehicles. Plus many more.
And,, if it were not for Kevin Renton, Pierre Turgeon, Issacc Villanavue, RoseMary Redgen and Buddy Quattlebaum ..... there would be no project. Muchas Gracias,
Maintain. Se safe. Steve Gerrard