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Dive Review of Yucatech Expeditions/N/A in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Yucatech Expeditions/N/A, Jul, 2006,

by Patrick Wikstrom, NC, USA (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2730.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 1 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Cave Diving Coz with Yucatech Expeditions – German Yanez Mendoza

While Cozumel’s reefs took a heavy hit during last year’s hurricane there’s one group of dive sites that remained untouched: the limestone solution caves. Yucatech Expeditions conveniently located just a couple of blocks off the main square is one of the handful of dive ops that conducts full cave diving. Basically a one man show, German Yanez answers the e-mail, mans the shop, drives the transport, and guides the dives. It’s a fun filled day diving with one of the principal explorers of the island caves.

All arrangements were conducted efficiently via the internet. German had my preferred day available, reasonable rates for his rental equipment and dive guide services, and told me to pay him when I got there. I rented a primary light and long hose regulator, everything else I brought. After the obligatory paperwork we rigged our gear on the back of an old pick up and headed to the first site.

Aerolito, currently surveyed to just over 20,000ft in length is listed as the 15th longest cave in the Yucatan. Unlike many of the commercial cenotes along the Riviera Maya Aerolito has no picnic tables, platforms, stairs, or any other dive site enhancements. We drove in on a rutted dirt road right to the edge of the cenote where lake fish could be seen nibbling on algae. Entrance was via a giant stride off the limestone ledge into the cool 74 degree water.

Differences in the structure and appearance of the cave varied considerably based on depth. In the shallowest sections small holes pockmarked the ceilings showing evidence of percolation of rain water into the system. A well defined halocline layer separated the fresh water on top and the salt water lying below. During one long run of cave directly at the halocline we moved through a visually confusing emulsion like an oil and vinegar salad dressing. Generally in the fresh water sections there was more tannin staining of the walls and spelotherms. The flowstones and other limestone features were smoother and more graceful here. In the deeper saltwater passages many decorations and cave structures appeared to be dissolving leaving sharp angles and jagged edges throughout the cave. The floor of the cave is uniformly covered in a layer of fine grey/brown silt.

Known for its relative profusion of life we encountered albino sea stars, white sponges, and blind cave fish. A small centipede-like creature, called Remapede, crawled along a silty ledge. At one point I looked down and was stunned to see a white shell-less tube worm with small squid like tentacles. (Ofioros worm) Reaching down with my index finger I gently touched the worm which immediately grabbed my finger with a surprisingly strong grip for a 31/2 inch creature. Startled I jerked back and the worm let go, popped off the silt, and began vigorously twisting and flopping away in the water column like a Spanish Dancer eventually settling down a couple of feet away.

Negotiating some minor restrictions the cave opens into a beautiful room filled with marvelous decorations and ornamentation. Dribbling flowstones form the walls, sculpted columns of white and brown limestone appear to hold up the roof, and delicate soda straws, stalactites and stalagmites adorn the chamber. Hitting my “thirds” on the double 80’s I make the sign to turn the dive and we begin to slowly retrace our path. All along the way I notice more beautiful formations that I’d missed on the way in. Pausing to undo our tie-ins and retrieve our reels I’m spellbound by the majesty of this system. Eventually I notice a faint green glow and we stop for some minor decompression before we leave the cave and re-enter the open bowl of the cenote. German later tells me we’d penetrated somewhere between 1700 and 1800 ft. My computer says I reached a max depth of 60ft, ran an average depth of 37ft, and spent a total of 92min on the dive.

After a break in town for lunch we reconvene a couple of hours later, load up a fresh set of doubles and roll down the road towards Chankanaab. For this dive we gear up along the shoulder of the highway and follow an almost imperceptible game trail to the cenote. Loaded down in our gear and carrying our fins we hobble through the woods crossing barbed wire fences and pushing through thickets. Eventually we reach a murky brown pond surrounded by jungle. Carefully wading in over the algae covered rocks I find myself bobbing next to a small branch sticking up out of the water. Tied to the branch is a thin white line.

German admonishes me to be careful since if I bust this stick we’ll loose our lifeline. The descent is one at a time through the muddy, zero visibility, brown water. Feet first we slither our way down an almost vertical series of cracks and crevices eventually popping out around 25 ft in the clear flow of the aquifer. This cave, Cueva Quebrada, seems to have a more eerie feel about it. The walls seem darker and the silk looked thicker. We slip through several restrictions in a narrow passage and I momentarily get stuck and have to push back to try a different approach. But just like in Aerolito we break out into large rooms with interesting structures and beautiful decorations.

All in all it was a fun filled day diving with one of the principal explorers of the island caves. German Yanez Mendoza is a wonderfully personable entrepreneur who answers the e-mail, mans the shop, drives the transport, and guides the dives. He also offers guided cenote tours on the mainland for open water divers.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas; Belize; Bonaire; California Channel Islands; Cancun; Cayman Brac & Little Cayman; Cocos Isl; Cozumel; Costa Rica; Florida- springs, west coast, & keys; Indonesia; North Carolina; Massachusetts; Palau; Puerto Rico; Roatan; Socorro; South Africa; Thailand; Truk; Turks & Caicos; TVA lakes; Yap; Yucatan Caves;
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 74-0°F / 23--18°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 2-200 Ft/ 1-61 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions all standard cave diving rules
This report does not rate my accomodations -detailed in two other reports -just the cave diving op. Obviously coral, pelagics, and most other scuba ratings are not applicable.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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