Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Dos Palmas

Today was a planned 1 dive day as we were hoping to get an early start on the drive to Izamal. We headed to Dos Palmas which has an upstream mainline that's suitable for Intro level dives.

This cenote is adjacent to Dos Ojos, and you can easily reach that system from here, but is not part of the ejido. What this means is that you don't need to pay the exorbitant amount of money Dos Ojos charges for SCUBA divers to dive the system (upwards of US$120 compared to the US$10-20 charged everywhere else) and you also avoid the hordes of snorkelers there.

The cenote itself is small but has excellent facilities - it had, quite possibly, the cleanest restrooms I've ever seen in a park. The stairs, deck and benches are also super convenient and I found the ease of access to be on par with Nohoch Nah Chich.
Another notable thing about Dos Palmas is that it has flow - medium-high by Mexico standards. I was looking forward to experiencing it and getting a feel for what that's like. It's nowhere near what Florida has but I figured something gentle like this would be a good place for a first experience with it.

The mainline is in open water right off the deck and was super easy to find. It was pretty different from anything I've dove before - a bunch of small-ish passages that opened up into large rooms. It was really cool to come out of a tight window that abruptly became a large hall. It reminded me of scenes in space operas where the smaller space craft enter and leave the landing bays of the capital ships. There were a lot of jumps on the line but I only managed to locate two of them. I spoke to Vince about this later and he mentioned that he had spent a lot of dives mapping out this system - definitely need to talk to him before going back here.
The flow on the way back was not at all what I was expecting. If you think it's just going to push you out and you can glide without working to hard, that's not the case it all. I was in the lead on the way out and kept getting pushed diagonally off the line. Another annoying thing was how it kept pushing my fins up which made it feel like I was getting gas trapped in my legs. Lots of lesson learned on this one dive.This was also the first dive I did with just the SmartWool base layer and that worked totally fine too for this water temperature.
-> 62min, 34ft, 76F
 - U