June 29, 2016 Dos Pisos: A long traverse done as a…

June 29, 2016 Dos Pisos: A long traverse done as a circuit.

Perhaps the best long dive that Zsolt and I have done on this trip was a circuit at Dos Pisos from the south entrance to the north entrance. We did the dive using a single stage.

Drive south of Tulum on 307. Watch for the mile markers on the left side of the road (yes this is awkward since they face away from you). After you pass mile marker 220 slow down and begin watching on the right for a sign that reads: Dos Pisos. There are two signs. The one by the road is worn and hard to read. Another sign, closer to the tree-bush line, is clearly written. Turn right here.

Proceed into Rancho Campensino following the road to the right past houses and buildings. We paid 200 pesos per person at the houses–a guy was there that came out to the car.

Continue on road that trends left past black, rubber water pools and past several intersections. Watch for the signs (signs at every intersection) but I think we always turned left. Eventually you will come to the end of the road. On the left there is junk: mattresses, pole structures, kitchen stuff, etc.

On the right are tables for dive gear. Park here. The trail starts between the tables and goes about 200 feet down to the cenote. The water is clear and the entry is easy. The cave line starts left of center, and back, in sort of an alcove and is above the water line.

The passage starts in a tube-like structure that extends maybe 100-200 feet with a flat bottom passable by back mount or sidemount-stage and then opens into large, diverse passages–this is a great stage dive.

The main line has many jumps and a few T intersections so bring a lot of cookies. We surfaced in clear water on in the north cenote under broken boulders and could see the jungle beyond the rocks. The traverse is upstream and there is a flow that reminds me of the north Florida cave, Peacock.

The passages have white formations and walls in contrast to a brown bottom and constantly change from one section to the next. In the shallow parts, there were massive root sections dropping from the ceiling.

The dive was over two hours and one of the best dives we’ve had in the Yucatan.

Chan Hol: The saga to find this hidden gem. Our story starts…

Chan Hol: The saga to find this hidden gem.

Our story starts with simple directions. Kim Davidsson (owner ProTec) had recommended Chan Hol, and rightly so–it’s a beautiful cave. So we did what any sensible person would do, we read Steve Gerrard’s guide book. We noted that there are two sets of directions in his book: One set tells the reader to turn right after the second big bend in the road 7 km south of Tulum. Firstly, the second big curve is almost 12 km from town not anywhere near 7 km south of Tulum.

In the second description the directions say 11 km south of Tulum “after the big bend.” Well, there are two big bends between Tulum and the Cenote, Chan Hol.

On day one, we actually drove to the correct Cenote. There is a sign: I can’t pull a picture of the sign in to my blog so Google image Loma Linda, Del Los Mucuyes.

We drove up to the house and asked if we were in the right place: Cenote Chan Hol. The individual working a table saw said no. When I asked him (Donde esta, Chan Hol?) where we could find Chan Hol he shrugged. So we left and motored toward Tulum stopping in all the driveways that we could find between Rancho Loma Linda and Tulum. At this point we gave up and spent the day at Caterpillar.

The next morning we obtained a new set of directions from another diver. He said, “Drive south of Tulum 10 or 12 kms until you come to a big tree right on the side of the road.” Ironically we counted three big trees on the right side of the road and got to visit some cool driveways before ending up at the sign described above, again. We drove into the rancho and parked. I walked up to a different person than the man we’d seen the day before and politely asked if he could direct us to Chan Hol since we were certain we were in the wrong place.

He raised his eyebrows with a questioning look in his eyes and waved, he said, “This Chan Hol.”

“Donde esta,?” I asked, looking around.

He pointed across his lawn to a wooden table.

And that’s when I saw the faint trail leading over to a white wall, bending left and down into the darkness: Chan Hol.

Needless to say the dives were magnificent. Large, white passages with amazing formations. Huge rooms. Really cool and worth the two days of navigation.

In the interest of other divers who want to dive Chan Hol here are the directions: From the Pemex/Extra (Extra is like a 7-eleven) on the south end of Tulum drive 7.2 miles past the SECOND big bend. You will see a huge tree on the right side of the road. (To emphasize: it is 7.2 miles from the Pemex to the parking spot in Chan Hol based on Google maps.) You will see the sign indicated above just past the tree. Turn right into the driveway, pass through the gate and go right. Park near the wooden table(75 feet). The Cenote is to your right: look for the faint trail that parallels the limestone wall. There are steps into the water. Racking up is easy. The line starts on the back wall slightly right with a red arrow. The cost is 200 pesos per person.