Sistema Chac Mol - "Jaguar Cave" in Mayan
This cave has a really unsettled halocline that gets worse after the major hurricanes as I discovered in 2006. That year. the fresh/salt water mixing zone thickened to several feet and shifted the depths, so that most of the line in the first several hundred feet of the cave was in that mixing zone.
The highlight of that cave for me was definitely the huge stalactite that is located on the downstream line. Steve Gerrard's book "Cenotes of Rivera Maya" referred to that stalactite as 'Xix Ha Tunich' which meant the "Drip Water Stone". The book also indicated it was the world's largest measured stalactite. it certainly was impressive.
Upstream line consisted of typical salt water Swiss cheese passages interspersed with huge somewhat decorated rooms. We only made it to the first room and spent most of our time there as most of the room was high enough to avoid the halocline.
Downstream had same very interesting structures amidst the typical Swiss cheese formations. Coming in and out of halocline, I could not believe my eyes for a second. There, in the middle of the cave stood little huts, one small and a bigger one behind it. After asking around, we discovered that those were crusts that were once formed on the bottom around some sediment, but eventually the sediment washed out and the crusts were left it looked very foreign and was certainly one of the highlights.
Second highlight of that
dive was an air pocket. We knew we were coming close when the crystal clear blue water
around us started to darken and turned very tannic. There in the darkness was a T with the
two arrows pointing away from the main line. We followed the T to the end as it seemed to
climb to the top of a small hill and the depth gauges registered 7 ft. At that point, the
water was very tannic and visibility dropped to a few feet. Leaving cameras on the line
with modeling lights turned on and facing upwards, we surfaced in the upside down bowl
with a single thin ray of light beaming from above and massive tree roots hanging from the
ceilings and ending as soon as they reached the water. The environment was surreal and
this was the spookiest I ever felt inside the cave. We did not spend much time in the
pocket, both wishing to go back to crystal clear waters of the inside of the cave.
Cavern zone is very pretty especially in the morning when the rays of light create a light curtain. I got to practice my silhouette shots as well.