Unified Team Diving


UTD Riviera Maya

Welcome to UTD Riviera Maya , news and update from the local cave diving community, join us!!!

Location: Tulum , Q. Roo
Members: 76
Latest Activity: Jul 4, 2014

UTD updated lines , access of the local Cenotes!

I have been appointed as safety officer for the region so I will be representing UTD comunity on the board of the Q. ROO safety officers comitee, please let's use this group as reference for ideas on how we can improve safety in the local caves.

Any constructive idea will be discussed in the meetings and I will give a full report to share in this group so that every cave diver can know the latest update on line situation down here.

Hasta luego


Discussion Forum

Accident report Cenote Kalimba

Started by Emanuela Bertoni. Last reply by Juan Naval Feb 24, 2013. 3 Replies

I want to share here the report in Spanish and English about the accident happened yesterday @ Cenote Kalimba of a Canadian solo diver , the report in English shared one of my video of that Cenote to…Continue

Tank Ha - Sistema Abejas open for cave divers

Started by Emanuela Bertoni. Last reply by Emanuela Bertoni Nov 18, 2012. 2 Replies

This is a really good news that after many years Sistema Abejas is open again for divers!!!!It has also a wonderful beach for non divers to enjoy a Carraibean lazy day !I went yesterday for a fun…Continue

Riviera Maya caves update

Started by Emanuela Bertoni Oct 17, 2012. 0 Replies

Guys: I am finally back from Italy after 3 months of UTD cave courses in Italy (Oliero & Palinuro) & Ireland as well , it was a great time and the UTD Italian community welcomed me very well…Continue

PIT stairs

Started by Emanuela Bertoni. Last reply by Toine Peeters Feb 18, 2012. 2 Replies

Hey guyswe have new stairs at the Pit, I think is a great plus since it is a deep Cenote and it will help in a case of an emergency to evacuate the diver, I know it ruin the natural view of the place…Continue

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of UTD Riviera Maya to add comments!

Comment by Emanuela Bertoni on March 30, 2010 at 6:26am
Chikin/Ha, Xtabay, Ixchel > The access is closed for approx. a month, we talked to the landowner yesterday and he said they will re open it soon !!!
Comment by Emanuela Bertoni on March 18, 2010 at 7:09pm
We have been diving in the Blue Abyss in the past few days.
No T intersection going towards I-Hop, slate still in place.
Diaz line is a Jump left from the I-Hop line (not sure about the name).
Blue Abyss jump is marked with double light Blue arrow and the start of the Blue Abyss line also is marked with a large light blue arrow.
All the lines we saw were white and in a very good conditions (including X line through the tank off restriction).
Comment by Steve Gerrard on March 9, 2010 at 6:13pm
Tuesday, March 9th

I dived to the Blue Abyss last week. Six tiimes in the past nine weeks. Probably 40 times during the past five years. I do not recollect ever a "T " intersection where the slate is fastened to the permanent line stating "Exit To I-Hop". The line to the "Dark Side of the Moon" is a twelve inch jump at the intersection. Are you suggesting it should be a 10 foot (3 meter) jump? If so.....I agree.

The Pablo Diaz line to the Blue Abyss Room is a 35 foot jump (11 meter) from that intersection. Six years ago it was a 250 foot jump (Hidden Line), which was bull shit.

All directional safety line arrows appear to be quality throughout the cave system. Since when did color matter?

Isn't it NICE for ALL cave divers to be able to swim to the Blue Abyss instead of being limited to a double DPV per cave diver dive to see and enjoy a great site.

Be safe!

Comment by Emanuela Bertoni on March 9, 2010 at 3:32pm
Thanks Luis , welcome in UTD !!! This community is amazing and open minded you will love it!!!
Comment by JOSE LUIS SAENZ on March 9, 2010 at 8:20am
emanuela this is a very good thing you guys are doing,we need it !!!
congratulations for the crossover !!!
Comment by Steve Gerrard on March 5, 2010 at 10:13pm


(This wrote this article in the fall of 1993 for the NACD Journal. I have slightly revised and added more.)

It was the second week of December, 1992 when my Dad, Robert Gerrard, and I arrived in Aventuras Akumal a few days earlier on December 7th after a seven day adventure trip driving my Toyota pickup truck from Tallahassee, Florida. I was moving to Mexico to manage the CEDAM DIVE CENTER at the Oasis Resort Hotel in Aventuras Akumal and purchase 50% ownership of that store owned by Mike Madden It also created the golden opportunity to continue my love and pursuit for cave diving and exploration along with diving living in a warm, year round tropical environment.

George Irving of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Bill Main of Alachua, Florida and Bill Gavin of Panama City Beach, Florida had arrived for 10 days of cave diving. I had known George for almost two years. He participated with me and six other cave diving friends/explorers (Alton Hall, Pat Watson, Keith Kinard, Paul Perk and Hilario Hiler) during the first week of August, 1991 in the SISTEMA TOUCHA HA (Zapote) exploration project. Bill and Bill I have known personally for several years and immensely enjoyed cave diving with them the few times I had the opportunity. Both are famous (and still are) in the cave diving community for their superb exploration feats and superb cave diving skills. They are (as I always preach in my teaching of safe cave diving courses) methodical individuals with their approach to equipment function and configuration. Simplicity and efficiency dictate their purpose and success. They among a long list of many other excellent cave divers from the 1970’s & 80’s developed the true meaning and responsibility for smart and safe equipment configuration that is known as the Hogarthian Concept.

Neither Bill had ever dived the NOHOCH NAH CHICH cave system that had been continually explored during the past five years since its discovery during November, 1987. With the 1992 Exploration Project – NOHOCH ’92, the Cedam Cave Diving Team successfully pushed the cave system up to 70,000 feet of surveyed passage with another 20,000 feet of cave system (Sistema Outland) waiting very close to being connected with the NOHOCH system. Mike Madden invited both Bill’s along with George Irving on a double tandem scooter dive, double 104’s and a stage bottle to tour this gigantic underwater cave and perhaps create the opportunity to do a little exploration at the same time.
Entering at the Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich entrance, the team motored upstream on the main trunk line and headed for a area that I and Mexican cave diver Pablo Diaz had discovered and explored the September, 1992 project. This section was beyond what is known as the Cenote “Dinnerhole” entrance and off the “X” line that was discovered and explored by Bill Carlson and Tony DeRosa. We named the new line ¨the Pablo Diaz line” as if it were a famous brand coffee that punctuated a strong style of emphasis on such a colorful name as Pablo Diaz.

The distance from the main entrance to the back area of this new section of cave was close to 7500 feet. Using TEKNA ponies (DPV’s) and towing a second one behind yourself (butt mount) allows the opportunity to view much of the cave and have “fun” motoring because of the shallow depths, huge passageways and the beautiful decorations that dominate this entire upper region of this cave system. Swapping to a fresh pony at the halfway mark (Cenote Dinnerhole) insures that a cave diver can cover such a tremendous distance (1992). Reaching near the end, the group decided to stop and park the DPV’s and began poking around for any new leads. Mike and Bill Main lead the way into a small passage that requires negotiating a few small places but were able to work into a flow of water with George and Bill Gavin following. Swimming approximately 200 feet, Irving and Gavin “called” their dive because of the air supply and turned around. Madden and Main continued forward. Laying another 150 feet of guideline, they entered into what appeared the typical “dome” room that is quite common in all cave systems in this region of the Yucatan peninsula. It featured a slight trace of tannic acid at the ceiling with a depth of 20 feet. As both cave divers swam into the room, their regulators nearly dropped out of their mouths in shock. Staring below them was the appearance of a bottomless pit. They could see with their 50 watt halogen bulb lights approximate 100 feet down and it was still going. INCREDIBLE! What a unique geological feature. Nearly 20 kilometers of underwater cave passage that averages 21 feet in depth and “pow”, you find something like this. IMPRESSIVE! The sad moment for both Mike and Bill Main was they had reached their air turn-around point and could only look in amazement at this awesome sight. Madden was in utter shock. Reluctantly, they “cut” the guideline and tied off and headed home.

A few days later, Mike informs me of his find. I was truly stoked with his discovery and begged him to take me back so that we could descend into the huge hole and hopefully find a bottom and perhaps discover a deeper cave system that may lie underneath the shallow freshwater cave system. We had suspected for a long time that there was a potential for a deeper saltwater cave system underneath SISTEMA NOHOCH NAH CHICH and this could be the doorway to it.

Because of the “busy” season with the CEDAM DIVE CENTER dive stores, it was difficult to schedule a day off to this exploration dive. Finally, in early February (1993) the day had arrived. We hauled out to NOHOCH by horse our four TEKNA DPV’s, two sets of double 104’s and decided to take TWO stage bottles apiece. After two hours of equipment preparation, we hopped onto our pony saddles and headed up the main line trail to the Cenote Dinnerhole. That was at 5400 feet from the outside entrance of Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich. We dropped our first pony and one stage bottle and switched to our second fresh machine and second stage bottle. This was the first time for me using double tandem DPV’s; I was pleased with my performance in towing the second pony. Continuing onward we “motored” another 1800 feet and jumped onto the “X” line. Scootering 900 feet we jumped onto the “PABLO DIAZ” line. We still had another approximate 2300 feet of passage to go before reaching the “new” line. It took nearly an hour and a half to reach this point. Finally, we parked our ponies, dropped our second stage bottle and now had plenty of air with our pumped up double 104’s. I was becoming mighty excited! Another 350 feet and I would get to witness this incredible sight and who knows what discoveries we would come upon.

Mike had informed me prior to the dive that there was one minor restriction halfway to this room. Yes, he was correct as I had to slide through a vertical crack and be careful not to get stuck or damage the cave. It is fun “juking” through small passageways as I get a great pleasure being able to work my way through without hurting the cave. Suddenly, I saw the end of the guideline and at the same moment I could see the dimensions of the room. The lip of the drop off was now visible and the anticipation was tortuous. Cruising out over the edge, I stared down in disbelief as if there was no floor. My 50 watt light “panned” around the wall of this tremendous shaft until I could see a bottom. I instinctively recognized at least 150 feet in depth and realized it would go deeper from where I was at 30 feet. During my eighteen years of cave diving (1993) career I have seen only three other caves that sent the same type of bone chill of excitement looking down at depth. They are the 5th room of the Little Dismal Sink Cave System in Leon County, Florida (my sentimental favorite cave system); the balcony view in the “Cube Room” of the spectacular Sally Ward Cave System or known as NUMERO UNO; which I have personally taken at least 20 cave divers to it and the awesome deep room way back in the DOUBLE D Cave System at the famous Weeki Wachee Springs (I dived it three times in 1980-81). There are a few more I could mention but this, no doubt, was one of the “best” I had seen yet. Holy drop off! What a sight. My heart was pumping like a freight train as I was anxious to begin the descent and go where no one had gone before. Mike tied off his exploration reel where he had ended before. He turned and looked at me and I signaled indicating “Let’s just do it!” We began our descent like two kids feasting on candy. I started screaming through my regulator in joy. Gosh, this was fun. Looking at my Aladin Pro computer I glanced to watch the depth increase as we dropped. When we reached 100 feet, it was quite obvious this geological cylinder was going to 200 feet+. In our pre-dive discussion, Mike and I agreed that 190 – 200 feet would be our maximum depth because we figured this would be a “bounce” dive that should be relatively safe. We had no visions of being reckless heroes or deep freaks. At 120 feet depth the unlimited visibility clearly showed that there was a bottom choked with huge boulders. As we approached the sloping floor, Mike made a lock wrap at the 185 foot depth ready to cut the line and end it there. I flashed him my light and signaled to go ahead and let’s hit the 200 foot mark and end the guideline there. I felt fine and he agreed.

The bottom was littered with gigantic rocks as big as cars. While Mike was tying off the guideline I could see more depth through the boulder maze. Mike glanced at me and I motioned that I was going down a tad further to peek and see if a horizontal passage may evolve. Carefully gliding down, I reached a maximum depth of 214 feet with another 15 feet below me. It was amazing. It appeared as if a passageway may evolve but I thought I was pushing it far enough so I backed off and return to Mike above me. We were both satisfied with what we found and saw. The view looking upward was euphoric. The cobalt blue clear water allowed us to see faintly the top of the pit which reinforced that the visibility exceeded 180 feet +.

We began our ascent by spiraling along the walls hoping maybe we could find a horizontal passageway that may lead to a new level of cave system. Poking into holes and crevices, our hopes dimmed as we neared the top. We found our first formations at 80 feet, which indicated that the cave was once dry to that point. Looking at the ceiling we could see a few very odd shape formations in a manner that evolved from a thin stalk with a huge ball at the end hanging like a wasp nest. I had never seen that before as it was very beautiful. We had to be careful not to go too shallow as not to jeopardize our decompression obligation, which was brief. The amazing aspect of his dive to look forward is while you swim or scooter back to CENOTE NOHOCH NAH CHICH, you are off gassing at 20 feet.

Finishing our brief decompression/safety stop at 30 feet in the BLUE ABYSS, Mike continued recording survey data for the outstanding NOHOCH NAH CHICH map that was produced by the ’92 Exploration Project and drawn by the very talented Eric “Viking” Hutchinson of Ocala, Florida. On our way back to the main entrance, my personal thoughts of our dive were relaxed, comfortable and very happy with what we accomplished. I felt bad for Bill Main who did not have the opportunity to come back to “The New Frontier” from Florida to bless the pit that he and Mike had discovered. In addition, this type of type of dive was a good confidence builder and answered questions on planning/logistics with long range DPV dives. In NOHOCH, it is relatively safe and easy with the shallow depths and escape routes to surface air. For those who have performed long range DPV dives at depth, the hazards are quite magnified and I admire their confidence and sense of purpose.

The next day, Mike radios me from his home in Puerto Aventuras to the Aventuras Akumal store. He was trying to name the pit and came up with “THE ABYSS”. I explained to him there was the “Black Abyss” upstream from Cheryl Sink in the Leon Sinks Cave System (another great dive that I have enjoyed many times) in Wakulla County near Tallahassee, Florida. We decided to call the room “THE BLUE ABYSS” as it was very appropriate. Four weeks later, Mike returned with George Irving and Bill Gavin to further check out the bottom of the BLUE ABYSS and thoroughly investigate if there was continuing horizontal passage. To everyone’s disappointment, the BLUE ABYSS stopped at 230 feet maximum depth. Both Bill and George were super impressed with the room. It was a shame it did not continue.

This unique and major discovery was quite impressive, particularly being so close to the coast of the Caribbean ocean. Does that mean there could be more “pits” of this nature in Nohoch or other cave systems in the Akumal/Tulum area? The Cenote Angelita located 10 kilometers south of Tulum was explored to 199 feet by Billy Young, Charles Bickleman and Scotty Petrowski but no cave system exits. George Irving and Bill Mees reportedly found a deep cenote/cave system due west of Akumal on a ranch 5 kilometers into the jungle due west of Akumal
during the July Exploration project we had organized through Villas DeRosa.

That is what makes EXPLORATION so much fun. “IF YOU DON”T GO, YOU WON’T KNOW”.

March, 2010.

I wrote that article in the fall of 1993. Wow, much has changed since then. So much history has evolved during the past seventeen years with numerous stories to be told. I could write a book about it!

Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich was listed for 15 years as the world’s longest underwater cave system. It was connected into the Sistema Sac Aktun in February, 2006 and ranks #2 with 576,514 feet of explored/surveyed passages.

Eight years ago, the Alltournative Adventure company negotiated with “Don” Pablo and his family to change the horse trail into a drivable road as they have developed a very successful snorkel adventure trip for tourists from the countless hotels and resorts in the RIVIERA MAYA. Cenote Angelita has become a popular dive site for open water divers and technical deep diving training. You can get the key and pay the 100 pesos fee to “DON” Pedro at his home in Tulum. The deep cenote 5 kilometers due west of Akumal is Cenote TAM, which I had the pleasure to dive in 1997 with Pablo Diaz and Daniel Riordan with a maximum depth of 213 feet. The visibility is very poor until you get below 170 feet. Unfortunately, no diving is allowed. In 1994, Dan Lins and Kay Pozda Walten discovered the awesome cenote named “THE PIT”, which is probably more spectacular than the Blue Abyss. It has been explored 1200 feet back to depths exceeding 390 feet. The PIT is now accessible with a new road constructed during 2007. You can “motor” underwater to THE PIT from Cenote Dos Ojos using Cenote Tikim Chi as the halfway point, however it has smaller passageways along the way that requires careful discretion not to damage the cave with the DPV machines and stage bottles. Many cave divers have performed this dive in recent years.

With Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich accessible by vehicle (I miss the days of hiking out there and using the horses to carry the gear) the logistics in transporting the DPV’s, stage bottles and necessary equipment is much easier. I have enjoyed the pleasure to dive the BLUE ABYSS motoring with Submerge DPVs from Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich with Sergio Granucci, Stephen McCabe, Marike Jasper, Stefan Dreesbach, Dr. Kent Hirsch, Harry Gust, Dan Hartman, Michelle & Robert Heinze, Paul Heinerth (sorta), Professor Andrew Fritz and Carl Griffing, Jr. of Houston, Texas. Today, access to the BLUE ABYSS is now at Cenote Pet Cemetery as you swim to this room in 45 minutes.

Cenote Pet Cemetary (Sistema Sac Aktun). Drive to the entrance road to CENOTE DOS OJOS (The Ejido Jacinto Pat). Stop at the Dos Ojos Dive Store on the right of area. Pay 250 pesos and receive ticket to give to personnel on the Mystic River (Misterio Rio) Eco Park or known as Cenote Pet Cemetery. Drive west on the Ejido Pet Cemetery sascab road. Follow road past Cenote Dos Ojos and continue for three more kilometers. When the road turns left follow it south. Continue following this road. Eventually you will pass a white metal swing gate. It should be open. Continue on road until the very end. You will find a parking area marked by a diver parking sign and a beautiful long wooden bench for setting up equipment. Park your vehicle. Behind this area is a short sandy path leading to a large cenote that is naturally impossible to enter. The land owner has constructed a quality set of wooden stairs leading down to the water. There is an area with benches to place tanks. It is HIGHLY recommended to do this dive to the BLUE ABYSS ROOM with a stage bottle. Why? For most folks, when you reach the BLUE ABYSS you will be close if not at thirds with your air or gas supply. The stage bottle insures that you have plenty of air or gas to enjoy the BLUE ABYSS Room, particularly if you plan to swim deep into the bottom of the room. Enter water, perform pre-dive rituals. Face the cave and swim into underwater into the cave. You will need to swim about 80 feet straight into the cave. You are looking for a GOLD BRAIDED NYLON LINE. This line is set up as an irregular circular path that winds around a huge cavern and snorkeling area. There is a huge air space with two wooden decks, ladder leading to the surface through a small shaft. Electrical lights have been installed for snorkeling groups.

You can follow the GOLD BRAIDED NYLON GOLD LINE clockwise or counter clockwise (left or right). Either way you will be swimming and following the GOLD LINE for about 9 or 10 minutes. You are looking for TWO large quality directional arrows. One is YELLOW, the other is LIGHT BLUE. There is a stalagmite nearby where the GOLD LINE is placed. From this point you will tie off a reel or spool and swim into a huge cave passage. The permanent line is about twenty five feet away tied to a stalagmite. Follow this string for 250 feet and your find TWO DIRECTIONAL ARROWS pointing back to the CENOTE PET CEMETERY. There will be a slate tied to the permanent line pointing to CENOTE I-HOP, which is 400 feet away. There will be another string one foot away. This line leads into the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON area. To your left, 40 feet away is another string. This is the line to the BLUE ABYSS. Tie off a reel or spool and connect into this guideline. Nineteen or twenty minutes into this dive you will encounter the KING PONG restriction and it zig-zags through a forest of little columns. YES, you can swim through this minor restriction with your stage bottle. There is NO silt! Continue swimming and eventually you will drop off your stage bottle when appropriate for you. When you reach a 90 degree turn of the permanent guideline to the left you are now at the jump for the final 300 feet to the BLUE ABYSS. It is a 15 foot distance, down to the right. There should TWO large quality directional arrows pointing back to CENOTE PET CEMETERY. Tie in the connection with a spool or reel. This passage is highly decorated. Halfway to the BLUE ABYSS you encounter one more minor restriction. It is crack that slopes downward. Be gentle. You should reach the BLUE ABYSS in 47 minutes or less. Maximum depth is 225 feet/66 meters in depth.


However, there is one person who really deserves to return and visit the BLUE ABYSS. That is BILL “Hogarth” MAIN. Yes, Bill is still actively cave diving, usually every week at the Devil’s Eye Cave System at Ginnie Springs on his days off from work. I have offered Bill a sincere invitation to be my guest at my condo when our schedules can match up. We can easily swim from Cenote Pet Cemetery for Bill to return what he rightfully discovered with Mike Madden – THE BLUE ABYSS.
Comment by Emanuela Bertoni on February 13, 2010 at 4:26pm
Dan good job with your sm skills, now you should get into the UTD DIR backmount stages and scooters.....don't tell Diane I told you that....
Comment by Daniel Anderson on February 13, 2010 at 7:45am
I had a great couple of days with Ela (Emanuela Bertoni) of Cave Heaven setting up my new Armadillo Sidemount Rig. Check out this link on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVYX0g9pdYw
Comment by Emanuela Bertoni on February 5, 2010 at 10:09am
Welcome all, please feel free to start any discussion on Riviera Maya caves!!!!
A special thanks John Gavroy for this amazing picture of the drip stone in Sistema Chac Mool!!! (11 mt / 35 ft of monster....)

Members (76)


UTD on the Net

In the News

New and Exciting at UTD

Contact Info

Unified Team Diving




Street Address:
11211 Sorrento Valley Rd.
Suite I
San Diego, CA, 92121



+1 (855) DIVE UTD

+1 (855) 348-3883 

+1 760-585-9676

+1 760-585-9681 (fax)









© 2015   Created by Unified Team Diving.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Web Analytics