The Line Less Traveled

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Sidemount

Every week vacationing divers come up to me with the same question: “Can you give us directions for X line at Y  cave”. If I have determined that the dive they are asking for is safely within their scope of training and experience, I am happy to brief and explain the navigation. I’ve noticed a weird trend in cave diving in the Tulum area: divers in multiple different groups, spread out over weeks or months, will ask for the same dive plan.

Cave dives in the area seem to go through phases of popularity. Usually a visitor will make a  Youtube / Instagram video about a line they dived on, and for months following everybody wants to dive that one specific part. Which is absolutely okay! Provided again that the dive is within their training and skill level.

The problem I often observe is divers will move on quickly from one specific cave without seeing HUGE parts of the site. After the divers have done that one requested area, they will come back the next day and ask for a completely different cave in a totally separate system. Divers will do one 90 minute dive and one 80 minute dive at a site and then have no desire to return because they “already did X cave”. What most people fail to recognize is that there are  incredible, picturesque, really fun passages at these same sites that don’t get seen simply because they aren’t “trending” right now.

One of the things that sets Mexican cave diving apart from cave diving elsewhere is the amount of navigation available. Some of my favorite dives involve jumps that rarely get taken, or directions that are not as popular. I do not want to name specific lines in specific caves, because I’m not trying to start a “trend”, and I want to encourage divers to explore more of a cave before moving on. There are tons of local sites I could take the same client to for multiple days in a row and only “repeat” the first 5-10 minutes of the dive.

Next time you find yourself in a Mexican cave on vacation doing some guided or unguided dives, take a moment and consider “is there more of this cave that I have not seen?”. The answer is probably yes! If so, ask a local dive guide (Feel free to ask me!) what other parts of that cave they would recommend. Try spending a couple days in a row at the same site, and go dive some of those areas you’ve always passed, but never actually traveled.