Cave Diving: Dos Ojos experience

Posted on April 6th 2014
WHILE cave diving in Dos Ojos, Mexico, I had an interesting experience which relates to the book I'm currently working on and thought I'd include it for your interest.

THE rumble above my head was thunderous; so loud it seemed to shake the roof of the flooded cave. So loud, it sounded like the low-slung ceiling barely five metres above my head was avalanching behind me, severing me from the way back to the surface … And life. I was in one of the most brutally beautiful yet dangerous places on earth: underground and underwater. But then, forty minutes into the dive and hundreds of metres into the earth, it felt like my whole world was collapsing in. Instinctively, I moved closer to the guide line leading through the cave. It disappeared into the pitch blackness beyond the beam of my torch towards, possibly, another exit three kilometres away. And then I braced myself, breathed deeply and waited for the upset of water which would throw me into the coffin-tight passages beyond. 

I was there because of a man called Martin Robson. A cave diving explorer, Robson was at the top of his field. I'd once sat in the audience of a conference to hear him talk eloquently of the beauty of underwater caves and the opportunities they offered.  

“They are the last frontier left unexplored on earth,” he’d said. “I’ve seen places you would not believe … Untouched geological cathedrals from the dawn of time. Minerals glittering in the beam of my torch like stars against the darkness. Rock sculpted by the hand of water into the most heavenly of formations. All those things … are out there … lost to time … hidden from all but the most adventurous … just waiting to be found … By those of you with the desire, dedication and commitment to meeting the most exacting standards scuba diving will ever ask of you.” 

That those words could be a life-changing epiphany struck those closest to me as odd. What could you possibly find so interesting in a dark hole in the ground? My wife Alison had asked. If this was to be the end; if the grumble of exhaling air bubbles rolling along the ragged limestone roof weren’t playing tricks on my mind; if the ceiling really was falling in, I wondered how should I react? Should I use my last breaths in this world to put down on a waterproof notepad a message for Alison? “Don't cry. What has happened can't be undone. Now is not for sorrow, it’s time to rejoice in the wonderful life we had together. Thank you for letting me pursue a passion you found so hard to fathom. I’ll always be there for you in your heart …” 

When the deep threatened to squeeze the life from Martin Robson while searching for a mysterious cave what did he think? Did he search desperately for a way out back to his life and love? Did he give up and, in those final moments, savour the memories of a life which has tasted love, laughter and joy?  

For an idea of the actual dive in Dos Ojos I'd recommend Cold Water Kitty's blogpost.

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