Monday, March 31, 2008

Nohoch Nah Chich

This time we hit the primary upstream line and followed it for 67' till another much smaller cenote, at which point, having used up one third of my air supply, I called the dive. Again we passed some pretty fabulous formations sculpted by time beyond imagination. We stayed underwater two hours, using only about half of our doubles air. Many more hours could be spent just to have a quick look down the many side lines branching off everywhere. This one truly is a giant maze!

The Cave Diver

My friend Bart just brought to my attention a pretty cool trailer for an upcoming documentary about cave diving in Yucatán, featuring Steve Bogaerts from Aztec Diving, simply titled: "The Cave Diver".

Seeing as I won't be releasing anything anytime soon, you might as well look forward to this alternative movie by Sea O'Farrell :o)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another dry day

No diving today, Miguel, the freelance dive guide hired by Xibalba, being once again otherwise occupied. Not that I mind too much, as after yesterday's dive my ear was slightly aching and I'm treating it now with antibiotic drops (Soldrin Otico), to prevent it getting any worse, as ear infections usually tend to do real fast.

Still, the apparent inexplicable shortage of reliable full-time and free-lance dive guides is rather annoying. Mostly because there doesn't seem to be any planning. It's day to day careless business. Reason enough I'd say to check any alternatives.

Not being able to make the movie I wanted doesn't help diminish my frustration of course. Not just because I flooded my camcorder. My technique hasn't really gotten any better after twenty dives. It would be easy to blame my back-up camera's limited video capabilities (read: very low resolution, poor light sensitivity, lack of image stabilization), but the fact remains that I just need a lot more dives, camera handling practice and some professional guidance.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Where to eat in Tulum?

• as cheap as it gets

For about 20 Pesos you can actually have a decent meal of roasted chicken (¼), rice, salad, tortillas & salsa in several main street BBQ places selling nothing but pollos asados al carbon.

In the evening, if you're not really hungry and just looking for a snack, you can get some tacos (7P/piece) or tamales (10P/pc) from street side vendors.

• for the budget minded traveler

On the south end of the main street, both Tacoqueto & Doña Tina cater to locals with a choice of home made dishes, of which you'll get a plateful for 30-40 Pesos. Add to that 10 Pesos for an agua de fruta or soft drink, or 15 Pesos for a cold beer.

Making your own cheese-tomato-cucumber-avocado sandwich with some halfway decent bread will cost you at least as much.

• tourist class

El Mariachi, Don Cafeto, Charlies, La Nave and various others offer Mexican & International cuisine for the more affluent, with dishes from 50 to 150 Pesos & more, drinks from 20 Pesos & upwards.

While not quite as overpriced as the beach side establishments, you still pay a premium for setting, arguably -if you know what to order where- slightly tastier food and often extremely slow service.

→ Todo Tulum

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nohoch Nah Chich

For my one hundredth cave dive my wish to marvel around in the giant bird cage got fulfilled, despite nobody really knowing the exact layout of this cave. But as I dived this system once two years ago, I still kind of had an idea where to look for the start of the permanent line*.

First though we had to find the cenote's entrance gate somewhere along highway 307 north of Tulum. Despite Nohoch's relative fame & popularity, none of the locals were able to help us out, but again memory served me well: the access road is the same as for Caracol!

From the parking & gearing up area it's a hot walk down to the 24°C cool water. Equipment checks done we submerged and went looking for a line, which we found at the end of the cavern zone and followed till its end barely 26' later, requiring us to close a gap to another line passing by just a few meters away. On my sign we went left, passing a domed cenote then approaching another brighter one. Both with snorkelers? Too much human activity for me so we swam back, shortly checking out the right section after the gap, thereby finding ourselves immediately in a fabulous area of petrified waterfalls.


This wonderful cave system is amazingly vast and very very shallow, averaging around 5m depth, thus allowing for extended dives of up to two hours on just a set of doubles.

* After talking to Robbie from Xibalba, who alas wasn't there when we got going, I found out that there are actually three upstream and one downstream line, and that by going left at the gap we indeed most probably made a circuit back to where we'd started.
[ entrance fee: 150 Pesos ]

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sac Aktun

After yesterday's exposure to the dark side, I figured a dive in Sac Aktun, Mayan for white cave, would be a good antidote. For greater effect and some private time I went solo, getting real close to the cave's building matter in the process.


Not that I ventured very deep inside. I pretty much remained in one wonderfully decorated room just beyond the cavern zone, away from the main line, shortly following a rarely traveled secondary line to a small cenote located not that far on the other side of the road.

As therapy I played around with my TillyTec lights, shooting various trial clips and experimenting with macro photography.


Grand cenote being relatively deserted today, I finished my dive with a tour of the cavern zone, enjoying the play of sunlight streaming in.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jailhouse

Jungle pool entry followed by a slide down sandwiched between easily stirred up decomposing dirt and a low tannic acid stained ceiling.


We immediately take the first T left and dive along passages so dark our lights seem useless. Captivating black stalactites bring to mind jail bars, hence the name of this cenote I guess. Probably haunted...

There's quite a lot of silt deposited everywhere. A thick layer of it. The mood's definitely somber but brightly clears up after the second T, where we turn right and dive down below the halocline, here at 15m, into slightly warmer and bluish salt water. Our mission area.

The tunnel down here's whitish with crusty crops of beige formations. Half an hour into the dive we pass by some old bones, supposedly from a big tapir.

When I reach 2/3 of my nitrox, I call the dive, looking forward to getting out again. For some reason, Systema Naranjal, incl. Cenote Cristal aka Naharon, Mayan Blue aka Escondido & Cenote of the Sun among others, never quite gave me a good feeling inside.
[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fish or ghost?


→ ogilbia pearsei
→ typhliasina pearsei

Chan Hol

Nice 82' dive through narrow tunnels, low passages and decorated rooms, past old human bones, traces of charcoal fires and almost intact pottery, then back to the present and unlimited free air.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bursts happen

About 12' into the dive, as I grabbed my SPG to check my remaining air pressure for the third time or so, it suddenly started to release a constant stream of bubbles. Miguel being right in front of me, I gave him the emergency signal, whereupon he immediately turned around, saw the problem and quickly shut off my left tank and thereby my back-up regulator with the failing SPG. After that we of course swam straight for the exit. Hadn't he been right there, I would of course have shut off the valve myself, though not quite as fast and I would most probably have silted up the tunnel in the process.

At first I thought my SPG had somehow just unscrewed itself from the HP hose, there was no doubt however once I took the SPG apart in the dive center: a piece had broken off from one of the two tiny O-rings! How? Old and/or not properly lubricated O-ring plus friction could be one explanation, but who knows.

One thing's sure though: That's already the third regulator related issue on this trip (2nd stage elbow O-ring failure, free-flowing 2nd stage and now SPG O-ring failure). And that right after having had my regulators serviced & checked by Tauchsport Manta in Munich. I guess they really didn't want to see me back again. Well, they won't.

UPDATE: Check out gear maintenance for even more troubling info.

Chan Hol


Short 23' dive (incl. 3' safety stop), aborted due to a technical issue.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Muchachos

Small entrance, big cave. Due to travel depth and distance, nitrox and a stage tank are recommended. We dived it on air and only just avoided decompression by keeping it short, read: 72'.

[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kalimba

Another great dive in Kalimba, this time involving one jump and one T, both times to the right. A 102' underwater trip of eyes-wide-open speleological pleasure. Mind you, though wonderfully decorated this system is very fragile and often restrictive, requiring perfect buoyancy control and careful crawling through various passages. Meaning should anything go wrong you'll need more than just a cool head to get out again. 50' into the cave is a long way back indeed. But then, nothing like a bit of risk awareness to keep a clear focus and sharp senses.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Taj Mahal

To my dismay the whole jungle clearing was full of vans as we arrived, but luckily they all belonged to cavern tours, meaning we had the cave all for ourselves. Though the best part here is arguably the extended cavern zone, actually connecting two cenotes and an air filled dome in between with several small holes in the roof through which sunlight beams in and refracts onto the water's surface.


The cave itself reminds of the weirdly eroded tunnels in Calavera, but unfortunately lots of it is exactly at halocline level, here at 12m, thus resulting in blurry vision for anybody except the leading diver.
[ entrance fee: 80 Pesos ]

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tortugas

Nice tunnel dive, left at the first T then right at the second T. I didn't see any turtles though? In order to avoid having to decompress, as most of the dive is spent below the halocline, here around 21m deep, nitrox is recommended. We used EAN36, diving on air this dive would otherwise most probably have resulted in a rather long deco penalty.

[ entrance fee: 70 Pesos ]

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tulum playa

Sun drenched day at the beach, barely 5km away from downtown Tulum, but another world all together, reachable by taxi for 40-60 Pesos. After having met some old acquaintances at La Zebra, I didn't hang around too long before marching off again. All the way back to Tulum pueblo, a rather hot, not to say rationally insane, 8km stroll.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A look into the Room of Tears


The original 320x240 30fps AVI source clips used for this video were recorded in Aktun Ha with a Sea&Sea DX8000G digital compact camera fitted with a 0.6x WAL, by the light of a TillyTec HID 35 with 80° flood reflector and a TillyTec LED 1000 with diffuser.

For the record: Uploading this 2'22" (15.6MB) video-clip took about 25', excluding a failed first attempt and post processing by Blogger.

Aktun Ha

This cenote is actually better known as Carwash, though I much prefer its Mayan name, which simply means water cave.

Somehow today I felt like doing a mourning dive to the Room of Tears, a relatively easy one jump cave dive, through a small hole off the main line, requiring some crawling, before being rewarded by the sight of this most famous & highly decorated little room.


Called back into action is my almost 3 years old Sea&Sea DX8000G, which despite two powerful lights alas still won't let me take sharp pictures in the darkness of the cave... so it will be down to low-res video-clips from here onwards. Shows that my drowned Xacti's one stop more sensitive lens and EIS clearly made a huge difference.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chac Mool

While the 500m dive along the highway large eroded tunnel isn't too interesting, the destination is all the more so: Xich Ha Tunich, supposedly the world's largest underwater stalactite, measuring at least 8m according to my depth gauge, starting just below the halocline at around 11m down to about 20m. This giant drip stone is not just big though, it's also really beautifully formed.


As we got near the water, Miguel noticed a Turquoise Browed Motmot, which I only got to see thanks to my camcorder's 10x zoom. As it turned out, that would be the last picture it took for me.

[ entrance fee: 80 Pesos ]

Floods happen

Yesterday morning, as I checked my equipment prior to the first dive, I noticed my Tektite Expedition Star wasn't burning evenly. The reason: a few drops of water somehow got through the double O-ring protection supposed to keep it dry :o( How? Who knows. Maybe the O-rings were just too old. I've been wanting to replace them for a while, but haven't been able to find any new ones of that particular size. Luckily I brought a third back-up torch with me, so I still have two as required for cave diving.

Worse and impossible to replace here and now, this morning as I submerged and wanted to switch on my camcorder, it didn't respond. Through the housing's translucent back I suddenly noticed some small drops and immediately resurfaced, opening it as soon as I'd swum back to shore, releasing several cc of water... too late though, the damage already done. Sensitive electronic components + H2O = The End.

Through the dive I kept hoping that maybe I'd be able to resurrect some life into my Xacti later on, after it had had some time to dry, but alas it hasn't given a single peep ever since :o( There's no way this O-ring could have been too old. I'd cleaned & greased it prior to the dive and everything had seemed fine enough. Of course it could also have been a failure of one of the smaller, inaccessible control button O-rings? All it would take is just one little grain of sediment lodging itself where it shouldn't. As you can imagine, I'm a bit depressed loosing my camcorder so soon. Six video dives is all I got to do with it. I was only just starting to get the hang of it...

Despair not however, I still have my old Sea&Sea DX8000G, so I sure hope to do some more shooting, if not high-res photos than at least better-than-nothing low-res video-clips. The show must go on!



UPDATE: I took my empty Epoque housing for another test dive down to 5m and it remained dry... meaning it was probably the main O-ring that failed, and thus my fault? There not being any obvious reason for the leak isn't very reassuring though and my confidence got flushed.

UPDATE: Epoque's quick reply to my email informing them of my misadventure:
Dear Mr TM, Firstly we thnk you for your having purchased our EHS-1000 HD underwater housing and we are sorry that you have had trouble on this unit for flooded. We are producing our underwater housing with care and we are doing waterproof test with 100% and sufficient pressure before shipment and we are sure that there is no item we shipped with flooded. Anyhow so sorry for this. If you would have any further question please be back to us. Best regards, NN, Epoque World.

UPDATE: According to some german forum posts from an underwater photography shop in Austria, great care must be taken when placing the Sanyo Xacti HD1000 inside Epoque's housing, otherwise the housing's lid might actually not be properly closed, even though all seven clamps are shut! They've apparently had several customers coming back with flooded camcorders, and have now put an explicit warning on their website stating Epoque does not assume any responsibility what so ever no matter the cause of the flood and therefor recommend some kind of third party insurance. They also note that the first Epoque housings (pre 02/2008) for the Sanyo Xacti HD1000 require some internal pieces to be replaced (to me that reads: production error). Anyways, I actually did replace the two small rubber pieces in question inside my housing. To no avail :o(

UPDATE: There's no longer any doubt in my mind that Epoque's EHS-1000HD housing is indeed leak-prone, as more and more users are reporting similar floods. (see forum threads listed below)

→ Forum thread #228051 on ScubaBoard
→ Forum thread #24014 on Wetpixel
→ Forum thread #24410 on Wetpixel
→ German forum thread #4823 on Taucher.Net
→ German forum thread #5019 on Taucher.Net
→ Spanish forum thread #48305

UPDATE: Sanyo (Germany) of course declines any responsibility, even though they promote the EHS-1000HD as accessory on their website.

UPDATE: Interesting read in UWP #48 in which Sim Chee Ghee describes both Epoque's EHS-1000HD and Patima's Xacti housing, thereby briefly commenting on the EHS-1000HD's susceptibility to flooding:
Apropo flooding, a few samples earlier versions of this housing reportedly have had some flooding issues, which upon checking was due to user misalignment of the camera in the housing. The camera inserts into the housing with opened LCD directly as it is, without any trays or adapters. Epoque attended to the problem and improved the housing by installing a nicely, chromed semi circle bracket on the top and 2 plastic brackets in the middle and bottom part to align the camera. Misalignment is therefore passé, however a caution note is still included in the housing packaging, warning users to be careful.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kalimba

Kalimba is an amazing wonder of underwater speleology at its best, low ceilinged and often restrictive, it forces one to get close to its fragile beauty. Everywhere you look, its petrified past stares back at you. I could make a whole movie here.



[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Splash movie


Not all entries are this splashtacular, most of the time it's possible to just step or wade in, climb down or fall back into a cenote.

Calavera

Also known as the Temple of Doom, the thrill here starts with a 2m high splash in, followed by a blurry descent through the boundary between fresh and salt water, continuing with a silent prayer past the Madonna, along eroded tunnels, beyond the Fang and back to the fossilized past, when this was not a cave but the bottom of the sea.



[ entrance fee: 80 Pesos ]

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grand cenote

Another test dive. This time to check out my alternative video set-up, where my Green Force Flexi II battery is attached to my housing's tray together with a float, i.e. an aluminum bottle, so that I can hand over my camcorder to another diver, in order to be able to make a few appearances in my own movie :o)

⊗ This sure ain't a professional set-up and it's a bit too front heavy, but it kind of works, though I wouldn't recommend it for long dives.

Chan Hol


[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tux Kupaxa

Five hour expedition to the cave of the mastodon. From Tulum we drive north along highway 307 to Chemuyil, turning left just before reaching this growing settlement for hotel employees, following a relatively even dirt road cut straight through the jungle.


After several kilometers, the dirt road deteriorates into a roughly hewn track, then simply ends. Time to gear up: hooded 2mm vest underneath a 7mm neoprene wetsuit, topped with about 50kg of cave diving equipment and camcorder. Then off we march into the jungle.


It's about 30°C in the shade and by the time I reach the cenote I'm steaming hot and really really happy to splash into the refreshingly cool 25°C water.


Tux Kupaxa, explored by my former boss Gunnar Wagner from Aktun dive center and Xibalba's owner Robert Schmittner is one of the most beautiful caves I've ever had the chance to dive.

Like most cave systems here, this one too seems endless, with countless passages branching off to who knows where. What makes this one special, beside the discovery several years ago of prehistoric mastodon bones of National Geographic fame, are the wonderful decorations everywhere you look.


Unfortunately the nicest bones have been removed, for archeological study, leaving only a few of the smaller ones, which you'll only see if you really know what you're looking for.

[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Grand cenote - video test

First photo/video dive with my new Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1000 mini-camcorder in an Epoque EHS-1000HD housing, fitted with a 0.56x WAL and my two TillyTec dive lights, i.e. a LED 1000 and HID 35.

To my surprise it's actually possible to take quite decent photos. Getting sharp footage in auto-focus mode alas seems to be much harder to accomplish... but then, I may need some shooting practice?




First camcorder & housing observations so far:

⊗ Despite its relatively compact size, the Epoque EHS-1000HD is rather bulky and very uncomfortable to hold.

⊗ Fitted with a WAL this housing becomes very front-heavy.

⊗ Epoque's screw-on WAL is a pain to remove & replace underwater. Personally I much prefer Sea&Sea's quick & easy bayonet system, but alas that's not an option in this case. Still, I recommend using a WAL.

⊗ Despite having both batteries attached to my belt, my underwater camcorder set-up is still too heavy, due to the WAL and two light heads clammed onto the housing via flex-arms.

⊗ While recording in video mode, the autofocus really has a hard time finding the right sharpness in the caves.

⊗ Inside the housing, the HD1000's auto-focus becomes very noisy, rendering any underwater tone almost useless (unless you shoot in locked focus mode).

⊗ Video quality suffers from graininess, despite the 225W of combined output, due to the rather limited range of diffused light.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cenote Cristal

Slightly deeper two jumps test dive to about -20m to make sure my Epoque underwater housing is indeed watertight before taking my camcorder down with it. I also tried out having my two dive light batteries attached to my belt, as that will probably be my main set-up for underwater videography, the other one being one battery attached to my belt as usual and one beneath the camcorder housing, together with a float so as to achieve as neutral as possible buoyancy.

This time I also had the diffuser on my LED 1000, so as to avoid any hotspot later on while filming. I found the effect very pleasing to the eye... but of course only actual shooting will tell whether it also pleases my camcorder.
[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Power

Dive lights, camera, camcorder, laptop, useless* mobile phone, ... all these devices need power. That means plugs, cables, chargers, socket adaptors (e.g. US style here in Mexico) and rechargeable batteries.


(* my old 6210 Nokia mobile phone is not able to get me connected to anybody anywhere - at least not from here)

Friday, March 7, 2008

TIllyTec LED 1000 in Sac Aktun

Easy one jump cave dive towards Kalimba through a really nice section I sure hope to dive again with camcorder later on.

⊕ Both dives today were illuminated by my new TillyTec LED 1000, which I'm really happy about, even though it's just a pre-production model. And it's not only Tilly's big lights that shine brightly, his W30 back-up torch bundles an amazing lot of power in such a small 3x AA handheld package, enough I'd say as to be almost useable as main light source... two of these on an helmet could be pretty cool?
[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Carwash

Equipment check and training dive: Air share, laying of the primary reel line till the cave's permanent main line on the way in and retrieving it on the way out, shutting off & turning on of each tank and the manifold between the two, harness removal & replacement and of course constant buoyancy control while going up and down following the cave's main tunnel.

Showing me around is Miguel, a PADI OWSI & cave diver from Spain, with an interest in underwater videography.
[ entrance fee: 100 Pesos ]

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dive gear set-up

Set up & checked my dive gear at Xibalba, my base of operation for the next few weeks.


After two self-imposed acclimatization days, I'm looking very much forward to start diving tomorrow. Of course without camera at first, as I'll have more than enough at hand just getting back into cave diving mode, an already gear intensive art of submersion as it is. Plus I'd like to do some basic safety drills and skill rehearsal exercises before going for the big motion picture.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sonthofen - Tulum

Travel details: 04:45, Early wake-up. Luckily, yesterday evening's new snow did not stay and the road's clear to go. 05:00, Petra drives me to Sonthofen's Bahnhof. 05:22, Train to Kempten. 06:05, Connecting train to Buchloe. 06:52+5', Connecting train to München Hauptbahnhof. I get off 7' earlier however in Pasing, from where I take the 07:49+2' train straight to the airport. Arriving there at 08:40, well in time for my flight.

I could also have taken the 06:10 train in Sonthofen, in which case I should have arrived at the airport around 9:30. But with only 5' in Kempten to make a connection, that would have been risky.

Walking from the airport's train station to terminal 2 takes 15'. 09:05, Being early I don't have to queue in order to check in my two trolley bags, which indeed weigh in as 26 & 16kg. 09:35, After a short drink-up-all-forbidden-liquids break, I walk through security. Of course they make me open my backpack to check & sniff both my gun-like camcorder and X-ray challenging dive light batteries.

11:15, Boarding. 11:55+35', Take-off. 24:00-25', Touch-down. 15' later we're let out of the plane, immediately finding ourselves in a queue towards immigration. 24:10, Officially stamped into Mexico. 24:15, My two bags are sliding in just as I arrive at the luggage belt. Only to get stuck in another unorganized queue to get through customs. Which I luckily clear without getting the red open-up-all-your-bags light. 24:35, On the way out I get myself a shuttle bus ticket for 50$. 24:50, Six other tourists and I ride out towards Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, where the driver finally drops me off at 03:30 (German time).

Señora Lourdes from Villa Matisse is waiting for me and immediately makes me feel at home. I get a nice upstairs room with private hot-water bathroom, double bed, hammock and fan. Perfect. While for me it's 04:20 by now, here in Mexico it's only 21:20 yet, i.e. seven hours earlier, but late enough for me to fall straight into bed after a refreshing shower :o)

Currency: 1 Euro = 14.80 Pesos , 1 USD = 10.30 Pesos

Monday, March 3, 2008

Packed!

While 2x 30kg check-in allowance is more than enough, the 6kg hand-luggage limit is only half of what I actually need. The problem being that I'm required by LTU to carry my two heavy dive lights onboard, thereby forcing me to stuff more fragile photo/video equipment into my check-in bags, just so as not to exceed the limit too much...


Final weigh in: 16+26+10 = 52kg!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Underwater videography gear


  • camcorder , e.g. Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1000
  • underwater housing , e.g. Epoque EHS-1000HD
  • wide-angle lens
  • tray , e.g. Sea&Sea multi-stay
  • flex arms with light-head grips
  • videolight #1 , e.g. TillyTec LED 1000 with diffuser, umbilical cable, Green Force Flexi II battery, handle & float
  • videolight #2 , e.g. primary dive light as listed under cave diving gear

Basic cave diving gear


    exposure protection
  • swim trunks
  • hooded vest , e.g. Camaro hooded Ice vest 2/4mm
  • dive suit , e.g. Camaro Stingray 2x7mm
  • booties

    abc
  • mask , e.g. Cressi BigEyes
  • fins , e.g. Mares Plano Avanti

    monitoring
  • dive computer , e.g. Suunto Vyper
  • dive watch , e.g. Citizen Promaster Aqualand
  • wrist slate & pencil

    buoyancy device
  • stainless-steel backplate & harness
  • wings , e.g. standard single-bladder from DiveSystem
  • pocket with spare mask
  • pocket with arrows & cookies
  • primary knife
  • secondary Z-knife

    primary regulator
  • 1st stage , e.g. Scubapro MK25AF
  • 2nd stage on 2m hose , e.g. Scubapro S600
  • wing inflator hose

    back-up regulator
  • 1st stage , e.g. Scubapro MK25AF
  • 2nd stage on standard hose , e.g. Scubapro S550
  • SPG

    stage regulator if needed
  • 1st stage , e.g. Scubapro MK2+
  • 2nd stage on standard hose , e.g. Scubapro R390
  • SPG on short hose

    primary dive light
  • light-head , e.g. TillyTec HID 35
  • umbilical cable
  • battery , e.g. TillyTec TT 3
  • goodman handle

    back-up dive lights
  • torch #1 , e.g. TillyTec LED W30
  • torch #2 , e.g. Tektite Expedition Star

    reels
  • primary reel , e.g. large Dive Rite reel
  • safety reel , e.g. small Dive Rite reel
  • jump & gap spools|reels as needed , e.g. Oxycheq finger spool

My basic cave diving set-up, with just one safety reel and without stage, weighs approximately 17.5kg plus about 17kg per full 11l aluminum tank! With two primary lights, underwater camera, primary-, jump- & safety reel make that 21.5kg plus tanks.