MCEP/CINDAQ Exploration Update

By Chris Le Maillot

Early last year, CINDAQ (Centro Investigador Del Sistema Acuifera de Quintana Roo) was contacted by Manual Orvananus, to further the exploration and mapping of a cave system on his land named Tatich.

With a long history of initiating conservation efforts in this area, Manual's interest is focused on facilitating a better understanding and preservation of this cave and its broader surroundings.

This cave was first explored in 1997 by Jorge Pacheco from Akumal. In 1999 and 2000, a French exploration team led by Christian Thomas and Philippe Brunet furthered the exploration and mapped some 18,480ft (5,600m) of tunnels. Additional investigation was recently carried out by Pep Llinares and Sergio Granucci.

Tatich cave system and the nearby caves of Nohoch Aktun (25,325 ft / 7,700 m) and Miss Aktun (3,960 ft / 1,200m) likely forms the underground river that flows to the Yalku Lagoon in Akumal.

Over the past few months, CINDAQ and MCEP (Mexico Cave Exploration Project) have conducted further study and investigation by harnessing the expertise of an international team of experienced cave divers and explorers.

Survey efforts from January 19 to 22 and February 16 to 20 created a solid database for 3D mapping, and a better understanding of the cave layout. This shallow cave is likely to remain another focus point for the team, as it is a unique opportunity to work with a landowner who understands the importance of cave conservation efforts. Further projects in Tatich will be an ideal opportunity for new members to hone their survey skills.

Special thanks to Manual, Liliana and the caretakers of their land, Christian Thomas and his team for early mapping efforts and to Zero Gravity Dive Center for logistical support.

Project Particpants: Davide De Antoni, Fred Devos, Rob Hillman, Tom Karch, Ralph Correia, Chris Le Maillot, Sam Meacham, Daniel Riordan & Olmo Torres-Talamente.

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