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Cenote Chacsinicchee

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Map of Cenote Chacsinicchee: Roberto Hashimoto, Agustin Garcia, 1997

Cave Type: Cenote - solutional cave system.

Location: Cuzama, Yucatan

Length: 670 m

Maximum depth: 73 m

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Horse-drawn rail cart: used to transport divers and gear

Description: Cenote Chacsinicchee, "Tree of the Red Ant", is located 10 kilometers south of the village of Cuzama and 65 kilometers southeast of Merida. A horse-drawn rail cart is used to transport gear to the cave. The entrance consists of a small crack in the ground, but the cave opens up below ground level into a dome-like chamber. This chamber is about 55 meters in diameter and 18 m in height from the water level to the ceiling. The water is crystal clear and cobalt blue. Beams of sunlight piercing into the water from the ceiling hole produce a spectacular sight. Support personnel lower equipment down into the water, while an aluminum ladder provides divers a means of reaching water level. Descending into the large pool of clear water, the first discovered passage, called the Well, heads due south, down a steep slope where the line ends at a depth of 60 m in clear freshwater. At about 40 m depth in the Well, there is a larger room with a collapsed ceiling, Chupacabras Point. After the breakdown, the passage opens up and leads into a low, wide sidemount passage at about 27 m water depth that goes for about 6 m toward another small cenote before becoming plugged with sediment. Out of the breakdown room, two passages lead down into the lower cave level, the Japo's Dream Passages and the Nightmare Chamber where the maximum depth reached was 73 m and the halocline was found at 67 m. The big borehole-like tunnel at a average depth of around 55 m is about 21-24 m wide and 6-8 m high, the whole lower cave level has old dark brown clay banks on the floor.
Chacsinicchee is a multi layered cave system with distinct levels at 27 m, 40 m, and, the deepest, about 67-73 m. In the northern part of the cave system, the main tunnel, the Invisible Passage consists of a huge, white, arched passage about 18-21 m wide and 15-18 m high with dark brown clay banks on the floor. The floor depth here is 40-44 m. No speleothems have been found in either passage and there seems to be no flow in the entire cave system, although the water remains extremely clear. This cave system is one of the largest in the Merida area with approximately 670 m of explored passage.
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Cenote Chacsinicchee: Image provided by the Gobierno del Estado de Yucatan, Secretaria de Ecologia

Hydrology: Surface water is fresh. A halocline is found at a depth of 67 m in one section of the cave.

Diving Mode: Standard cave scuba; trimix recommended for deeper exploration.

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Cenote Chacsinicchee: Japo's Dream Passage

History: The first exploration dive was done in May 1980 when the well was found. A year later, Fernando Rosado and Michael Dutton returned with the club de Espeleobuceo Yucatan to explore the circuit. These dives were done without any training or experience in cave diving and with the most basic equipment - single tanks, no BCD's, and surface supplied sealed beam lights. Other notable discovery dives include Chupacabrass Point (Daniel Dens and Andreas W. Matthes, July 1997); Japo's Dream Passages and the Nightmare Chamber (Roberto Hashimoto and Agustin Garcia, July / August 1997); Halocline Room (Andreas W. Matthes, October 1997); and the Invisible Passage (Roberto Hashimoto and Agustin Garcia, June 1997).

Fauna:

Conservation status: The cave is in good condition with no trash being present. Unfortunately, Mayan artifacts have apparently been removed from this site.

Links:

Contributor: Andreas W. Matthes, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo; Roberto Hashimoto and Agustin Garcia, Merida, Yucatan


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