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Oh... That's Just Carwash

Some of my favorite caves in the area are some of the most frequently dived. Including the ones that are commonly used for training.


Some of the more jaded divers will look at, say, Naharon or Taj and say, "Oh, it's just Taj. That's just a training cave." Dismissing it as boring or somehow "less-than" something that's a mile hike into the jungle past angry swarms of tarantula hawk wasps. (Look them up. They're terrifying.)


I suppose it's sort of easy for visitors, especially frequent visitors, to fall into that trap for a couple of reasons.


One being the overwhelming number of cenotes in the area to dive. So expansive is the number that even after dozens of visits you feel like you've barely just started to scratch the surface... because it's true. You HAVE only just barely started to scratch the surface.


So why would you want to "waste time" going to the same cave where a bunch of people are only just learning? Where you, yourself, may have spent a ton of time with a blackout mask on, groping your way across jagged limestone?


Much better - so this line of thinking goes - to go to the exciting, super-secret stuff that no one ever goes to.


The other reason is one that I was postulating on the other day. That divers take their cues from their guides and instructors and mentors. Frequently local professionals. Who spend a LOT of time in some of these holes during training.


I could probably describe, with some precision, every rock in every passageway within the first thousand feet of Mayan Blue.


Spending that much time in a place, it is easy to fall into a sort of boredom. When you can swim through a place just as easily as you can walk from your bedroom to the bathroom in the dark of the middle of the night, the mystique fades a bit. And that becomes represented in the way we talk about things.


So as soon as a diver hears someone they respect say something like, "It's just Taj..." that is the way they, unconsciously, will begin to think about it.


Which is absolutely untrue for a couple of reasons.


The simplest being that if you think of Mayan Blue as "Just Mayan Blue..." then you don't know where to go. There are a handful of the most amazing passages on planet earth in that system.


Some are not easy to find. Some require advanced tools like stages or DPVs to access. But if you think of Mayan Blue as less than any cave you can name, then you haven't really even seen it.


The broader reason, as applies to our later group, the professionals who find the same repeated dives tedious...


Know what? The dive isn't really for you. Shut up.


Your role as a guide is to show people things THEY will find exciting and beautiful. Just because you've seen a passage 500 times doesn't mean your guests won't find it as spellbinding the first time they see it as you did the first time you saw it.


You don't need to bring them to all the places that impress you. When they've never seen anything here, everything here will be truly awesome.


Know what? I feel into that same trap myself this week.


Our guests suggested they'd like to see Carwash on this trip. They haven't spent too much time in the area and have never been to Carwash.


I inwardly harumphed. Thinking, "There are so many other places I want to bring you that will blow your mind! That's just Carwash."


And as soon as I took three steps away from the conversation I caught myself.


They have never seen the Room of Tears. Or the beauty of the downstream darkness. And everyone deserves to see that. Just because I've seen it a whole hell of a lot doesn't detract from that one bit.


So today we're going to Carwash.


I hope there aren't 8 billion cavern tours.


Now, Jesus, those folks... whose every single dive is something like Dos Ojos three times a day every day of their life... ugh.


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