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Staying on the Road Most Traveled

“It’s just Naharon.”

When people say something like that around me, what I hear is, “I have no idea what I’m talking about.”

Taj. Mayan Blue. Ponderosa. Carwash. The places everyone who trained in the area spent a day or two get their ass handed to them. (Reason being, there is a literal list of places where local instructors are supposed to run certain drills and skills.)

Perhaps it’s the butt-kickings leaving a vague sense of bad mojo, or even dread. Perhaps it’s some perception that if you train there they must be the boring or easy sites. Perhaps it’s straight up having been told, “Now we’re done with class and we can go to the good sites instead of here.”

In any case, if you can’t find something that puts your jaw on the floor time and time again in any one of those places… the truth is not that they’re “Just XXXXX.” It’s that you don’t know where to look.

I mentioned yesterday going to some of the most beautiful passage on the planet. That was in Mayan Blue (granted, it’s a well-hidden jump, but Mayan Blue nonetheless).

And today we went to Naharon. Yeah, it took a stage and some scooters to get where we were, but jumping Jesus on a pogo-stick was it beautiful. As heavily decorated as anything anywhere in The area, but all stained pitch black. Not dark, not chocolate or tannin-y. Black. Darker than a black steer’s tuchus on a moonless prairie night.

Most directions swallowed my powerful primary light, making it like scootering (at a quite low speed) through outer space. At one point a ten foot wide column erupted out of the darkness in front of me with zero notice. Another, we went through a series of rooms where there was a line across every wall and formation below which was the stain, but above which everything was sparkling white.

Eventually it got too tight to carry on scootering, so we dumped them and swam. Until it got too tight for backmount. Recalculated thirds a couple of times on the way home and saw some other shit that was brain-bendingly exquisite. Wound up in the water for about 2 1/2 hours. 1 minute of deco; which cleared by the time I was finished untying my reel from the mainline.

And the best part of all this:

Because it’s “just Naharon…” no one ever goes there! So everything is pristine as a motherfucker. Huge rooms brimming with thousands of formations delicate as a dewy spiderweb. Vast drifts of velvety silt unmarked by gouges or handprints. Cozy passages where the few handholds are the only places there is a tiny pop of the white limestone below the black.

It is a place so dismissed by the incurious that it remains undefiled, almost virginal. Heavenly. Where you don’t have to hike through a quarter mile of mosquitoes and paper wasps- can, instead, damn near giant-stride out of the back of the truck into a perfect dive.



Why am I telling anyone about any of this?

Fuck Naharon. It’s boring as hell. You wouldn’t like it. It’s dark and scary.

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