Parking Lot Collapse

By Fred Devos

Most unique dive site


A paved parking lot behind the tennis courts of Puerto Aventuras more than likely takes top position on the list of unique dive sights. In the fall of 1997 a new cave system was found- with some help from the automobile and construction industries.


Puerto Aventuras is a tourist development area consisting of condominiums, hotels, shops and restaurants overlooking a man-made marina and complete with a nine-hole golf course, and white sandy beach.


Cave collapse


The combination of the weight of cars and the relentless pounding

of a future condominium being built more than likely contributed to an eight foot by five-foot area of parking lot collapsing to reveal a tube of clear water flowing toward the sea. Or perhaps it was the wrath of Mayan Gods battling the onslaught of modernization. In any case, the temptation to enter was too great. First to dive this new system were Luis Fernando Martinez and Alejandro Elizondo. Kate Lewis, Yair Azubel, Bernd Birnbach and myself made further exploration and mapping dives.


Dolphin discovery


Because of its proximity to the sea, flow and visibility vary greatly with tidal patterns. Various sponges and clams decorate the bland colored walls while albino lobster, octopus, and bristle worms sneak through the brackish tunnels. Finds include bones believed to be of a young crocodile and more than one empty Coke can. The stark contrast between nature and development continued as a second entrance was found when Kate Lewis and myself surfaced in an area of the marina now being used as a dolphin enclosure.


Beneath shops, restaurants and hotel


The developer's nervous surprise could be expected when the finished map was presented. Passages up to twenty-five feet wide run eighteen feet below three restaurants, two streets and several antiquity shops and apartments. Our downstream line ends below the front lobby of an expensive hotel while the upstream tapers beneath the first tee-off for vacationing golfers! To our dismay, the filled in parking lot once again caters to cars; not cavers, but now, new hope exists for even the laziest of explorers. Just spend time in a Mexican bar or restaurant and who knows…. maybe one day, a new cave system will find you!


3/9/00- In August of 1999, Valet politely opened its door once again with the re-collapse of the parking lot entrance. Yair Azubel and myself made two dives to discover over 2000 ft of a new upstream section we named "Vintner" and we resurveyed existing lines to help with future development decisions.  Shortly thereafter, the persistent cave entrance was again sealed and cars have their parking space back.  If nature allows, we will tell of future dives made in this very unique system. -Ed.


DIR México/ Pto. Aventuras

Quintana Roo, México 77733

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