A Video of our dives in the Cenote - Chikin Ha.
Thanks to A La Ventura diving films for the making of this video and to all the 'models' (Students, Oakham School Staff and Parents and Dive Rutland Club Members)
Back in 2017, Apeks released an exciting new regulator with some understated benefits. The XL4 is a small and fairly light weight regulator but still cold water rated. Designed for technical divers who would have multiple stages the 2nd stage is light weight and simple to reduce jaw fatigue and the DB4 1st stage is a modified DS4 with feature from the MTX-R.
Tested to EN250A the XL4 had to be able to supply air at 50m at 2°C including an octo and has a light breathe of just 0.9J/l at 1°C. Over balanced diaphragm design means it will actually be able to deliver more gas at depth than it would at the surface.
Weighing in at a tiny 905g (DIN version), the XL4 is their lightest ever cold-water regulator. Light on weight doesn’t mean light on features though. This compact regulator includes Apek's latest cold-water innovation, an over-moulded first stage endcap that reduces ice build-up around the first stage. This technology greatly reduces the risk of a free flow in low temperatures. Cold water performance is further improved by heat exchangers on the first and second stage.
Ideal for technical divers looking to reduce the weight of their setup, the XL4 can also be used as a neat and compact regulator for stage cylinders, perfect for the technical exploration diver with a large amount of equipment.
The XL4 is a high-performance option for divers serious about weight savings.
The Apeks XL4 is a compact lightweight regulator suitable for diving in all environments including cold water locations. Its design and low weight help reduce jaw fatigue on long dives. The XL4 also makes an ideal stage regulator, perfect for the technical exploration diver with a large amount of equipment. The XL4 is a high performance option for those technical divers serious about weight savings.
Features and Benefits
Is this a Regulator For Me?
While the XL4 was originally designed for technical divers it will be great for any diver due to it's simple design and function and its performance in any environment. The 1st stage has all the features you need for a single, twin or stage cylinder setup unless you want to dive with a SPG and transmitter on a single as it only has one high pressure port.
The second stage has a light but solid feel to it with a strong purge button with a positive feel to it. The only adjustment you have is a Venturi lever but many don't use breathing adjustment after the first couple dives.
Bottom line if you're a British diver who dives at home but also wants to travel occasionally or a travelling diver who wants to dive in the UK occasionally the XL4 will be a great regulator for you.
NB: The Difference between the XL4 and XL4+ regulator is the XL4+ features an additional HP port.
Last night (Thursday) was one of the heaviest rain storms yet. Thunder and lightening accompanied by sheet rain left a few rooms flooded and a restaurant closed. Several members of the team left early to travel to the mainland to visit the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza. The site is one of the seven wonders of the world and a must see if you are in the area.
Some of the students went into the local town to buy presents and others toured the island, whilst the remainder relaxed by the pool soaking up the sunshine. Some of the students enthusiastically joined in all the games and activities that were put on by the hotel, which included volleyball, water polo, water aerobics, chess, table tennis, etc. The water aerobics was harder work than I thought it would be!
The trip has been every bit as successful as previous years diving trips, which is no small part due to the behaviour and enthusiasm of pupils and parents who got along with each other extremely well. The planing for next year has already started - see you all then.
We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all of the students who completed PADI qualifications this week (over 20), including PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced Open Water, Drift Diver Speciality and dSMB Speciality to name a few.
There has been plenty of laughs and some thought provoking conversations during the trip, but we have decided to sign off with the 'riddle of the week'.
Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 5 duck sized horses??
Today started VERY early with everyone meeting at 6am in the lobby to get taxis to the ferry. The Cenotes are a highlight of the trip and well worth the effort involved in getting there (although not sure at 6am everyone was thinking that!). No, sharks, turtles or rays today, just rock architecture and ambience in the caves and their crystal clear fresh water to make up for it, although there were a couple of small fish around.
Today, was a significant birthday for me and there is no better way to celebrate then with a dive or two except having my lovely and very supportive husband with me would have topped the day off nicely.
Once we had been given a tour of the dive site and introduced to our instructors it was time to kit up. Some of the group seemed very apprehensive but had soon been reassured by their instructors and were looking forward to the experience. The caverns ran into the hillside from an open pool, for quite some way and had no clear way to the surface other than forwards or back the way we had come. Safety checks complete and 3-4 of us to one instructor, we set off with only torches lighting the way. It was similar to diving at night but without any obvious signs of life. It was very atmospheric, the lights of the other divers adding to the feeling of adventure.
With the first dive over several people opted to have a go at the zip lines instead of doing a second dive, which they enjoyed. The non divers explored the cave opening and seemed to enjoy diving down whilst the divers passed close by under them or spotting small turtles. The second dive was even better than the first with a few tighter squeezes and small passages to go through. I think everyone enjoyed the experience and it will certainly give them something to talk about when they get home
Heading back to Cozumel, a band on the ferry (strange but true) played a Mexican version of happy birthday - very random and embarrassing and under pressure I share the video.
So, thats the diving phase of the trip now completed.
Sight seeing, shopping and sunbathing are the order of the day for the last day for most, although a small group are off to explore Chichen Itza
Another great day of drift diving had today, two dives this morning and a night dive tonight.
Turtles, seen on ever dive, even the night dive (they were just sleeping on that one).. This is really spoiling everyone. They are very special though particularly when the current knocks them off the reef and they end up barrel rolling to get the right way up, so they can effortlessly swim away.
Another nurse shark sighting, resting and swimming out in the open,along with moray eels hidden in crevices as they do, although one big one did decide to go for an open air swim. Then there was a crevice full of some really big lobsters, they really know they in a no take zone.....
On the first dive we still had "floppy SMB syndrome", but the second dive it was done to perfection.. So that's the dSMb speciality completed..
The night dive was experienced by a few of the group for the very first time by some newly qualified this week to those with a few more dives under their belt. From turtles, baby sharks to parrot fish and much more and let's not forget the octopus..
So, tomorrow we are off to the cenotes, to what is the last official day of diving
A three dive day for those that wanted, two early morning dives and one afternoon. First dive lots going on, with our last open water diver completing their final qualifying dive,and a number of last years Junior Adventure divers taking the opportunity to complete their deep adventure dive, in preparation for their Advanced Ooen Water certification with some of this weeks recently qualified divers.
On the same dives, saw baby Moray Eel, Turtle (seems to be one on every dive... Is it the same one?)...and it was a serious drift dive....
The second dive, another drift, but a great site... Lots to see, some great swim throughs, a turtle! And a sleeping shark, all tucked away under a crevice until two groups of divers stuck their noses and cameras in its face...
A very annoyed moray eel in one of the entrances of a swim through also getting more and more snappy the more that people went through.
Dive three, shoals of various fish and more swim throughs...oh and a very limp sausage. James you will have to have another go at that!!
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Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE