My first exploration in the Dream Gate system took place in February 2009, and occurred by chance.
The cenote, which was giving the name to the system, offers a breathtaking view. A crater 20 meters in diameter with sheer walls that sinks to the surface of the water, seven meters below. At the center of the cenote, there is a small island, made by collapsed stones, surrounded by crystal clear water.
The plan was to make a relaxing dive following the existing upstream line.
Alain and I were not familiar with the cave, and we soon arrived in a zone where the navigation was really complex: Ts
everywhere with no way to distinguish a "main tunnel".
We realized that the map we used for the dive planning was not updated; in the caves many unreported lines were existing.
After 50 minutes of diving we had a surprise: the line was tied onto a rock and the cave was going on, straight and
We could explore about 80 meters, then the cave ended in a basement; not an interesting area.
Robbie Schmittner and Steve Bogaerts were also
working in the same area, trying to connect the systems Nohoch (Sac Actun, today) and Dos Ojos. We decided to share tasks,
as there was another cenote, the Pierre's Piss Hole, hidden in the jungle and long since forgotten.
Alain and I surveyed and explored the Pierre's P.H., Steve from Dream Gate, Robbie from Nohoch.
The maximum distance reached by Chris Stanton, the original explorer, was 510 meters, the cave goes South-West; not a common direction to be in an up-stream. The cave alternates decorated zones with phreatic passages; the flow is pretty intense, cleaning away all the perculation. The dimension of the passages is medium to small, with several restrictions; someone of them allows passage to sidemount divers only.
After resurveying all lines laid by Chris, I began a systematic exploration of the side passageways. The majority of them
were looping on the main tunnel. Almost at the end of Chris' line I could see a bedding plane with black organic sediment.
This normally indicates the presence of a cenote.
All together I explored 2175ft/663m of new caves, finding two more cenotes and extending the maximum distance from the entrance to 2673ft/815m. At that point, the cave was divided into many small branches and was difficult to distinguish the flow direction.
May 2, 2009: Robbie Schmittner, coming from cenote Koxol Ka’an, was looking for a cave explored by Steve, coming from the downstream of Dream Gate. The direction was perfect, not the depth: Steve's cave was 5 meters deeper. That's why Robbie arrived straight to connect Pierre's P.H. almost at the end of my line. He immediately went back, and looking to the East he found another opening leading him to connect to Steve's line.
In another dive, Robbie connected Koxol Ka’an to the Sac Actun system, making a total of 34,350ft/10,470m of caves added to the second largest cave system of the world.
During the following weeks I continued to explore the Pierre's Piss Hole.
In the downstream section, almost at the end of a line laid by Alain, I have seen a small lead where the water was coming from, and going up the flow of current I could explore an alternative upstream, parallel to the main one and connecting to it.
I also have found two more cenotes, one at the end of the main upstream and the second on a branch of the alternative upstream, leading to South.
These passages amount to a total of 5104ft/1556m of surveyed caves.