Meet James Williams
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to scuba dive in an overhead environment, maintain your composure in any type of dive situation, and dive in locations few scuba divers are qualified to dive, then please meet James Williams.
James is an extremely talented, savvy, and skilled cave diver, just for starters. Besides his numerous cave diving certifications and impressive dive log, James is a technical guru who spends his surface intervals doing more than simply tinkering with his computers and other gadgets; he’s also a blogger and active outdoorsman. You can read more about his interesting and amazing dive experiences on his website at Progressive Scuba.
James, how long have you been scuba diving?
Since April of 2004.
Helitrox/Decompression/Advanced Nitrox and Stage Cave Diver.
Describe your most memorable dive.
My most memorable dive was a cave dive in Mexico. It started out at a cenote called Pet Cemetery, which is in the Yucatan Jungle. At one point in time, it was a dry cave room, which the ceiling collapsed, opening up to a large breakdown and submerged cave passages. On this particular dive, we swam the Diaz Line and jumped off to the right and headed to the Blue Abyss. The passage started to become winding and slightly restricted. We dropped our stage just after the King Pong restriction and swam down a cork screw restriction, and just a couple of minutes of swimming after that, the floor dropped out below us. This is when we knew that we were in the Blue Abyss. Our current depth was just below 20 feet, and we swam down to 100 feet. When we hit the halocline, the entire cave turned a gorgeous turquoise blue. We swam around for a couple of minutes admiring the sites and daydreaming about the cave passage even further below us.
Current exploration to the bottom has a depth of 240 feet, where it meets a very small restriction (no-mount) called the TKM restriction. There is ongoing exploration in the area to attempt to connect the Blue Abyss to The Pit cenote, which from the surface is just about a half mile away. It’s slow going due to logistics of depth and small passage ways.
Anyway, I got side tracked. After our brief tour of the Blue Abyss we started making our way back to the main line. Just before we got back to the main line, we recalculated our gas supplies, dropped our stages, and decided to swim the I-Hop Line, which leads to the I-Hop cenote. We swam the line for another 20 or so minutes and surfaced briefly at I-Hop. We didn’t stay very long, as the stench of bat guano was a little much, and I really needed to pee. So we swam back to the main line, picked up our stages and swam back to Pet Cemetery. It was an amazing dive. It was a couple of minutes shy of being three hours long, with an average depth of 40 feet and a maximum depth of 100 feet. It was a very decorated cave the entire way and one that I won’t soon forget.
Where would you most like to dive (where you have not been yet)?
Oh, there are tons of places. I’d love to spend a month touring the various WWII sites of the South Pacific.
There are so many caves in Mexico that I have yet to see, and there are submerged caves in Texas that are either known or unknown that I’d love to dive in. I’ve currently been in one Texas underwater cave, and I’m working with a couple of non-profit organizations to help open up the sites to cave divers, as well as educate the public about these precious aquatic resources and how development is endangering them.
What is your favorite piece of dive gear or gadget?
Right now? My scooter. Vvvroom, vroom!
What is the latest dive gear you have purchased?
I’ve bought various things just this year. A scooter, more regulators, and various odds and ends to make a homemade side-mount rig, a new hood, and booties.
What do you enjoy doing while not diving?
Camping, rock climbing (bouldering - sport and gym), scouring Google Earth looking for Texas cave prospects, and I’m a technology nerd, so I’m always playing with something.
What is something that people may find surprising about you?
Probably my biggest phobia is drowning.
Tell us about what you do for a living.
I’m a Racker/Systems Administrator at Rackspace.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our dive community?
Dive safe, see the world, and have fun!