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Tuesday, 01 January 2013

Cave Diving the Cenotes in the Underworld of Mexico

Written by Regina Busse
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When you hear Cancun or Playa del Carmen what comes to mind?  All-inclusive resorts, powder white sands, and endless amounts of tropical cocktails right?  Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula may have originally gained fame through these tourist avenues but the real beauty of the Yucatan lies below it all.  In the cenotes.


“Cenotes” (say-no-tays) are underground caverns or caves formed almost 6,500 hundred years ago. Millennium’s worth of geographical transformations created these intricate cave systems but climate change filled them in.  Now completely submerged in fresh water, scuba diving is the only way to see this lost world.


The Yucatan is colored by thousands of cenotes, but we chose to dive, “Dos Ojos”, just outside of Tulum.  Translating as, “Two Eyes”, this dive is exactly that.  Two portals into two different worlds. 


Divers UnderGround, the company we chose, specialized in cave diving and made sure to be the first company on site.  This meant an unobstructed view of the cenote's incredibly clear waters and no other divers tainting our experience.  


The first cave series, known as “Barbie Cave”, takes you around a bigger, dare I say, more “spacious” circuit while the second, “Bat Cave”, transports divers into the smaller, darker and more technical caves next door.


A large rock overhang, rich in flora and fauna, hides the cenote from above and it’s not until descending the hill behind, that her existence is revealed.  Timed perfectly, the sun had just begun its daily ascent, shining beams of light through the lofty palapa tree’s and onto the cenote waters.  Dancing over the surface, the waters glistened to life, and our crystal clear aquatic portal was opened.  


Peering over the small dock, I could see perfectly down to the bottom.  With no currents to blur vision or clouds to disturb vibrancy, underwater visibility reached new lengths!  All the little fish 10 meters below appeared just inches below the surface.  


Descending into the cool waters, my senses were in overload.  The sun that tangoed on the water above now illuminated everything below. As if thousands of Swarovski crystals had been dropped into the water, every angle of vision filled with sparkles and light.  


Excitedly looking around the large cavern I saw our entry point into the cave - A dark, eerie opening lying just 20 meters away.  From heaven to hell, here we go!


Welcomed by towers of stalactites and stalagmites, the caverns age was evident…old! Thousands of years of slow drippings created these enormous formations and the watery filling now served to preserve them.  



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Last modified on Friday, 18 January 2013

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