Cenote diving: One of Yucatans treasures
Some of our volunteers had the amazing experience of diving in Cenotes last weekend. Matt tells us all about it:
On the weekends, there are many different activities that you are able to do down here that you aren’t able to do any other place in the world. For example, last weekend several of us decided to do some diving in several of the cenotes in the area. Cenotes, the Mayan world for caverns, are huge freshwater caves unique to the Yucatan peninsula. Cavern diving here is some of the best in the world and people come from all over come here to experience it. We had to book a guide because people aren’t allowed into the cenotes without specialized training. However you are allowed to take this training and one member of our group has taken several courses and is on his way to becoming a full cave diver.
Our first dive was at a very cool cenote called The Pit. As our first dive of the day, it was our deepest and we managed to get down into the hydrogen sulfide cloud. The hydrogen sulfide cloud is one of the cool things about cenotes that make them different than open water dives. It’s basically a toxic cloud (don’t worry its perfectly safe) that we are able to swim through and in. It’s super cool to experience and the nearest I can relate it to is like swimming through a cloud of dense smoke underwater. After we came up from the hydrogen sulfide, we swam around the cavern more and got to see some of the really cool features such as the stalactites and stalagmites, which have built up over thousands of years. We also got to see the part of the cavern that leads deep into the underwater cave and you’re not allowed to enter without many years of training and experience. Actually all the cenotes in the region are interconnected and divers have managed to travel from cenote to cenote through the underwater tunnels. The last thing we saw before we left The Pit was some ancient Mayan pots that are still in the cavern. Long ago, the water levels were much lower and the Mayans would use the cenotes, in fact they believed that they were the gateway to the underworld which, looking down into The Pit, I can definitely understand!
For our next dive we headed over to Dos Ojos, a much shallower cave system but we got to see thousands of stalactites and stalagmites, and just swimming in an area where you can’t see sunlight makes the experience worthwhile. We also got to surface in an area known as a bat cave, a part of the cave that’s totally enclosed except for a small hole which allows thousands of bats to live in the cave. Afterwards, we headed back to our hostel content after a long and very interesting day in Mexico!
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