Lets go scuba diving in a Cenote. Does that sound scary? It was fantastic, amazing, incredible – you get my drift. Get your light on and lets follow us into the caves of Mexico.
What is a Cenote?
A Cenote is the word used to describe a natural pit. It is made with limerock that has groundwater underneath. They are mostly found in the Yucatan Peninsula and were used by the ancient Mayans as a source of water and sacrifices. Yes you did read that one right – sacrifices. There are different kinds of Cenotes, some are caves and some are open. They are a huge tourist attraction to swim in. The water is pretty cold for Mexico and you need to be able to swim pretty well because the water is freshwater (on the top) so you will not float. Some of the Centoes have saltwater on the bottom. In that case something that is called halocline occurs.
Cenote for swimming or diving?
Everyone that can swim can visit a Cenote and there are hundreds of them, if not thousands in Mexico. Be aware of the swimming skills needed. When it comes to diving you need to be an experienced diver! Most of the diving companies will take you, weather you are experienced or not. But for your own safety – be sure to have at least 30 dives prior to diving in a cave. When we went diving we only had 17 dives and our dive master Marco, was not happy with the Scuba Playa dive shop. They were the once that we booked the dives from and they said that it was no problem. Marco, however said that you need more dives and that you need to be able to have full body control and be able to have 100 percent buoyancy.
First off – if you only have 17 dives, you are not in total body control, unless you were born a mermaid. Second important thing to know is that it gets dark in there. Like really dark. If you are not experienced you might panic. So please, think of safety first and make sure you know what you are doing before going cave diving.
Be a good scuba diver
This is quite embarrassing to admit but I was so nervous that I cried a bit before the dive. Marco picked us up from our hotel and once he heard that we did not have that many dives he told us about safety and how important the body control was. Instead of being happy and excited about the dive, I got super scared. We did have “advanced open water” but not enough dives. Marco said that he would make our dives great – a promise he did keep! So be honest with your self and only do a Cenote dive if you know that you are a good diver. You should pay to play – the right way!
Diving Cenote Kukulkan
Located between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum – this is a Cenote where you will experience halocline at approximately 10 meters depth.
Halocline = Where freshwater meets saltwater. The place where the water mixes makes you almost dizzy because it gets blurry and almost psychedelic experience.
Marco made sure that we started out easy and we kept a small ray of light during the whole first dive. Once we hit the halocline, I was sure that I had gotten diver sickness and were experiencing hallucinations. Marco was in front of me and suddenly his body started swaying and looking really weird. Marco had informed us about this phenomenon but during the worry of cave diving I had forgotten. The I started to blink because I thought that I had lost my contact lenses. And finally I remembered and just enjoyed the moment. Mini was behind me and I could hear his tubes hitting the roof of the cave. This is why buoyancy is so important. We did have flashlights during the dive but we never went into pitch black areas.
In all the dive was at a maximum depth of 12 meters. We had 42 minutes of bottom time. It was truly AMAZING. However I am sure that we would have enjoyed it more today as we are more experienced divers!
Diving Cenote Chac-Mool
Our second dive was a different dive site. Now we were more comfortable and ready to see the dark caves as well. This dive was also great. While descending and looking up – the sunshine was making an amazing formation on the water and the water was super clear. This time we were ready for the halocline and just enjoyed the dive. Marco was sweet enough that he brought two flashlights instead of one. It was an amazing feeling when it got dark. You could only hear your own breathing and see the light from your flashlight and the diver in front of you.
This dive was at a maximum depth of 12 meters and we had a bottom time of 39 minutes.We are more than ready now to go back to Mexico and scuba dive some more Cenotes!
Mexico has amazing dive sites in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel to, read more here.