Buen Dia to all of my fellow bloggers. Today is my
birthday and wanted to blog a bit about this crazy adventure I had this
At about 6 a.m. I woke up to my dog Bentley and my
girlfriend Mallory jumping up and down on the bed saying “Feliz Cumpleanos!,”
well Bentley was just barking. Of course I wake up groggy and grumpy asking “what
are you thinking waking me up at the crack of dawn on my birthday?” like any
sane person would do. Mallory says back “Well,I have a surprise for you!”
Uggghhh how good of a surprise could it be and why couldn’t it wait until at
least 8 a.m.? She replied by shouting out “cenote dive!!!”
I am an avid scuba diver logging 100’s of dives all
over the world. Since the first day I came to Mexico I have wanted to try out a
cenote dive. I did loads of research on different locations and the specifics
in regards to a different type of diving. I had only heard great things about
them from the locals,dive blogs,and personal friends and knew that they were
only for the more advanced divers. Unfortunately,since I have been in Mexico I
just have not gotten around to embarking on this expedition (I am sure the
majority of you understand exactly what I am talking about). So now I finally
had my chance to get out there.
For those of you who don’t know what a cenote is,here
is a definition for you in layman’s terms. Cenote – A deep natural sink hole
found in limestone,specifically in the Yucatan,Mexico. Underneath these
sinkholes are miles and miles of underground caves filled with both salt and
Here are a few fun facts for you:
1) The entire Yucatan Peninsula is made up of limestone
and home to the world’s largest underground water system.
2) All of the
water that you find underground is fresh rainwater that was trapped in the
caverns,gathered over millions of years. All of the caverns and caves were once
3) The stalactites
that you will find in the caves are hundreds of millions years old with
fossilized shells and animals protruding through the rock formations.
Now that I have brought you up to speed with what a
cenote is,let me tell you a little about the dive and what to expect if you
ever want to get into the controversial sport of cave diving. At the crack of
dawn we get to the Chac-Mool Cenote,five minutes away from my house located
directly across from the gated community of Puerto
Aventuras real estate. We meet our guide and good friend,Ivan
Ayala,who is one of the best,most experienced,and passionate cenote
explorer/photographers in the area. We get all of our gear together just like a
regular open water dive with the exception of a high powered underwater light
and instead of wearing just a pair of board shorts,we put on 4mm wetsuits,
which I am not a big fan of. I have done plenty of lobster diving in New
England and my fair share of freezing cold dives with 8mm wetsuits,hoodies,
gloves,and booties. It’s ironic in fact,I came to Mexico to never have to put
on another wetsuit again,unfortunately,that was not the case here but it
wasn’t going to stop me.
Back to the story at hand,
once we get all of our gear set up,Ivan,Mallory,and myself start walking
down into the mouth of the cenote by tracking down a large flight of stairs to
this open pool of the clearest,freshest,and cleanest water you will ever see
anywhere in the world. We all hop in anxiously and get ready for the dive.
Briefly,Ivan goes over signals,which were all basically the same as an open
water dive,but two of them I was not familiar with whatsoever. The first
signal was if Ivan wanted to show spot out something,circular motion with the
flashlight and second was the signal for trouble by flash your light on and off
as fast as you can.
And down we go...I wish I
could describe in words what the feeling was like down there but there are
none. To be fair to my readers I will use 3 adjectives … Dark,Thrilling,and Extraterrestrial World.
Sorry about the last one I cheated with two words. It was something that I wish
I could experience with everyone. The clarity of the water is what blows you
away the most. With just a single flashlight you can see over 50ft in the
pitch-dark water. At times when we came out of the caves into other cenotes the
sun’s rays would protrude through the water causing some kind of crystallization
on the rocks below making rainbow like patterns covering the entire the floor.
Once we descended into the caves … one by one … 10
feet apart … as properly instructed,we found ourselves going through narrow
passages just barely enough to fit through with our gear,into these enormous
cabins. There are 1000’s of these tunnels down there and it is very easy to get
lost,so I do recommend everyone to use a guide.
One of the cabins had an air pocket that we swam up
to. There we filled up our BC’s,took off our masks,and chatted for a few
minutes. All above us were hundreds of stalactites hanging from the roof of the
cabin,surprisingly enough when you touched them they were a soft texture like
that of velvet. After leaving the air pocket we started traveling deeper into
At one point I started to loose my visibility and
suddenly things started looking completely out of focus. Ivan had told us about this before the dive.
This happens when the fresh water and the salt water from the ocean merge,the
technical term for it is “halocline”. It creates this layer of diluted water
that is impossible to see through clearly much like water on oil. Salt water is
denser than the fresh water so the fresh water will sit on top of the salt
Finally we had come to the end of our dive but Ivan
had one more trick up his sleeve. When we swam into the last cabin,Ivan
signals us to stop and kneel on the floor. Once we are all stable Ivan shuts
his light off and then Mal proceeds to do the same,catching on to the trend I
do the same. Can I tell you what a feeling it is like to be 50 ft underground
submersed in water and be sitting in complete and utter darkness? I personally
compare it to jumping out of a plane for the first time. Your adrenaline
immediately rushes through your body but then a sense of calmness comes over
you,believe me it is bizarre.
Finally we ascend to the surface and complete our dive
safe and sound. We thank Ivan for the incredible adventure and amazing
photographs he took for us. Overall,the experience was just another great
benefit of living in the Riviera Maya. A place that I proudly call home and
would like to experience with each and every person.
Until next week … Hasta