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Cenote diving in Mexico

This year Isabell and I went to Yucatan/Mexico for relaxing and scuba diving. We did five dives at spots around Playa del Carmen and on Cozumel island and saw some new species like the black spotted moray, a yellow stingray and a flamingo tongue snail. However, we were disappointed because the variety of fish was poor compared to the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean plus the reefs around Playa were badly damaged.

On recommendation of my brother and his wife we also went cenote diving which was very exciting. Cenotes are natural sinkholes spread all over Yucatan Peninsula. On the surface they are filled with fresh (rain) water and they are connected to the sea by underground cave systems full of salt water. It is the cave systems that make cenote diving so dangerous because you can easly get lost in it and if you panic or run out of air there is no way to reach the surface. There are also some special cave diving rules you have to follow, e. g. stay close to the lash all the time and you are starting to go up with two thirds of air, not half a bottle like in ordinary diving.

Although we did not leave the cavern – the entrance of the cave system – it was an impressive experience to descent 30 feet, see nothing but the cones of our flashlights and have solid rock above our heads.  It was interesting watching the bubbles to rise and get stuck below the ceiling or the stalactites in caves that must have been filled with air for at least a few thousand years. At the end of the first dive we hit the layer where the fresh water mixes with the salt water (the so-called “halocline”) and suddendly we saw everything blurred. That is the moment when you ask yourself “Damn, why am I not lying on the beach with a bottle of beer like everyone else does?”. We did – afterwards ;-)

- Bernd -

Entrance of Chac Mool - one of the most famous cenotes (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Entrance of Chac Mool – one of the most famous cenotes (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Decent in the cavern (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Decent in the cavern (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Blurr caused by the halocline (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Blurr caused by the halocline (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Stalactites! ...or stalagmites? ;-) (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Stalactites! …or stalagmites? ;-) (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Silhouette of a suba diver (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Silhouette of a suba diver (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Reflecting air stuck below the ceiling (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Reflecting air stuck below the ceiling (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
View from below (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
View from below (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Fossil (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Fossil (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Warning sign in front of a cave (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)
Warning sign in front of a cave (© 2013 Bernd Neeser)