I am in Tulum, doing my second annual yoga retreat. That's great. Enough about that.
I decided to do some diving - I remember clear, azure waters from when I first came to the Yucatan Peninsula 23 years ago, and a guy came up to me on the beach and said 'give me $20 and I will take you diving'. I didn't know that it was dangerous to dive without training, and I was young, so I said yes. I figured it was time to repeat the experience, sans the fly by night operation and avec a lot more dives under my belt (31).
I contacted several operations prior to coming and they all wanted to take me cenote diving. Cave diving didn't really appeal, and I like the warmer waters of the reef, not to mention the colours and the fish. and the fact that you don't have a roof over your head (trust me, when you are dependent on carrying your own air supply, having no roof is a good thing). So I organised a reef dive, and the guy duly arrived to pick me up.
It turned out he really didn't want me to do a reef dive. I never did really get to the bottom of why - something to do with currents, and the boat had sailed (why does that sound familiar?) and that I couldn't visit the Yucatan without going to a cenote.
So I yielded gracefully (the card I was handed in the morning meditation said 'acceptance'). I didn't feel completely comfortable - it turns out the cenote trip was more expensive than the ocean trip, which he omitted to mention, and the equipment looked a little old and worn. But, I thought, nothing ventured... after all, it's only my life at risk.
We did two dives. The first was a cenote with a collapsed ceiling, so it started out as a completely open pool. The water was really clear. Then we went into the cavern proper. At any time we could see daylight, though we went in and out of the shadows, and it created the most amazing interplays of light. A couple of times we went through fairly narrow canyons of limestone, with funky orange wavy seaweed floating from it. In addition, the cenote is a mixture of seawater and fresh water, and where they merge you get these incredible visual effects - everything suddenly goes blurry, then clears again as you go up or down into the lower seawater or the lighter and higher fresh water.
This cavern was much darker. But much cooler. As in the previous one, it was formed of limestone, so we got stalactites and stalagmites . Also because it was limestone, there was a silky layer of sediment on the floor - so if you disturbed it the water got quite murky. Every now and again we would come across a small hole in the ceiling which would create columns of emerald coloured light. Still the strange effect of the layering of fresh and salt water.
Not the same thing (water doesn't go up to the roof of the cave) but here are pics of another cenote we went swimming in the next day (this one is 100% fresh water):