Sweet!! I would love to dive the cenote. just finding the time to get to Mexico and brush up on my spanish. Got to love that clear water. I'm so used to diving around here when good vis is considered 10 feet. But it's winter now so things should be clearing up a bit. Planning on diving the Mystic River around the drawbridge on the 24th. Found some 100+ year old bottles there last year.
My wife and I had vacationed several times along the "Mayan Riviera", staying at the dozen or so all-inclusive beach resorts, located in Playacar, a few miles south of Playa Del Carmen - usually taking in a double-tank dive early every morning.
I actually had no desire to do any cavern diving before my first experience in Mexico. However, during one January visit while staying at the Riu Palace, a fast-moving front swept up along the Yucatan's east coast - creating some huge surf. Conditions were too rough for the dive boats to pick us up from the beach and equally bad for taking a Hobie Cat out. While hanging out at the dive hut, a German divemaster I had made friends with earlier, suggested doing some cenote dives - since underground caves are always protected from ocean surges. He was cave certified and convinced me to do this on our own, if we could get others to join us.
We hired a local guy with a pickup to take us and 2 other first-time cavern divers to Dos Ojos, located about 20 miles inland. We had to go through some dense jungle to get there, paid the cave owner/attendant a few pesos each, suited up at the cavern entrance and had the dive experience of my life.
I've done a lot of deep wreck diving, but I stiil had a fear of the unknown - normal before the first time. But, the beauty of this underground waterworld is indescribable. Once you descend past the first chamber - it's like being in another world and my anxiety was soon calmed. Ambient light illuminates the first entrance cavern, but it's pitch black in the chambers below and tunnels beyond. Crystal clear water, strange mineral and rock formations, blind fish and other divers, are all brought to life with our halogen torches. Air bubbles, released by our regulators, formed mercury-like pools against the ceilings and danced along the thousands of fragile stalactites, suspended from the rustic cavern surfaces above.
We followed the main route, marked by a nylon rope pinned to the cenote floors, as it winded through a dozen or so separate "rooms". Two large inner chambers are huge - like underground stadiums, and form the appearance of spectacles on a map - hence the Dos Ojos, or "2-eyes" name. One is lit by a surface hole from above, casting eerie light rays through the clear water . . . near spiritual experience.
The deepest point was 75 feet below surface, entire dive took about 45-50 minutes, but didn't need to use my pony bottle back-up. About halfway around the marked circuit, we came upon the entrance of an extensive cave system - marked by the sign with the grim reaper - I had posted this in a photo above. The sign is in six languages and basically stated, if you go beyond this point, you will not return alive.
Many divers have tried through the years and many were pulled out . . . dead, from getting lost, running out of air, or trapped in the scores of narrow passages. It goes on for several miles and hasn't been fully explored or charted.
I've got several pics at home, which weren't scanned - should remember to bring some to the office for posting. I'm definitely trying it again during our next visit to the Yucatan - even if ocean conditions are calm.