UB Diving. Voted #1 dive shop by a bunch of divers.
|Posted on February 19, 2015 at 9:40 AM|
This morning I was definitely too excited to sleep in. I was signed up to do two dives in Dos Ojos cenote, my first ever visit to a cenote and my first real cavern dives. This trip has had some first somethings on every dive so far, it’s kind of super awesome. I got to the dive shop unfashionably early so I could check out my franken-regs, which should be all dandy now that I have a new hose on my octo. (Thanks to one of my new favourite people, Kevin.) But lets be honest, that only took 30 seconds and I was still half an hour early!
Diving with me today was just one other customer and our guide, Pedro. It’s about an hour drive down the highway to Dos Ojos and by the time we arrived mid morning there were already groups of divers milling about, gearing up and showing off their cool tec gear. Before we began assembling our own gear Pedro gave us a comprehensive crash course in cavern diving rules and briefed us on our days dive plans. We then went for a tour of the two cenote entrances to scope out our entry and exit points.
Eight or nine years ago I visited Mexico with a friend and her family, on the plane home I watched a documentary about cave diving in cenotes and although it looked amazing, it also seemed pretty scary and I thought I would never bother with it because the risks of cave diving are so high. These cenote dives are like cave diving for dummies and I wasn’t at all nervous to get in the water after Pedro’s instruction. Don’t get me wrong, these caverns still pose certain dangers, but these particular dives are laid out meticulously to take divers through shallow passages and wide spaces. I think our maximum depth today was 30 ft and our dive times were between 30 and 40 minutes, meaning our air consumption and nitrogen loading was minimal. Without the dire concerns of running out of air or bottom time we could focus on our perfect buoyancy and containing our excitement of swimming through a freakin’ cave!
Where the caves open up to the sun the crystal clear water takes on a turquoise glow, the rays of light cascading down through the forest canopy cast a surreal veil over the pools and groups of small silver fish twinkle as they dart about. The ancient rock mineral formations grow up from the floor and drip down from the ceiling, meeting in some places as columns and arches. The aquatic landscape unfolds under our lights like the pages of a Dr.Seuss picture book.
We followed our guide through the delicate passage ways where the water is completely still, only stirred by our own motion. The whole place, though host to hundreds of divers a day, felt fragile and almost forgotten. Little fresh water fish followed our lights through the tunnels, flickering in fleeting patterns ahead of us. One of the most beautiful sights in the caverns is peering between the stalactites and stalagmites and seeing the sun illuminating the water in the distance at the cave’s “eyes.” But possibly the biggest draw to the Dos Ojos cenote is the bat cave.
We came to a shallow round room and surfaced inside he cave, above us hanging from the low dimly sunlit ceiling hung a cluster of bats trying to sleep while we obnoxiously shined our lights at them. Although they were very cute, I’ve done these type of dives before, where we surface within a cave and I find it quite disorienting so I was happy to submerge again and carry on through the cavern.
Contrary to my anticipation of nerves the cavern dives were relaxing and easy. I would say its a must-do for any divers visiting the area! A few days later I visited a cenote called Car Wash, where more experienced divers wearing twin tanks and drysuits were practicing drills and preparing for more advanced cave diving and it definitely sparked an interest in tech diving for me. Maybe next time I come down here it will be for a cave diving course.