The Cenotes of the Maya Riviera

I recently got a sweet assignment for Sport Diver Magazine to spend a week diving the Yucatan region known as the Riviera Maya--an area south of Cancun. It has some very nice reef diving, a lot like Cozumel except without the walls. It also has something incredibly unique...cenote diving. Basically, cenotes are places where the ground has fallen in to reveal underground rivers. The Yucatan has no rivers above ground. All the water in the region flows under the surface of the Earth. Without light, nothing grows in the water, and the visibility exceeds 200 feet. It really is just like diving in air.

I have always wondered what could possess anyone to become a cave diver. It's dark, dangerous and claustrophobic! But it's beautiful beyond words and pictures. My first glimpse into Dos Ojos cenote convinced me that there was something to this cave diving thing.

I would love to tell you all about it, but you will have to wait for the Sport Diver story. I'll keep you posted.

Chris Stanton, my dive guide to Dos Ojos, swims through a room. The vsibility is so good that it seems like air.

Here, Chris illuminates stalactites hanging from the ceiling. The slightest buoyancy problem could break hundreds of stalactites that took millions of years to form.

Chris Stanton (L) and Cathryn Castle assist in lighting the interior of a huge room in Dos Ojos. I never understood why anyone would want to dive in caves until I had the chance to see this cenote.

Chris examines some smaller stalactites.


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Last Update 8/7/02