Sacred Waters Snorkelling Expidition
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Hidden world offers a simple way to enjoy snorkel and overseas adventure travel in riviera maya in Maxico. We are committed to giving you a wonderful experience.

Hidden world offers a simple way to enjoy snorkel and overseas adventure travel in riviera maya in Maxico. We are committed to giving you a wonderful experience.

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Sacred Waters Snorkelling Expidition Document Transcript

  • 1. SacredWaters: Snorkelling Expidition InMayan CenoteBy: Darren Bateswww.hiddenworlds.com
  • 2. SacredWaters: Snorkelling Expidition In Mayan Cenote SacredWaters: Snorkelling Expidition In Mayan CenoteThe Yucatan Peninsula in Southern Mexico is a dry place. Flat as a pancake, housing norivers and with only few swampy lakes, the jungle somehow managed to sustain one ofthe biggest and most advanced civilisations of its time. How exactly did the Mayans livefor so long in this area without succumbing to drought resulting from lack of healthypotable water? The answer, quite simply, is the cenotes.From the Mayan word ts’onot, meaning well, the cenotes are the exposed surfaces ofunderground water systems, often revealed in a form similar to sinkholes – basically bigcircular pools of water. Apparently the Yucatan is home to the biggest single underwatercave system in the world, thanks to the fact that the entire peninsula is essentiallysitting on a large layer of soluble limestone. These cave systems often make their way tothe surface and thus the cenotes are revealed.Interestingly, there are theories thatthe cenotes were originally formed65 million years ago from the impactof the Chicxulub asteroid; that beingthe impact that caused the massextinction of the dinosaurs andmarked the transition from theCretaceous Period to the TertiaryPeriod, otherwise known as the K-TBoundary. The asteroid smashed intothe north-western portion of theYucatan and remains to this day oneof the largest impact craters on earth. There is a higher-than-normal concentration ofcenotes around what would have been the lip of the crater, and this formation has beendubbed the ‘Ring of Cenotes’.Regardless of their conception, the simple fact is that the Mayan culture would havebeen unable to flourish without the influence of the cenotes, and this is evident in theimportant roles they played in the ancient culture. They were often revered by theMayans and were certainly central to a number of influential religious ceremonies.Today the cenotes are a major tourist attraction, not just for their history but also forthe numerous activities that they offer.Our first cenote experience was in the town of Valladolid, found near the centre of theYucatan Peninsula. Cenote Zaci is found a short walk from the city centre and soprovided an easy way of sampling the sacred waters. A quick stoop through an open Page | 2
  • 3. SacredWaters: Snorkelling Expidition In Mayan Cenotecave suddenly opened out into a huge pit at least fifty feet below us, green water filledwith swimming tourists. The pool was half covered under a cave roof complete withstalactites and bats and the jungle leaned in over the water. An artificially constructedwalkway was cut into the stone around the cenote and provided ample viewingplatforms. The scale of the cenote was larger than we both expected and I found itsurprisingly majestic, although the water itself didn’t look overly clean. Our next glimpse of a cenote occurred a few days later when we visited the ruins of Chichen Itza. Known as the Sacred Cenote, it is the very reason that the ancient city sprang up in this particular place, and also the subject of some very dark rumours. Legend has it that the Mayans used to throw virgins into the cenote as a sacrifice to the gods, chucking them in at dawn and returning at dusk. Ifthe virgin was still alive after treading water all day then she would be hauled out tomake prophetic observations regarding crops and weather. The truth of these stories ishotly debated but it cannot be ignored that an inordinate amount of skeletons havebeen pulled up from the depths of the Sacred Cenote.Our final cenote experience was by far the most memorable as it gave us an opportunityto snorkel and dive through an underwater cave system just north of Tulum. I firstdecided to do this prior to leaving Australia after watching the wondrous segment onBBC’s Planet Earth documentary, where they dived in Dos Ojos. It showed a remarkableunderwater landscape and I longed to experience it for myself.At Tulum we decided to travel to the nearby Hidden Worlds adventure park for oursnorkel adventure, primarily because it has access to the Dos Ojos system. From themain foyer area we walked about five hundred metres or so into the jungle to arrive at asmall sign and shelves, next to what was essentially a deep hole in the ground. Westripped down, put on our life jackets and were guided down into the hole, where itdescended about thirty feet into a cold and dank cave.The first thing we noticed was the sharp drop in temperature. Above ground it wasstiflingly hot and humid, whereas thirty feet underground the air was dank and chilly.We walked hesitantly along a plank of wood to the waters edge, where we dipped a toein to receive an unwelcome but not unsurprising shock – the water was absolutelyfreezing. Nevertheless we waded in with our shorts and swimmers, following our guidewho was in a full wetsuit, to begin our snorkelling tour. Page | 3
  • 4. SacredWaters: Snorkelling Expidition In Mayan CenoteWhat followed was an hour of the most amazing experiences that I have yetencountered. The scenery was breathtaking – floodlights illuminated crystal clear water,revealing spectacular rocky formations as well as ominous underwater caverns thatdarkened away into the depths. It would have been quite eerie if not for the keen senseof wonder that I felt as I floated around. Unfortunately Renee did not fare quite as well, andindeed the deeper areas – and the unknown thatthey hid – caused her some concern. I canunderstand why, especially when we arrived at along and narrow section where the lights hadstopped working. We made our way through bytouch, a faint illumination ahead the only referencepoint, the darkness around us nearly palpable in its entirety and the only soundsRenee’s shallow and rapid breath. We emerged unscathed though into another spaciouscavern to marvel at the rocks around us and the multitude of Glow Worms that hungfrom the ceiling, before reluctantly returning to the surface. Three cenotes, three different experiences. They are truly wondrous in their diversity,and I thoroughly recommend experiencing as many as you can. The snorkelling waswithout a doubt the highlight and I can only imagine how amazing it would be to divethese caverns. If I was to ever get my diving license, there is no doubt that I wouldreturn to Dos Ojos to be amazed all over again. Page | 4
  • 5. SacredWaters: Snorkelling Expidition In Mayan CenoteContact US:Email: info@hiddenworlds.comWebsite: www.hiddenworlds.comTelephone:U.S. : (011)(52) 984-877-8535Mexico: (044) 984 115-4514 or (044) 984 120-1977**Our office hours are Monday through Sunday 09:00 am to 05:00 pm. Page | 5