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Ø       What’s a cenote?

 

About 65,000,000 years ago, the Yucatan peninsula was covered by the ocean. During the ice age, the level of the ocean dropped and left many reefs and their dependent marine life dead. Many fossils revealed this history.
In time, rain water passed through the ground, flowed slowly towards the ocean and carved huge system of underground’s tunnels and caves. Beautiful rock formations with stalactites and stalagmites were formed during the last ice age. After this era, water level rose again, filling the caves with clear fresh water leaving them as they are today: magnificent!!
The cenote is part of a cave ceiling which collapsed leaving a natural entrance to the underground river systems.
Through your mask you can see these spectacular formations and appreciate the archeological discoveries.
The Maya’s civilization considers cenote a sacred well and home for many of the gods they worship.

 

Ø     What certification do I need to do a cenote dive?

 

-          To do a cavern tour, Open Water Level is required (diver’s buoyancy control must be very good)

-          To do a cave exploration, cave diver certification is required



Ø       Which are the main cenotes and where are they? 

 

 

 

Chac Mol:

Situated about 100 meters south of Puerto Aventuras, 24 km south of Playa del Carmen.

·         Three water entries :

Ø       Chac Mol

Ø       Kukulkan

Ø       Little brother

·         Two cavern dives in this cenote.

·         Beautiful formations

·         Halocline (Where fresh and salt water mix creating a fascinating visual effect)

·         Maximum depth of 14,5 meters / 45 feet

·         For cave divers : long penetrations and the largest underwater stalactite in the World

 

Ponderosa:

Situated about 3 km south of Puerto Aventuras, 27 km south of Playa del Carmen.

·         One water entry

·         One cavern dive in this cenote.

·         Big rocks covered by a thick carpet of green vegetation

·         Halocline at 10 meters / 33 feet

·         Large rooms

·         Maximum depth of 21 meters / 69 feet

·         Often connected to nearby cenotes ( many different ways to go for cave divers)

 

Tajmaha:

Situated about 5 km south of Puerto Aventuras, 29 km south of Playa del Carmen.

·         One water entry

·         Two cavern dives in this cenote.

·         Beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, hidden fossils, air filled cave (sugar bowl), air filled bat cave

·         Air dome with beams of daylight penetrating (laser torch effect) in summer time of the year

·         Haloclines in the deeper area make interesting mirror–like effects

·         Maximum depth of 21 meters / 69 feet

·         Possibility of upstream and downstream for cave divers. Chinese Garden

 

Dos Ojos:

Situated about 50 km south of Playa del Carmen.

·         Two circular cenotes ( Dos ojos = Two eyes )

·         Two cavern dives in this cenote.

·         Beautifuly decorated system, air filled bat cave.

·         Huge column and stalactites

·         Maximum depth of 21 meters / 69 feet

·         For cave divers: many different dives in this massive cave system. About 60 km/ 37 miles of explored length and over 25 cenotes connected to it

 

Gran Cenote:

Situated about 4 km outside of Tulum on the highway to Coba

·         One water entry

·         One cavern dive in this cenote.

·         Highly decorated with plenty of light falling in

·         Maximum depth of 10 meters / 33 feet

·         Impressive cave for cave divers

 

Calavera:

Situated outside of Tulum on the turnoff to Coba.

·         One water entry (diver needs to jump 3m down or climb the ladder)

·         One cavern dives in this cenote.

·         Big room with a hill in the middle

·         Formations, fossils

·         Strong halocline

·         Maximum depth of 14,5 meters / 47 feet

·         For cave divers : upstream and downstream dives, huge stalactite

 

Carwash:

Situated about 8 km outside Tulum on the road to Coba.

·         One water entry

·         One cavern dives in this cenote.

·         Entrance in the water through roots and fallen trees

·         Large colored columns

·         The light falling through the roots create an amazing light show

·         Maximum depth of 14,5 meters / 45 feet

·         For cave divers : many rooms can be found along the way (Room of Tears, Adriana’s room etc …)

 

Angelita:

Situated about 17 km south of Tulum

·         One water entry

·         One dive in this cenote.

·         5 minutes walking through the jungle

·         At 30 meters deep, a mystical big cloud of hydrogen sulfate with trunks and branches reaching out. Fresh water above, salt water below.

·         Maximum depth of 60 meters / 197 feet, usually dived to 40 meters / 131 feet .

·         Or decompression dives for technical divers

 

 

 

Ø       What’s the difference between diving in cenotes and diving in the ocean?

 

Diving in cenotes is different than diving in Ocean. The environment changes, the rules change. For example, it’s not an open water environment, the buddy system doesn’t exist, the kick technique is different, the guide ratio is strictly 4:1 (4 divers /guide), the communication signs change and the “one third air consuming” rule is very important: 1/3 to enter, 1/3 to go out and the other 1/3 kept for any emergency (it’s easy to get lost). That means, the minimum tank pressure to exit cavern zone is 1000 psi or 80 bars.

For all these reasons (and many more), for your safety and to protect Cenotes’ formations, the diver, no matter how experienced he is, must pay attention to the guide’s briefing and to his indications underwater!

 

      • Rules change; the general rules and limits for cenote cavern diving are :

- NO snorkel, gloves, or knives

- max 4 divers per guide

- no decompression diving

- max distance to open water : 67m/140ft

-keep your light on during the entire dive

-never pass under the guide line

-no restrictions (area big enough for 2 divers to pass side by side)

- always maintain a continuous guideline to the surface

-follow the guide in a single line

-keep your position and stay at least 1.5m /5ft from the diver in front of you

-dive in horizontal position, bend your knees and use the frog-kick finning style

 

      • Comunication is different

 

We communicate with light signs

-          OK : circle

-          Attention: wave light slowly side to side

-          Emergency / Assistance: rapid waving of the light

 

 

  Ø       What’s the difference between diving in a cave and a cavern ? 

      • Caverns are at a maximum distance of 67m/140ft to open water and don´t have any restrictions

 

      • The cave diver or my guide’s equipment is different