Diving into the gates of hell
A little dramatic but I hope the pictures give you an idea....... This is a 'standalone' 60m+ ish stand alone (not connected) Cenote. And it is a little bit of a walk to arrive on what seems an idilic little oasis in the jungle.
But soon in the water it is clear that this is a dark and dead place....... Dark walls eaten away over time and sinking deeper and deeper and darker and darker....... And than, at 27meters or so appears something resembling the movie "the Fog". A white cloud in the entire pit and some dead branches sticking out of it as if swallowed whole by this toxic fog.
And that is more or less what really happened. Anything that over the the centuries fell in this pit collects on this pile and it so happens that exactly this depth salt water at the bottom mixes with fresh water on top. The decomposition of the fallen trees and branches combined with the chemical reaction of salt and fresh water creates a layer of Hydrogen Sulphate which appears as a mist.
As planned, we would do a check above the cloud and see if we are all ok. And then it was Thumbs Down, the sign for going deeper........ Entering the layer is weird and once in it, it is not for the faint hearted..... You can not see a thing and with that I mean not even the lights of others as your own light reflects back in the mist. And you can't see your hand or feet as that is how dense this mist is...... The only thing making it more creepy if is the temperature would drop another few degrees. And then deeper still..... At about 33 to 34 meters the fog is gone and we are now below the cloud...... It is dark and Sharon appears right in front of me and I guess we were both kinda happy seeing each other in this otherwise dead and dark world under the cloud........ And oh yeah, did I mention sulphate? As much as you have a regulator and a 'closed' air supply system, once you breath out and the membrane of your regulator opens, you will have a whiff of rotten egg taste and smell in your mouth and nose...... Yes..... That is not fun as we are now disorientated, at 35 meters deep, dark and smelly...... So this must be what the entrance of the underworld could look like..... Dark, smelly and very very dead......
A quick sense check of which way is up (seriously not as simple as you think in these circumstances), I must admit I could not wait to get above the cloud again. Once above and reflecting on this wicked world, Sharon of course saw the hole thing in a very different light and mimicking a dolphin she went up and down in and out of the cloud...... It looked like she was swallowed up only to reappear from the underworld.
Once she got sufficiently bored with it, the dead branch made for a good place to chill out and created this surreal picture 'above the cloud'. Appreciate that we are 26 meters deep and it looks like we are in clear air...... Superb moment.
Overall, unique and wicked experience and another 'must do' when in Tulum. It is for experienced divers given the depth, the darkness and disorientation and certainly not for those who feel claustrophobic. This place is 'dark' and I did not like the energy of the place. But also death has it beauty as the fermenting branches show and the fog shows.