Thursday, December 20, 2012

Swimming in the cenote at Aktun Chen


A few of us had a most excellent adventure to the Aktun Chen cenote near Akumal. Shirley, Rob, Helen and I drove the 16 miles or so to Indiana Joe’s Adventure, where we got to choose between three possible tours, a dry cave tour, a wildlife tour, or a cenote tour.

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Here are the intrepid foursome, obviously well prepared for the dive. Well, not exactly………we could use our masks and snorkels, but swim fins were not allowed. A buoyancy device was mandatory. We would get wet, but there would be no diving here! I was badly disappointed, but by the time we reached this point we had already paid our admission.

The cenote is much like the Devil’s Den in Florida, except that you enter a world that is all cave with a shallow water level. Oh, it might be possible to dive deeper is you are allowed to wander “out of bounds”, but the area we traveled was shallow enough to touch bottom much of the way. Also, there were many places where the roof of the cave came very close to the water and we were cautioned to watch for low clearances if we should attempt a dive. All the pictures of the “dive” were taken after our first time through, with the guide. I realized that an underwater camera was not REALLY necessary as I thought that I could traverse the route while keeping the camera out of the water.

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This is where the tour began, but the picture was taken after we got back. I had every intention of making the loop a second time, but the guide offered to take a few pictures for me so I could be in the pictures. This is HIS cenote and he knows it very well, so as we went around a bit, he moved in shallow water and unknown paths to get pictures as we went along. There was a certain amount of fear in me that he would trip or otherwise end up with the camera in the water, but my worries were for naught.

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You can tell that this is “after the fact” because except for me, there are no dive masks in evidence.

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Here you see Helen and me at “Kissing Rock”. It’s a column of rock coming up from the bottom to form sort of as table a few inches under the surface. That white mass in front of Helen is the rock.

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And…’s the proof that “Kissing Rock” works, though Shirley and Rob were a bit skeptical.

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They quite obviously didn’t remain skeptical for long. In fact, if they were not sitting in the cold water, Helen and I might have had to throw cold water on them. He must be younger than I.

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This is very close to the end of our tour. My core body temperature was falling into the upper 80s. The ripple you see in the water is actually caused by my shivering.

An interesting note: Before entering the cenote, we are told to take a shower and use the mens’ and ladies’ rooms. Then we slip into the pristine waters of Aktun Chen cenote and discover that it is the living quarters for a population of bats. Any of you who know about bats knows about the guano that builds up at the bottom of bat caves. Here it doesn’t build up, it drops into the waters of the cenote and flows underground to the sea.

In spite of my early grousing about the mandatory float and the ice cold shower and the frigid ( to me ) water. I had a great time and now look forward to more visits to the many cenotes that dot this area, even though I know that the temperatures I endured today are the same at all the cenotes and I will have to endure them again.



1 comment:

  1. When we were down there I wanted to go to those pools, but because of unseasonable cold weather they closed for the week. I was disappointed to say the least, but we have enough nice days of snorkeling while we were there. and the resort had these little sail things you could check out for free.It was funny when the temperature drops below 50 degrees down there, the Mexican appear in heavy jackets like it is Chicago or something I would just wear a windbreaker.Have fun and give the girls a hug. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna....