If there's thing I've learned while traveling it's that meeting new people leads to new adventures. One of the most talked about activities at my hostel in Tulum was diving at Dos Ojos or the Pit. I heard the stories of formations and an assortment of photographs. I admit my curiosity was starting to peak but nothing rewatching the aforementioned BBC special wouldn't fix.
The next day I joined a group of two Canadians and an Australian for the afternoon. Cenote diving was at the top of this groups' list of things to do. I still wasn't keen on the idea of being surrounded by rocks but I was game for walking around the main avenue while they looked for SCUBA shop that would be willing to take them diving the next day. There were far more SCUBA shops offering cenote dives. I still think of cavern diving as a relatively new option to basic certified divers but looks like I'm behind my adrenaline seeking diving peers. While going over dive certification levels and dates of previous dives, two of the three potential divers opted to snorkel instead of dive. My new friend Carrie had been the most gun-ho about diving in a cenote and was now the last man standing. I saw all of this developing and began having a serious internal debate between wanting Carrie to not have to go diving on her own and not wanting to tempt a panic attack underwater and underground. I finally pulled on my big shorts and told Carrie that I'd dive with her, plus it was starting to sound pretty cool.
We booked a two-dive trip to Dos Ojos for the following morning.
The next morning, four backpackers, a dive master, and a dog loaded into an old GMC pickup and headed for one of the most popular cenotes in the area, Dos Ojos. The cenote is named for the two giant sinkholes connected by a cavern that give the illusion of two eyes staring up from the underworld. In reality it's part of one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world with dozens of sink holes and nearly 200 miles of passageways.
|That white dotted line is our dive route|
When you first jump in the sinkhole, it's just like jumping into a themed resort swimming that could have been nicknamed "Pirate's Cove" or the like. Even the initial descent wasn't so bad. When our dive master started off toward the base of the cavern wall and disappeared into the shadows, that's when I started to wonder what the heck I was doing?
|Diving entrance at Ojo Este|
|Through the tunnel|
|I like to think I saw this shot in Planet Earth|
|Intricate stalactite formations|
After spotting the final warning that we had reached the end of our line, it was time to leave the caves and lug our gear back up the stairs to the truck. When we got back Carrie thanked me for saying I'd do the dive too. I guess we ended up encouraging each other to try something new.
|End of the line|