By guest blogger: Chris Alstrand
One of the things Lesley and I were most anticipating when we were preparing for our recent trip to Mexico was a chance to dive in cenotes. Cenotes are openings to underground rivers with caves, rooms, and passageways that form when an area of the roof over the underground river collapses.
The cenote I was most looking forward to diving was one called Angelita. This site is a sinkhole with some very weird things going on which feel so surreal when diving it. After a drive out of town and a turn that lead us on a road through the jungle we pulled up to a dirt lot that had a wooden sign painted with “Cenote Angilita”.
Part of the dive briefing included a walk to the dive site along a little trail cut through the jungle. During the walk the guide pointed out a oregano tree, gum tree, and lemon trees. The trail wound around to a flat rock that looked down over the sinkhole Angelita. After the site briefing we geared up to dive. We walked up to the same flat stone, held onto our fins, and did a 15 ft / 4.5 m giant stride down into the water, grouped up and started our descent.
Looking down from the surface you had the same perspective as you do with blue water diving – the light rays dancing through the clear blue water. As we descended down you could look around 360 degrees and see that you where diving in huge limestone cylinder.
What looked like the bottom came into view soon after we started our descent. There was a pile of rotting leaves and tree limbs surrounded by a reddish brown liquid. It gave me the sense that I was floating in the air above a river with a shore made of trees and a dirt area with tree limbs, not that I was 100 ft / 30m underwater diving around broken tree limbs and piles of leaves. The red-brown area is actually a hydrogen sulphide acid layer that looks like a flowing river.