Cenote Features – Beautiful Speleothems & Crazy Effects
Table of Best Cenotes to Dive in Tulum
Sta: Stalagtites & Stalagmites, Fos: Fossils, Bon: Bones, Nat: Nature, Lig: Light effects, Hyd: Hydrogen Sulphide Gas Cloud, Hal: Halocline
What do we see when we go Cenote Diving?
Rocks, Light, Artifact, Nature & Life.
Maybe every dive you have ever done has been about seeing Fish & Coral or maybe a Wrecks with Fish and Coral. Now we are going to dive in a Cenote cavern with no Fish or Coral.
So what is it we are going to see in these ancient Mayan caves?
What’s the fascination with Cenote Diving?
Rocks – Millions of years old
Tunnels – The tunnels have been eaten away by the rock over thousands maybe millions of years. You will think it’s awesome ‘flying’ in three dimensional space through the massive tunnels.
Fossils – Millions of years ago the whole of the peninsula was under water. Sea creatures that die fall to the bottom, are compacted and form limestone rock, which is very rich in calcium carbonate. You will see fossils of coral and conch shells in the rock.
Speleothems – Cave formations. Slightly acidic water absorbs the calcium from the rocks. Then when the water is super saturated with calcium carbonate it leaves a few molecules on the surrounding rock. We find the beautiful shapes and forms that decorate the caves, amazing.
- Stalactites – Water dripping from the celling leaves small amounts of calcium carbonate. It builds up slowly 2 cm every 100 years, give or take. So after thousands of years we now have these vast Stalactites that hang down from the ceiling.
- Stalagmites – When the droplet of water falls to the bottom of the cave, the calcium carbonate deposits produce a stalagmite that grows up from the bottom. So the caves must have been dry for them to form.
- Columns – When a Stalactite and Stalagmite grow and meet they form a column.
Light – The most Beautiful Light Effects.
Dancing light – As light waves hit the surface of the water ripples on the surface concentrate the light into intense rays that appear to dance before us. One of the most stunning effects of Cenote Diving is about being in the darkness but looking back at the entrance.
Halocline – The fresh surface water in a Cenote rests on top of a lower salt water layer. Where those layers meet is called the halocline. Fresh and salt water have a slightly different density. When it is undisturbed it appears as a false surface. When it’s disturbed it goes very blurry like oil in the water. But when we get our eyes perfectly on the undisturbed line you will see magical light effects and the rocks behind distort as we slightly rise and fall.
Hydrogen Sulfide Cloud – All the vegetation surrounding a Cenote that falls in and down to the bottom decomposes. But when it decomposes under pressure with no pure oxygen it produces Hydrogen Sulfide (Sulphide) which looks like white smoke it the watter, Thin wispy waves of white smoke making a swamp like cloud. Its a poisonous gas so we don’t drink it. It smells of rotten eggs and can drastically reduce visibility.
Artifacts – Ancient Mayan and Before.
Bones – During the last Ice Age the tunnels were dry. Some times prehistoric animals would go into the Cenotes, searching for water. In some Cenotes we can see bones of animals found in there.
Pottery – The Cenotes are a sacred place for the Maya people. In some Cenotes we can see ceramic bowls that, we believe, have been placed in the Cenote as part of a Mayan ritual offering.
Nature & Life – Still some life see.
Shrimp – Translucent freshwater can be seen scurrying across the floor.
Blind Fish – These fish have evolved in the darkness of a cave. They are completely white and have evolved without eyes. They are more energy efficient without eyes.
Cave Critters – There are all sorts of very small critters that hang around in a cave. So if you love micro stuff the life here is very interesting.
Fish – There are freshwater fish in all Cenotes hanging around in the open water area near the entrance. Some of the larger fish sink to the bottom in the freshwater. We see them lying on the bottom.
Turtles – Some Cenotes are home to freshwater turtles. We don’t see them in the cavern but sometimes during the safety stop we see them.
Crocodile – Yes a Crocodile, but he’s a baby and he’s very cute. If we are very quiet and lucky we can see him sitting on a rock or swimming above us.