I am a former journalist and editor and have recently moved to Calgary, Alberta in Canada. Visit my website at www.karengrikitis.wordpress.com and my blogs www.calgaryconversations.blogspot.com and www.thehouseofquince.blogspot.com
Published March 6th 2016
A magical, underwater world of limestone shape-shifters
Imagine entering a watery underworld of crystal clear water shaped into caverns and dark passageways by strange limestone rock formations. This is Dos Ojos Cenote, north of Tulum.
Dos Ojos is one of many flooded cave systems or cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula and is among the longest in the world yet discovered. It also contains the deepest known cave passage in Quintana Roo State at 39.1ft.
Having snorkelled in another cenote, we elected to dive Dos Ojos with Mexi-Divers of Tulum. They provided all the gear, including torches and 5mm wetsuits so we were comfortable diving for 45minutes at about 25degC. The maximum depth for recreational diving in the cenote is 10m.
On arrival at the cenote, which is located about 3km along a track in the jungle off the main road, we unloaded all the gear from the truck, donned our wetsuits, BCDs with air tank and regulator and then walked about 50m, including some steps down, to the wooden deck next to the entrance to the cenote.
The cave system has been explored and the route through the caverns is marked with a taut yellow line. Having said that, an experienced guide is advisable just in case you do get distracted, wander off and can't find the line.
There are a few tetra fish in Dos Ojos but this dive is not about marine life. it is all about experiencing the magical stalagmites and stalactites that make up the underground network of chambers. The limestone rock formations are stunning. Every now and then there is a break in the rock ceiling and light filters through from above ground, giving an ethereal blue colour to the water.
Dos Ojos is joined to the Bat Cave, another cavern system in the middle of which you can pop your head out of the water and look at the bats nestling in the ceiling of the cavern. We dived both caverns one after the other. The dives are so shallow there is no need to wait for any time on the surface.
Walking back up the steps to the truck fully loaded with all your diving gear gets your heart pumping so this dive is not for the unfit.
There are showers and restrooms at the cenote for changing out of your bathers and giving your wetsuit a preliminary rinse.
I was initially concerned about feeling claustrophobic in the caverns, having only ever dived in open water but I was fine. This isn't cave diving, for which you need a special qualification. I am a PADI Open Water Diver and BSAC Sport Diver and hadn't dived for about two years when I dived Dos Ojos. As the caverns open out to the air every so often they are not a closed cave system.
Dos Ojos is located about 24km north of Tulum town along Highway 307.