Welcome to my blog about my travel to Mexico in September/October 2019.
In 2016 I traveled the first time to Mexico/Yucatan to dive the cenotes of Mexico. Everything about my first trip you can find here http://www.diver-log.de/divespots/cenoten-in-mexiko-2016 (in german language). This trip highly motivated me to train my personal skills in cave diving. Today I’m a full cave diver (CD3) and started in May this year the planning of my trip.
- Flying with Eurowings.com from Duesseldorf (Germany) to Cancun (Mexico) nonstop.
I’m flying in BestClass to have the best seat in the plane and 2 x 23 kg of free check-in luggage and 2 x 7kg hand luggage. I addition I bought dive luggage extra (32 kg).
- I bought a transfer from Cancun airport to the Hotel in Playa del Carmen at http://www.meetplaya.com.
- My hotel this time is the Iberostar Quetzal in Playa del Carmen. The idea was to have a hotel with all-inclusive. It’s easier after a day of diving not to hunt the food on your own.
- My dives are arranged by Dirk Penzel from Cenote-Diving.com. I met Dirk first on AIDA Cruises and dived with him and the team. 2016 I met Dirk again in Playa del Carmen. We call him the „tomb raider on FlipFlops“ and he has his own company for cenote diving since 2011.
Day 01 (September 26)
Today was the first day of diving with Dirk. He picked me up at am 08:00 in the lobby of my hotel. With all of my diving equipment, we drove to his home to do the equipment check and first configurations.
Cenote El Eden (called Ponderosa) was our first diving spot today. We planned a configuration and check dive with my equipment for the next days of diving. This beautiful cenote is placed between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The open water area is perfect for testing weights and check the shutdown drill skills. The surface is easy to reach with solid stairs. After first configuration checks and optimizations, we started our dive into the cave. After 71min and a max. deep of 14,4 m, we arrived back in the open water area. On my first day, Dirk helped me on my first steps finding the best configuration with my equipment for the following days in paradise (for full cave diver).
Day 02 (September 27)
The pickup in the hotel started at am 7:30 in the lobby. This is no problem because of breakfast is served until 6 am. Never less, Dirk drove us today to Cenote Tajma-Ha. The first briefing was made directly at the map of the cenote.
Plan your dive and dive our plan is guilty all over the world. Our plan was to follow the golden line to the jump to the waterfall line. Following the waterfall line until a jump to the „chinese garden“. The line to „chinese garden“ has got a „r“ marked restriction.
First, we prepared our equipment next to the car. Equipped with two 80 cft alu tanks we carried both next to the surface level. After getting in the water and checked our diving equipment we started our dive by following the cavern golden line. Dirk placed the first jump and we followed the waterfall line. The second jump was set to the „chinese garden“ line. The restriction is to tide for back-mounted equipment. But with our side-mounted, we easily came through it (see vimeo video) . The funny fact about this restriction is not only that it is tide. There is a halocline in it and if you follow your buddy as I did, the visibility is interesting 🙂 . We visited the „chinese garden“ and with 2/3 of our breathing volume, we turned around and dived back. I found out, that my gopro hero 4 has problems with foto taking in that light. The videos are clear but the fotos are blurred. Never less, from now on I will make videos and cut off photos of these.
On the way back, Dirk and I visited and prehistoric 13.000 – 16.000 year old fireplace. Great to feel the spirit of this place down below. After 81 minutes we reached the surface. Thanks to Dirk for giving me once again a hand to learn some more views of cave diving.
Day 03 (September 28)
It was raining this morning when Dirk picked me up at the hotel. Our destination next to Tulum was the Cenote Aktun Ha or formally known as „CarWash“. It took us about 45 minutes with Dirks Pickup to drive over. When we arrived the door was still locked. But after some minutes somebody came to open it. The cenote is easy to reach and the car was parked nearby. Since I was there in 2016, all buildings (incl. toilets) are brand new. The funny fact about the cenote is, that in the open water a small crocodile is living. For some swimmers, it must be very motivating, when they see the crocodile hurried up :-).
In Aktun Ha, and in most of the other cenotes you can dive with an OWD (open water diver license) and with a guide the cavern tour. So it’s well known by a lot of divers, who visited Mexico and Yucatan. The difference to a cave dive is that we start mostly like cavern divers but then jump over to the cave. That means we leave the golden line. That is, what we did today (and the days before), too. Leaving the main golden line with a jump and diving through a lot of restriction „r“ to visit the „Room of Tears“ filled with a lot of dripstones (stalactites and stalagmites). Two jumps without any permanent markers were needed to reach the dripstone cave in a deep of 20 m. Dirk and I turned backward after a while and reached the open water area after 74 minutes of diving. In between Dirk found old clay pots from Maya culture. So we took a picture.
In Tulum Dirk drove to special sandwich dealer and we have had two delicious sandwiches and two Cappuccinos before leaving Tulum in direction of Playa del Carmen.
Why are dripstones underwater? Are they growing over there?
Well, the dripstones were built thousands of years before, when the caves have been dry. The rainwater seeps through the ground and was enriched with lime of the former coral reefs. Seeping in the air-filled room, the water vaporized and left a little bit of lime. If you repeat these thousands of years you get dripstones … very simple, isn’t it?
The dripstones are now underwater because the water level raised to a higher level.
Have you ever seen vaporization underwater? No! Good … then dripstones are not growing underwater, too.
That’s why we have to save this hidden world! Everything that’s been broken, can’t be repaired. It’s lost! Save the hidden world!
Day 04 (September 29)
Today is Sunday and everything is going more slowly today. Dirk picked me up at am 08:15 in the hotel lobby and we drove to the Cenote Chikin-Ha . When we arrived, nobody was there. Interesting is the information for divers: cameras are not allowed anymore …
Our starting point today was the cenote X-tabay and our plan was to cross over to the cenotes ponderosa or little Joe. Dirk started with a primary and secondary tie-off and we crossed over to the mainline. The dive today started with the current and we followed the mainline until the end. In between, we marked our dive twice on the lines and jumped over to the other cenote line system of ponderosa. Our way was going on until the cenote little Joe, where we reached our 2/3 tank volume and turned around. On our way back against the current, we dived tough but comfortable backward. After 99 minutes Dirk and I reached the surface of Cenote Chikin-Ha. This was a very interesting dive for me to work on my personal skills.
To be a full cave diver (cave diver level 3) does not mean to know all. The real skill of cave diving is the experience you have. And from experience I can’t get enough. Thanks to Dirk once again, to train me harder 🙂
Day 05 (Septemper 30)
Dirk was ill today. But he organized somebody, called Roman, for my cave dive today in Cenote Minotauro. The Cenote is placed on the right-hand side between Playa and Tulum. Roman is living 20 years in Mexico now and diving and guiding cenotes all the time. As a freelancer, he works for Dirk and some others. Never less, he knows the cenotes very well. When we reached the Cenotes Minotauro, we were the first divers today.
After a good briefing on the map, we started our dive by following the mainline. This dive isn’t a cavern tour, because of a lot of restrictions in the first 20 minutes. I liked this dive because I tried to dive like a ninja: soundless 🙂 . It was great to train my skills with the buoyancy of side-mounted diving and it worked very well 🙂 . After 40 minutes we reached the highlight of the dive: the room of halocline. This tunnel is filled with a mystic halocline. Well, my GoPro worked a lot over there and you can find and video here, too. Diving a „P“ was returning to the mainline back after the room of halocline. We took the way back and reached the entrance after 70 minutes. It was good to be as early as we were because on our way out we passed two groups of divers with three and two participants. Great job, Roman !
Day 06 (October 01)
The „jungle king on Flipflops“ was back on duty today. After the advice of another diver, we canceled our tour to the Cenote Dos Pisos and drove to the Cenote Taak Bi Ha in the old „Systema Dos Ojos„. When I was the last time in Mexico 2016 the geologists and cave divers thought, that the „Systema Sac Actun“ and the „Systema Dos Ojos“ are not connected. But then they found the connection between both systems and now all these cenotes belong to the „Systema Sac Actun„.
Then system length is actual 362,3 km and ends in the Caribbean sea with the Casa Cenote.
Today was a rainy day. It was still raining when we reached the Dos Ojos area. After a short briefing, we were able to take a short look at the surroundings. In Taak Bi Ha are two specialties: first is, that the cenote is under the jungle. We used stairs like going into a dungeon. The second specialty is, that we use a rope and a hole in the ground to bring down the equipment. After getting everything ready, we entered the water and dived along the cavern line until the „stop“ sign showed us the beginning of the cave area. With two jumps we dived into the cave and followed the direction to the LSD section. Our turning point was after 57 minutes. After 105 minutes we reached the cenote. The dive was very nice with great halls and no current. Thanks to Dirk for guiding me again.
Day 07 (October 02)
Today our daily diving tour brought us to the Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich. This is the place where the exploration of the system Sac Actun started. Dirk and I reached the diving area and were very surprised to be alone. No more divers in thins place. Only some people doing snorkeling and flying fox have been around.
Our plan was today to dive in the direction of the dining room.
After jumping form the cavern line to the main cave line we „only“ followed the mainline for 1 hour. On our dive we passed through the „devils mouth“ and finally reached the dining room and the dining hole, which is a small hole in the jungle from about 1,5m width. Next to it are some bones place from an animal (like a goat or equal). At the dining hole we turned around and followed the mainline back to the cenote. After 110 minutes we reached the surface with a big smile on our faces.
Day 08 (October 03)
In Germany was today a celebration day and bank holidays. But for us in Mexico it was a diving day. But today I’m sorry for all my followers: today we have to beware of some secrets. The place where we have been today is not a marker in google maps 🙂 but it’s placed next to Chermuyil and the name of the Cenote is Nai Tucha (oder Otox Ha).
This is a secret place. I’m very thankful to be invited to this place. Driving to the cenote took one hour from the „normal“ road. Dirk and I have had a wonderful dive of 93 minutes. All secrets are left there. But I have seen things, I haven’t believed before.
That’s why we don’t have a video today. But there is one. I will share it only very personal.
Special thanks to Dirk today!
Day 09 (October 04)
Today we returned once again to Cenote Nai Tucha to find other secret things.
We dived 110 minutes and made two jumps to find, what we searched for.
The direction was the Cenote Xuxi 🙂
I will mix up a video of both days in Cenote Nai Tucha but it will no go public.
But this is Nohoch Na Chick, too :
Day 10 (October 05)
Today it’s the day no. 10 of my diving vacation in Mexico and Dirk drove us to the Cenote Concha, which isn’t on Google Maps, too 🙂 If you want to read something about it, follow this link. This cenote is only allowed to access for „full cave diver“ , because of some restrictions inside. The cenote is placed about 12 km from Quintana Roo (307) and you need an SUV to get there. This cenote is one of the real „wild“ cenotes, and not a „pussy cenote“ like „the tomb raider on flip flops“ uses to say 🙂
The left picture isn’t the entrance … but could be 🙂
When we reached the diving place, we have been alone. Well, a lot of mosquitos were around us. It seems, that nobody was there the last month, because of their hunger.
We dived 80 minutes today. On our way, we made two jumps and found a lot of bones (mammoth, sloth, tusk). But I haven’t taken any pictures to save these places. But the sloth looked very complete … . Some of the divers steal bones to bring them home as souvenirs. This is one of the things, I don’t understand. These things are place over there for more than 15.000 years and they pick it up. That’s why we keep these places in secret. On our dive have been some minor restrictions. To pass them it was needed to put the tanks in front. Hope, that helps to keep some of the thieves out.
Dirk and I calculated on our way back to Playa del Carmen, that we now have 1.000 minutes diving in the last 10 days. That’s why we have a day off tomorrow. We go for a brunch and a little bit of shopping in the city.
Day 11 (October 06)
Today is our day off with only good food and relaxing. Cheers !
Day 12 (October 07)
It wasn’t planned, but today was my last diving day with Dirk in the Cenotes, because I got an unexpected call and have to fly home.
Dirk suggested for our final dive the Cenote Fenomeno which isn’t a „pussy cenote“ and not on google maps listed. We drove 12 km into the jungle again. The Cenote is placed next to Cenote Concha (Day 10).
The way from the SUV to the cenote was easy to manage, but the mosquitos were hungry again. Inside the cave, we followed the mainline for several minutes. With a jump, we visited the bones of a sloth and took some time to make videos. Back on the mainline, we followed it to the big Mayan clay pot. There we took some minutes again for making a video. After some minutes it was time to turn back to the entrance. We have had current on our way inside the cave, so the cave pushed us outside on our way back.
It was a very successful last dive. Thanks to Dirk once again.