Long Weekend, Part One.
During the ten week phase in Punta Gruesa, we got a chance to have a long weekend break, instead of the one day off, we got three which gave as an opportunity teamed together with everyone else to head off and explore Mexico from a different aspect. A few of us had already decided what we wanted to do, me included so I packed my dive gear and I was going to experience a diving sensation like no other, Cenote diving.
The taxi’s arrived on base, I jumped in with Niels, Muji and Jana and we set off firstly to Mahahual. We may have had a native bottle of tequila to set the chilled out mood for the journey, including the worm of which of course Muji took upon himself to eat! Once in Mahahual, we had a couple of hours to kill until we got the bus and situated ourselves in Fernando’s restaurant. Sensational cuisine and the best beer in town, the perfect way to start off the weekend adventure! Before we knew it, the bus had arrived and we were set again to head closer to Tulum, with only one bus change and about two and half hours. By five in the evening, we arrived at the bus stop on Tulum and hitchhiked our rucksacks to the local hostel just on the edge of town. Full of a range of gringos mostly European and some extremely interesting people, it was going to be an incredible 3 night stay.
Fresh and ready for dinner, there was an incredible little restaurant in town like no other. With a concrete floor, plastic tables and chairs and little more than what seems like a gazebo surrounding you this place was streaming with people, there was barely a seat left. We eventually got a space to sit down shared with a few others and ordered taco’s and a beer. The restaurant has a different set up to most, you simply order what meat you would like on your taco’s, then you have a wide and wild range of sauces and salsas to complete your cylindrical wraps of heaven. Clearly new to this experience based on the warning of the super hot and spicy sauce from others, I took to it quickly and knew where my next three meals were going to be. Of course I erred on the side of caution from the spice warning and layered my taco’s in the sauce and cried my way with tingling taste buds through possibly the most delicious meal I had eaten in Mexico so far.
After the restaurant, we explored town a little bit and ended up finding a favourite amongst many, the shisha bar. As can probably be imagined by the name this is an extremely chilled out bar. For the rest of the night this is where we stayed having a couple of cocktails and tried peach flavour for a shisha and shared it round the group whilst talking about numerous other life evolving experiences we have all had. I headed back about half eleven content with excitement about the diving I was going to be doing the next morning, three Cenote dives. The Pit and Dos Ojos.
Up grouped together with Mike, Niels and Muji I was ready for this whole new realm of diving. Firstly we enjoyed a cheese and ham croissant and a coffee at the café next door to Mot Mot diving and filled in our paperwork. Then we set off to our first dive site.
The Pit was the first stop of the day, I knew this was going to be a different experience, but before even getting in the water I knew this going to be one of the most incredible excursions of my life. Before we kitted up, we went towards the entry point and had a dive brief. Most people would expect the entry point to be relatively tame, but not this one! About a six metre drop (feeling more like 100) to jump in whilst our kit entered via a pulley system. Holding our fins and mask, we plunged ourselves into the water, what an adrenaline rush first hand. Once we were all kitted and had completed our safety checks including torch checks we were ready to enter the ever darkening hole, ready to explore!
As we spiralled down, we absorbed strange and new scenery and a sense of the local and historic Mayan culture, seeing artifacts left from hundreds of years previously. Just one minute into the descent, everything suddenly went blurry, haloclines where freshwater and seawater were mixing flowed at particular depths which made you feel slightly disorientated for a short time whilst you adjust to the surroundings before suddenly being back within crystal clear sight of everything. About thirty metres down and there were what looked like well-established trees growing up, it was like being on a safari with the extravagant scenery, just without the wild animals.
As we reached our maximum depth, forty-four metres, there was one of the main artefacts of the dive, scattered bones and a human skull. With limited no decompression limit at this depth, we merely browsed and spent the rest of the dive spiralling shallower towards the surface. There was so much to take in it was difficult to pinpoint a specific highlight throughout the dive. The texture on the rocks, the artefacts or haloclines, they all gave you a completely different feeling. Looking up from ten metres as we were edging nearer to our safety stop, the tunnel of sunlight was shooting its rays towards us, and eventually disappearing to the darkness of the Cenote, everything creating its unique ore of resemblance.
As we surfaced everyone had the same sense of sensation about them, all of us never having experienced something so breath taking!