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Diving the Cenotes of Mexico

Diving the Cenotes of Mexico

Part 2

Our next Cenotes dive is the Taj Maha.

Colin diving in Taj Maha

 This dive site is about 400m inland from the main highway about 25km from Playa del Carmen and to get there you travel down a dirt road which winds around a bit through the bush terrain and then opens out to a clearing where there is a small shop (of course) and a few facilities built by the owners of the land figuring that the better facilities available to divers, the more will come and the more money they will make from the divers. Good plan really because this place is quite busy. The great thing about this location though is the sheer size of it and the fact that there are a few different Cenotes in this area which all either link up or run very close to each other offering a lot of variation.

The cavern tour takes the diver from the entrance into a wide room underneath an air filled bat cave. Inside this cave light enters through small hand sized holes which produce a lazer beam effect into the cave and through the water. It makes for some amazing photography. 

The small bats do their best to sleep while we are there but our torch light upsets them a bit and in no time they are flying around and hopping from one spot to another. They are about the size of your fist and are very cute covering their eyes with their wings as if doing that makes them invisible to us.

The Taj is decorated with both Stalactites and Stalagmites and the fossils I mentioned earlier are quite easy to see once you start looking for them. In this cave / cenote there are sea urchins and giant Cowrie shells as well as many other smaller shells and remains of fossilized sea creatures. 

These fossils are apparently some 40 million years old so we are going back in time quite a while when the ocean was this far inland and the caves at this stage had not dried out and then refilled with freshwater from a series of Ice ages. The last ice age was around 8000 years ago. 

Stalactites take approximately 100 years for every inch in size and some of them in this cave are well over 4 metres in length.

Rob (Our group cave diver) was lucky enough to come across an underwater camp fire setting where the Mayan people once gathered for meals. There were ancient pots and bones from the animals they had feasted on and cooked on their camp fire. The guide told him that they would be around 12000 years old. 

In the Tajma Ha Cenote there are hundreds of Stalactites which have broken away from the roof and now lay on the cavern floor. Thankfully these are way too big to have been bumped by dodgy diver buoyancy. They are about a metre or two wide and could have only come down due to some catalytic event. The light coming through various parts of the roof make for a great light show and make it a perfect photo opportunity for divers.

After our dive we dried off and headed back to the resort. On the way back one of our divers yelled at the driver to stop, on our bush track road they had spotted something moving and they wanted to see what it was. We were told Jaguars (not the cars) frequent the area and that we should be on the lookout for them but this wasn’t a Jaguar… This was a Tarantula! Being arachnophobic, I at first opted to give this one a miss… but curiosity and the chance of seeing something like this got the better of me and before you knew it, I was out there measuring my foot up alongside this massive hairy monster spider. It was big. The biggest spider I had ever seen and that includes the Huntsman that I killed with Mortein last summer (Not from the poison of it but from the sheer weight of the full can I off loaded onto it!)

We got photographs and whilst my foot was close I felt safe enough that I figured if it moved I could run. I laughed at jokes of everyone telling me it was gonna chase me and get me until the guide told me not to go too close because these things can jump over 2 metres at their prey!!! … I walked away head held high…. very quickly!

Tarantula and Lee’s foot…

We headed back to the resort and met up with the other groups over lunch and shared our stories and photographs. It was another great day of diving and the day was still only half way through…  Plenty of time to enjoy the resort and all of the free drinks and food on offer.

The Mexicans know how to put on a show when it comes to resorts. The Catalonia Riviera Maya has 4 huge swimming pools. Poolside bars, 9 restaurants and a bunch of “pop up” style food carts which are all free. All drinks including Icy Margaritas, cocktails, Tequila shots (or any shots actually) and soft drinks are included – all day and night. The restaurants have great food and range from Mexican, Italian, Japanese through to a steak house and 2 massive buffet style ones. Again – all included in the price of staying at the resort. 

This place is awesome and there is absolutely nothing to spend your money on once you are there other than maybe a massage.

The resort has a sports bar so you can keep up to date with all of the sport going on at home or around the world with the 30 or 40 large screen TVs inside, it has a discoteque which was home to a few nights with the Aussies singing along to ACDC and the like whilst keeping up the Australian tradition of trying to drink the bar dry. The beach side bar was also a hit and during the day – beach Volleyball and other activities kept everyone busy.

Next time – Ocean Diving in Cozumel & What really happened to Dyslexic Shark?

Tour Leader Lee Johnson

Did you miss Part 1 of Lee’s Diving the Cenotes of Mexico? Read here

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