Friday, July 19, 2013

Mayan Adventure

Mayan Adventure


Imagine snorkeling with up to 100 Whale sharks in one location. We were privileged to have this experience on our recent trip to Playa Del Carmen.

Every year between the months of June and September, hundreds of Whale sharks migrate to the waters off of a tiny island in Mexico called Isla Mujeres to feed on plankton, small fish and fish eggs.

Seemingly oblivious to the excited snorkelers splashing about on the surface, these gentle giants cruise lazily about with their mouths wide open sucking in huge amounts of water and the nutrients that it contains.

Occasionally they will turn their bodies erect in the water column (a technique called bottling) and become like a giant funnel.

Dave and I have been fortunate to have encountered Whale sharks on several of our previous dive trips, but never have we experienced the vast number of creatures that we encountered at Isla Mujures. It is an experience not to be missed.

Equally mind-blowing was the other-worldly beauty of the cenotes. We visited “Chac Mool” and “Kukulkan”; two cenotes that are located side by side.

We descended through bent light rays that shown through crystal clear water from the jungle above and pointed the way to a sanctuary of Mother Earth, adorned with stalactites, stalagmites and fossils from another time. Giant tree roots pierced the ceiling of an air dome, spreading out in a web-like fashion in search of the water below to quench their thirst.

Near the center of the darkened room a single spot light shown from above. It beckoned me to take center stage in the grand cathedral and I of course humbly obliged.

Where fresh water mixes with salt water a phenomenon known as a “halocline” exists which creates a blurry shimmer like a mirage or like oil in water. As we swam through this section of the cenote, I felt as if I was passing through dimensions to perhaps a parallel universe. At one point I rose above the halocline layer and gazed out across what appeared to be a vast lake in the middle of the water column. The water above it was so clear, it could have been air.

Wow, it gives me chills just thinking about it! Suffice it to say, it was a breathtakingly beautiful experience – another one not to be missed by those of us who venture below the surface in search of other worlds.

In addition to these two (my favorite) experiences, we also explored an underwater museum off of Isla Mujeres where they have placed hundreds of sculptures designed by a local artist for the purpose of creating an artificial reef. Here, the sea has begun to claim the sculpted figures giving them an ever so slightly spooky appearance, as they have things growing out of their eyes, ears, nose, etc.


We encountered lots of Hawksbill turtles, large schools of Grunts, many Green and Spotted Moray Eels, several small rays, some Giant Parrot Fish and a couple of creatures we have yet to identify.

Our resort had good food with lots of variety, a large white sand beach for strolling in the surf or swimming in case you need a little more time in the ocean. There are multiple activities available, so one can choose to be occupied with many different options or not. It is conveniently located to many of the Riviera Maya attractions.

We will more than likely be organizing another trip here in the next couple of years as I would really like to explore more of the cenotes and some of the Mayan ruins that I have yet to see and of course I would love to swim with all of those Whale sharks again. If you find that you are so excited by the tales of this adventure and just can’t wait for our next group trip, we can arrange the same adventure for you or your group anytime.


No comments:

Post a Comment