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Scuba Diving in Mexico
Dive Site: Chac Mool
Location: Yucatan, Mexico
Depth: 15 metres (50 feet)
Visibility: 150 metres + (165 feet)
This amazing cave system is just one of many in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The Yucatan peninsula is predominantly limestone, resulting in some amazing underwater cave systems.
The entry to the Chac Mool (Rain God) cave system is an inconspicuous slimy pool only about 20 feet across. On seeing the surface slime I asked our dive guide what visibility we could expect. Imagine my surprise when he replied 'if it's less than 500 ft, I don't go in!'. I didn't believe him until we got in, descended and I saw it for myself! After descending only a few metres, the visibility became absolutely crystal clear, and after clearing a small overhang you are met by a huge chamber that was at least the length of a football pitch. All around you are strange shapes and formations jutting out of the limestone cave walls.
We were led through a few small, short tunnels (chokes) that led us into another house-sized chamber that had a surface pool. Your perception is so altered by the lack of any sediment in the water that when looking at the other divers you really get the impression that they are floating in the air. At approximately 10 metres in any of the chambers, there is a really weird effect where the freshwater meets the deeper saltwater. Visually you seem to be descending through a layer of clear jelly before reaching the crystal visibility again on the other side. As strange and solid as the jelly layer looks you can't feel it all.
Different dives in the system can be chosen depending on skill level. Our first dive was through a serious of chambers where surface pools are clearly visible, even though they can be hundreds of feet away! Our second dive was into a deeper cavern through a tunnel that prevented any natural light getting through. The dive operation we used had laid out a guideline for divers to follow that lead in and out of this cavern and round a huge submerged stalagmite. Even with our torches, the other tunnels leading out of the other side of this dark cavern looked ominous, your torch beam fading way before the visibility does.
This cave system is an absolutely unique dive site, offering the most amazing underwater visibility I've ever seen along with a cave diving experience without any of the risks usually associated with this dangerous type of diving.
Malik Chibah, BSAC Advanced Diver
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