Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Photos by Julia Aron

The entrance to the Cenote looks like a stone gazebo with a palapa roof. There’s a long, spiral staircase descending down into the Cenote. Though it’s made of wood, the stairs are sturdy and the lower we go, the more the air changes. Three-quarters of the way down, there is a platform, though it’s roped off. I figure it’s the “trampolina” the man who took our money was talking about.

We are now deep down in the Cenote and I can see everything. It’s strangely serene and daunting all at once. We are literally in a cave. There are stalamites everwhere. The rock is a terra cotta color and the water, because it’s dark inside the cave, looks to be a deep, cool bluish black color.

It’s not crowded, thankfully, but it’s interesting to make the trek down the stairs and maneuver around the token person coming up the stairs to exit. Julia stops to take some pictures and I continue on down where I come to the second “trampolina”, about ten feet lower than the first one. This one is not roped off and I walk out onto the 3 foot-long platform taking in the scene. The water looks so crisp and clear, it’s mind boggling. There’s no plant life except for a little moss on the back side of the cave, near the staircase.

Julia snaps my picture and we excitedly descend to the bottom where there is a ledge of sorts that serves as a dock and place for belongings. We wrap up the camera and head towards the gigantic wooden ladder leading into the water. There are two sides to enter with the staircase in the middle. We choose the one to the right.

Standing on the ladder, I can feel how cold the water is. I dive right in bracing myself for the shock of the cold. And cold it is!! Wow. After two weeks of swimming in the comfortable waters of the ocean, this feels more like swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in early June. “It’s coooooold!!” I call out to Julia who is making her way down the ladder.

Once my body adjusts to the temperature, I’m thrilled to be swimming around in a cave. Who gets to do this?!! Matt was telling me that the water itself, is very dense. He went on to describe the time his friend jumped off the “trampolina” improperly, landed on his ass and was sore for days to follow. Floating in the water, I can feel the density – it’s almost syrup-like. Hard to describe, but noticeable nonetheless. I look up at the platform for jumping and think about the fact that there’s a proper way to jump. Not knowing what this is, I silently opt to pass on jumping into the water today.

There are a few community inner-tubes that on which we are able to take a turn. It’s great floating around in the water. At closer glance, the water is crystal clear and the bottom is filled with plant life. I doubt there are fish because the water is fresh, not salty. I make a mental note to ask Ron about this. We stick to the center of the Cenote as we’re both a little grossed out by the cave walls. They’re very porous and remind me of the guy’s skin from the movie Grease. You know the guy, Kenickie´s rival, who challenges the T-birds to a drag race and loses to Danny after Kenickie is accidentally knocked out minutes before the race.

I digress.

I’m cold, so I get out of the water and commandeer the camera, but it’s too dark for good pictures and I’m happy to sit and take in the whole scene in while Julia splashes around on her tube.

Upstairs and outside, it’s hot and we’re feeling refreshed and somewhat strange. The water is full of minerals and we were told that it’s got a cleansing effect, so perhaps the woozy feeling we share is because of that. It’s not bad and I’m sucker for anything cleansing, so we head back to the car to contemplate our next move.

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