Most people are familiar with the ocean because they find themselves above the surface and looking out across the vastness. Others realize that there is so much more that happens under the surface, and perhaps that is best illustrated with Cenote Angelita. That gem in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is the spot that every diver should include on their bucket list.
You can find Cenote Angelita by starting at Tulum and driving south for about 15 minutes. There is an underwater cave that is explored by many who are advanced at scuba diving. When you get to the bottom of the ocean, you will be in for a big surprise because there is a “river” below.
At this point, you may be wondering how it is possible that a river would flow on the bottom of the ocean. It has to do with the way that the limestone acts when it collapses. As it does so, a pit is formed and it fills with groundwater and saltwater. When organic matter ends up in the area, and it will, a cloud of hydrogen sulfide is produced as it decomposes. It separates the freshwater and saltwater in the area.
When a diver is going down through this location, they can swim through the cloud of hydrogen sulfide. It appears as if they are in a body of water that is flowing under the ocean. There are even branches and leaves lining that underwater river, making it appear like a mystical place.
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Maya Diving describes it in this way: “From the surface, you look down and all you can see is deep blue water. You all give the ok and begin your descent, at first you see nothing but blueness all round then slowly at about 18m/60ft you begin to see what looks like a strange wispy bottom appearing below with a few ghostly, bare limbed tree trunks and branches sticking out.”
“As it becomes clearer you begin to feel the first effects of narcosis at the same time as you see an expanse of wispy fog below. At the top of the cloud you stop and look around, everything appears surreal and a spooky feeling takes over amplified by the effects of the nitrogen in your brain,” they continued.
They talk about descending through the cloud and not being able to see anything except the glow of your lights for a moment. Suddenly, the floor of the ocean opens up to a black abyss with clear water below you. At this point, you are already about 100 feet down, and as you go down further, you can look up at the dim glow that is coming down through the fog.
They sum things up nicely, saying: “Now that was a diving adventure that you will never forget.”