Diving into the unknown

Scuba exploration © SteelCityHobbies on Flickr

When I signed up for the ‘Mexican Cenotes’ expedition (when I say expedition of course it was just that to me — for the guides it was an everyday occurrence!), I believed my five-star hotel experience would continue. I was then, of course, shocked when I turned up to the meeting point and was directed to a pick-up truck. The only European in the party I thought I had taken a wrong turn and volunteered for a job involving manual labour.

After fifteen minutes of hectic and erratic driving where I tried to smile politely whilst being battered by air tanks, we arrived in a non-descript area of jungle. Having opted for flip flops, t-shirt and shorts I felt somewhat put out as I carried several kilos of dive gear through encroaching, thick jungle.

After several minutes’ trekking in the hot, humid morning I stopped dead as a large tarantula crossed the path right in front of me. I recognised the creature from a National Geographic program I had watched. I dropped my equipment and pointed.

“Spider!” I cried with some alarm. The guide behind me patted my back as he passed me.

“Signor,” he said, “Eees de jungle!”

I felt like the butt of some sick joke. If I wasn’t panicked enough the guide went on to name several other dangerous or poisonous beasts we may encounter on the way to our destination.

Thankfully we arrived at the cave system without further incident. However, I did question my travelling companions when I saw that there were several minivans and cars parked around when we had left ours a kilometre away and walked. It was something to do with evading the tourist tax. I declined a need for further explanation.

The dive was a huge highlight, and if there are any scuba divers reading this I would recommend the Mexican Cenotes to be one of the best experiences I have had as a diver. I would, however, warn you that it would be prudent to ask questions before you set off, such as: How are we getting there? Will I have to walk through the jungle? And could I die?

Written by - Edited by Antony Barton - Photo by SteelCityHobbies

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