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Tuesday, January 26, 2016


CENOTE COOP ONE      “Big Hole” or Tam Hol in Maya
16Q 0456394 UMT 2252006
N°20 21.56.7” W°87 25.044”
The land owner is Jose Copertino Mass Mahla.  The maximum depth of this section of this cave system is 45 feet/ 13.7 meters.
You will find the permanent line on the far side from where you walk down a man-made ramp and past the wooden deck with ladder leading straight up to the surface
To find this cenote drive 6 kilometers west until you reach a four way intersection.  Turn left and drive almost a kilometer and will find a gate with a chain and lock.   A key can be obtained at the Zero Gravity dive store on Highway 307 at the bridge of Puerto Aventuras or from the land owner Jose Copertino Mass Mahla who lives at C. Centsuro Sun x Doromers y Sol Ote, Tulum, Q. Roo, Mexico.  His phone number is 984 134 0154.  As you drive into Tulum on Highway 307 from the Coba Road take left at the next traffic light and drive two blocks on Avenue Satelite then take a right (one way) on Sol.  Drive one block and on the right corner before crossing the street is his house.   Knock on the door, pay the dive site and get the key.
There are no bathroom facilities available.
The first explorers were Gunnar Wagner and Robbie Schmittner. 
There is a beautiful cartography map drawn by Daniel Hutnan, Ana Hutnan and Martin (2009) of the Czech Speleological Society and available through the QRRS.
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Yal-ku inlet is best reached via Akumal.  The community is small but strongly committed to the environment. They charge a small fee (which they use to preserve the lagoon) to enter the inlet. It is not permitted to use sun block or to bring any food or drinks and visits are limited to a number of people at a time.
Nothing comes close to the fantastic experience of snorkeling at Yal-ku Lagoon. It is a hidden, yet enchanting place of legend. You can go on a tour arranged by a tour desk at your hotel. If you get a good map and rent a car, however, you can go by yourself. Rental equipment is not available on site, so you'll have to bring your own. If you opt to join a tour group to Akumal, equipment will be provided for you.
When arriving at Yal-ku Lagoon, walk down a short, winding path to the lagoon entrance. It contains a mix of salt and fresh water, which is so calm and clear that you feel like plunging in.
Once in the water, you are immediately met by hundreds of colorful fish. Wonders can be observed in depths no greater than six feet and there are little or no waves at all. Submerged rock formations create a fascinating underwater terrain and the ideal habitat for the exotic marine creatures which you can see perfectly while snorkeling, whether you simply float on the surface or dive underwater to see them.
Several species of tropical fish spend some time here before they reach the proper size and maturity. After which, they move out into the immensity of the ocean and start their survival of the fittest. Watch for starfish and urchins, damselfish, sergeant majors, hamlets, parrotfish, blue tangs and queen triggerfish, among other Caribbean species. Remember that sea urchins are beautiful but potentially dangerous. The spines that protrude from their exoskeletons can easily pierce the skin and their poison acts very quickly.
Damselfish and sergeant majors are small but pugnacious so don't be surprised if they charge: they do that if they feel threatened. But remember, they are normally no longer than seven inches in length so there is nothing to worry about.
Bird watchers will be delighted with the area, which is abundant with various tropical species. Herons are especially prevalent but other water and shore birds are routinely sighted, such as cranes, pelicans, seagulls and egrets.
Yal-ku is certainly a jewel of an inlet and one of the best-kept secrets on the Riviera Maya .

CENOTE AZUL    “The Blue Cenote”    
16Q 0473721 UTM 2265563
The land owner is Maria Elena Pasada Martinez.  The maximum depth in this area of the cave system is 43 feet/ 13.1 meters.   This cenote is very popular for snorkeling and swimming for both tourists and locals.  There are several wood boardwalk and deck areas along with stone stairways and stone bordered walking paths around the property.  It is one of many entry points for cave diving in the Sistema Ponderosa.  I personally use this cenote often to DPV dive the cave system.
The permanent guideline begins about 130 feet/39.6 meters from the cave entrance.   Follow the main guideline through an air dome and then you come upon a permanent “T” intersection.  Swim straight and you will traverse to Cenote Kantun Chi.  Swim left and you will eventually get to Cenote Corral involving one jump along the way.
Please DO NOT use sun screen products or insect repellants when entering the water.

CENOTE ZACIL HA   (Luke’s Hope) “Clear Water”
16Q 0449035 UMT 2241964

The land owner is the Ejido Tulum.   

KM 8 Carretera Coba, 77780, Tulum, Q. Roo.  Monday – Sunday 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 A.M.   Contact Phone:  +52 984 155 1342   Email:

This cenote is located on the Coba road seven kilometers from Tulum. The cenote is known as Cenote Zacil-Ha, which in Spanish means "clear water", was discovered by accident that was almost a fatality.  Known by cave divers as Luke's Hope, it was a lucky escape point for a Canadian named Luke who as an open water diver was led into Cenote Carwash by a guide about 34 years ago.  He was accidently left alone by his guide (neither were cave diver trained) 300 feet/91.4 meters upstream and there was “no” guideline.  Luke had no clue where he was and began swimming inadvertently upstream.  He was down to his last 200 psi of air in his single 80 cubic foot cylinder and had made “peace” with God when he suddenly saw a glimmer of daylight peeping through a curtain of tree roots.  Meanwhile, several open divers were alerted to the situation when the dive master guide had swam back to the open water without Luke and bleeding from his head apparently from striking it on the cave ceiling in his haste to escape from the underwater cave.  No one was cave diver certified and had no idea and, luckily, no courage to search for Luke in the cave.  Everyone presumed Luke had drown and now were trying figure out how to retrieve his body.  That late afternoon back at Aventuras Akumal at the recently opened hotel (this was when the entire coast of the Riviera Maya was a jungle) several of the divers who were at the cenote along with other guests were at the poolside bar upset and trying to figure out how to retrieve Luke’s body.  Suddenly, Luke walked up to the bar in his wetsuit and literally scared the “hell” out of everyone as they thought they were seeing a ghost.  As everyone was rejoicing Luke explained that he found his way out of the cave by “discovering” this tiny cenote located 800 feet/244 meters from Cenote Carwash and managed to find his way through the thick jungle (the scariest part for Luke) to the Coba Road.  He managed to flag down a Tulum taxi and get a ride back to the hotel.  Thus, the true legend of Luke’s Hope.

                  During 2007 the land owner had the cenote dramatically enlarged with big shovel machine and made the dive site into what it is today. 
With a depth of 7 – 10 feet/2.5 - 3 meters will leave you amazed by the green jade and crystal clear waters that let you see every detail of its beauty, its edges are covered with a wooden deck floor so that from any point you can admire its beauty without fear of slipping.
The Cenote Zacil-Ha is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and especially for cave diving.  This entry can take you to a chamber known as The Room of Tears named by a Venezuelan cave diver named Hector Indriago when shown the room by Parker Turner and Mike Madden who had discovered it months earlier.  Hector was asked by Parker what he thought of the room and his reply was it was so beautiful it bought “tears” to his eyes, thus the name “The Room of Tears”.    With this cenote connected to Cenote Carwash the cave system is a very popular cave diving training site along with drawing attention to many cave divers from around the world.

There are changing rooms, a restaurant-bar, cabins, bathrooms, parking, equipment rental and attention from their caregivers, is the ideal place to escape the heat and cool completely.
There are bathroom facilities.

There is a dive site fee.

The Cenotes of the Riveria Maya 2016 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ITunes & Goole Play.

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