A Magical World Unlike Any Other | Cenote Diving in Mexico | SV Delos ep 335
(Atmospheric music) - [Brian] On the east coast of Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula exists an underground underwater world, that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. These sacred underwater formations are believed to be portals to the Mayan underworld, and they served as a life force to the ancient Mayan civilizations, providing limestone filtered, crystal clear drinking water. A Cenote, by definition is nothing more than a natural well or sinkhole formed by the collapse of the surface limestone above, but to the people lucky enough to witness some of the thousands of Cenotes that carve out the landscape of this region. They're much, much more.
A Lily pad dreamworld, a submerged cathedral, a haunted underwater forest, some curious locals. These are just a few of the wonders that attract visitors from all over the world to this one of a kind corner of the globe. A combination of geologic events and climatic change has led to the development of these unique ecosystems.
Millions of years ago, the Yucatan peninsula was a giant reef set under several feet of ocean water. During the last ice age, the ocean level dropped exposing the reef to the surface, the coral died and jungle grew over the mile thick limestone platform created by the coral reef. Fossils found far inland are proof of this, including the remains of camels, giant Jaguars, mammoths, sloths, horses, and even some of the oldest human skeletons ever found in North America. Many of the caverns eventually collapsed. When the ice age came to a close 18,000 years ago, the climate of the planet warmed up, the glaciers receded and the caves flooded as sea levels rose.
Traveling and diving around the world on our sailboat for the last 10 plus years, we've seen our fair share of dive sites around the globe, but nothing could prepare us for what we're about to experience in the Cenotes. Now, we just had to get there. (white noise) - [Announcer] We interrupt our program to bring you this message important message. - [Brian] We actually get approached by quite a few companies that ask us to sponsor their videos. Normally, I just flat out turn them down because it seems like in order to do that, it has to be a product that we would normally use on board, and we already use on board and finally somebody came and talked to us for something that we're using. So we're pretty stoked today for this video to be sponsored by Nord VPN.
Just this morning, I was actually trying to pay my mom's water bill. And for some reason, because we're not in the U.S. when I tried to access the site, it just flat out denied the access. I have no idea why, like, what's the reason why you wouldn't be able to pay a water bill from outside of the country. - [Brian] I was able to launch the Nord VPN client, really one click.
I was able to connect to a server in the U.S. so that when I refresh the webpage voila! Now I could finally pay my mom's water bill. So, because we're all over the place and connecting to all these dodgy wifi points, you have no idea who's lurking in what prying eyes are out there. In this day and age, it is absolutely insane to be doing this, putting our YouTube channel passwords, social media account passwords in over the open internet. It's just a silly thing. If you head on over to Nord VPN forward slash sailing SV Delos, you can get a special promotion.
I think the offer right now is like four free months. It costs just three bucks a month and there's a 30 day money back guarantee. So it's pretty hard to go wrong.
All right. Thanks for watching everybody really appreciate your time. And now we're going to roll on with the rest of the video.
Bye. (Mellow Latin instrumental music) - [Kazza 1] Woww! - [Brian] Wow, you're so pretty Nugs. Is that a little Mexican dress? No? - [Kazza] (Laughing) Well, we're going for another land adventure, ummmm, and I'm pretty stoked about this one because we got this random message from a Delos follower on, on YouTube, on Instagram, they live near to Tulum and they said 'we would love to take you guys around the area to see some sweet spots, Cenote swimming, Cenote diving, and maybe some local beaches. This picture of us make us look pretty normal. I promise we're weirder than we look.
- [Brian] It looks so nice and wholesome and I'm feeling that they're a little bit on the crazy side, because we had a little chat with them on WhatsApp the other night. They seemed a bit wild. So this could be an exciting trip. Okay, let's go! Ooh, Raise the roof! Raise the roof! - We're packing everything up. And it's a big load when you have a child.
- [Brian] Yeah, it's a little bit different traveling with a nugget - It takes three people to carry everything. - [Brian] To carry the nugget's survival gear Fresh water off. AC off, off, off. - [Brian] One of the best parts about traveling by sailboat is that you take your home and all your stuff with you everywhere you go. But the closest anchorages to Tulum, where we'd be Cenote diving were pretty unprotected, and all the marinas were full.
So we'd be leaving Delos in Isla Mujeres and making the trip to Tulum via taxi, ferry and a couple of different car rides fueled by tacos and beer. So with our full stash of everything we could possibly need to survive an apocalypse with a baby. We set off towards our first leg of the journey - [Brian] (Speaking Spanish) (Suspensful Latin guitar music) - [Brian] (Greets in Spanish) This is our friend Juan, who we met earlier during a wild day of land digging around He's an absolute legend and offered to drive us halfway to Tulum.
- [Brian] Thanks for picking us up. - [Juan] Yah, no worries. There's one rule in the car. I can't drink, but you guys can.
- [Brian] Oh, that's the rule? - Do you want to a beer? - [Brian] Sure. I like this already! - What did I say? - [Brian] Yeah. You called it. - I said, 'how long is it going to be before Juan gets us a beer?' - [Brian] (Laughing) Not very long. Cheers. Cheers.Cheers Nugs cheers. - I love it here. It's the best
- [Jack Black] It's the besttt. - Where are we going now? - We're gonna go just for a quick round around the hotel, 'Sun of Cancun'. So you guys get to see like the tourist part, and then we're going to make our way to Puerto Morelos, which is a small town that I really like so. - Cool.
- [Juan] Let's do this. - [Brian] Is this what you listen to all day long? - All day long, man, I don't listen to anything else which is not mariachi. (Everyone laughs) (Fast mariachi music) - [Juan] I am sort of not stopping on purpose, but I can stop if you want. - [Brian] No, no, no it's okay. I'm just going to get a picture of the tourists waiting in line to take their picture with the Cancun sign.
As we slowly... oh, selfie! Bye! - [Brian] What are we getting here, dude? - We're getting coconut cream water, man. This thing, it was like the Godspeed it's what came out man. - [Brian] This is like Gosdpeed, huh, all right man. Oh it looks so good.
- Oh she got the meat - [Brian] We got you the meat girl - Oh! That's so sweet. - Basically when I told you that it was speed. It's sugar with a little bit of Godspeed, just a little bit of Godspeed. - [Brian] Welcome to Puerto Morales - [Kazza] Mojitos, cervezas or margaritas - (Upbeat Mexican music) - [Brian] Where are we headed now? - We're headed to meet up with our friends that are going to take us to the diving and all that stuff. So.
- [Brian] And they're going to meet us in Playa Del Carmen? and then drive us the rest of the way. - [Kazza] I hope so. - There they are! - [Brian] Hi! - [Millie] How are you guys doing? - [Female 1] Good. - [Brian] Nice to meet you. - Nice to meet you too! - [Brian] What are you guys doing? - [Female 1] Thanks for picking us up. - [Brock] Yeah, yeah we're gonna have a good time.
- [Brian] You travel well-prepared good sir. - You have to travel this way in Mexico, - [Brian] I'm coming in for the big hug, buddy. (Laughing) - Thank you. Thank you. That was fun.
Thanks for the ride. - It's been awesome. - You're a legend. - Thank you so much, guys.
- [Brian] Have a safe drive man. We'll keep in touch. - Yeah, exactly. - Oh this looks like such a cute little neighborhood. We just arrived. And I think this is us.
And I think it's Brock's friend's Airbnb. So I'm excited to look inside. - [Brian] Some neighborhoods have pools or a park, but here in Tulum a day out with the family means a trip to one of the local Cenotes. So after settling into our new pad, we hopped in the car to do some Cenote exploring, - Today's adventure is. - Cenotes! (Seat belt clicking) - Wow. Ready to go. - [Brian] Ready to go guys? - Ready for some Cenote swimming? - I'm so ready, it's so hot in here.
- [Brian] Is the baby Nugs ready? - Yeah. (Energetic music) - Ooh we getting ready. - [Brian] Getting ready? Getting excited? - Yeah, it looks like a really cool spot.
I'm excited to check it out with the mask underwater. See what we can see. Apparently there's a cool little like cave thing we can swim through, but it's like, you have to hold your breath for a long time. So we'll see if we can do it. - Oh, it's cold.
- Ready Nugs? - The belly's always the worst. Ahhh. - Are the fishes eating your feet Kazza? - The Spa fish! - [Brian] I'm calling these fish spa fish because in Southeast Asia, they used them in plastic tubs for a spa dead skin removal treatment on your feet. But if anyone knows the real name, just comment below. Are they eating the dead skin off your feet? (Muffled screaming) - [Female 1] I don't like it! - [Brian] Oh they're getting me too! Aaah! (Adventurous low-fi hip hop music) - It's pretty cool to swim into this crevice here. (Music continues) - [Brian] Here comes the baby.
(Upbeat Music continues) - [Brian] So Cenotes are your new favorite thing? - Yeah, I think Cenotes are like my new favorite thing. It's like combining freshwater and you can dive down and there's like cool caves to look at and you can swim through holes and I don't know. I think it's just really fun. It's a cool vibe. - [Brian] It is good. What do you think about Cenotes? - Yeah, this is so refreshing. I love it. It's like not too warm here.
Just the water is really cool and it's just nice to hang out. Very, like calm and quiet. It's great. (Chill guitar music) - Our first Cenote dip was pretty amazing, but this was just a warmup for what was to come. The next day we'd be making the trip to the Dos Ojos park, to dive one of the most famous and iconic Cenotes in Mexico. The pit.
(Mellow guitar music) - We're ready to go for a dive. Yeah. Cenote diving today is gonna be pretty cool - [Brian] How stoked are you? - I'm super stoked.
I think it's going to be a really unique experience for all of us. And it's really nice of Brock to be able to watch Nugget. 'Cause then all three of us get to go diving together, which is pretty special. - [Brian] You woke up very chipper this morning.
Very excited. - Yeah. I'm in a feisty mood. - So excited. We're just gearing up, then we're going to do a little brief and then we're going to jump in. - [Brian] So where are we actually? - (whispering) Ummm, ask this guy.
(Laughing) - [Brian] It's called 'Dos Ojos' - Dos Ojos, which means two eyes. - [Brian] What's your name sir? - [Aidan] My name is Aidan. Nice to meet you. - [Brian] Nice to meet you Aidan. Thank you for taking us diving.
- You're more than welcome. - So we're at a place called Dos Ojos dive called 'The Pit'. - Yes. This is the legendary site that we call 'The Pit' Known for the beauty with the lights, with the laser beams with the other clients I'll be talking about it in a while.
And it's my office. So. - [Brian] This is your office? Is this your company? - It is, yes. The name of the company, 'The Cenote Guy', it's a company that is dedicated only and only in Cenote diving, cavern diving.
- [Brian] Aiden gave us an in-depth briefing about our dive plan, we would enter the pit from a platform and then descend into the sinkhole to a depth of about 80 feet. Where we would encounter a Rocky area shrouded in a thick layer of hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas that's released as leaves and other vegetation that have fallen into the Cenote start to rot at depth. Then we would start slowly ascending towards the surface and exploring the outer edges of the sinkhole, which are covered in beautiful stalactite formations. We would also see the natural phenomenon of a Halocline.
When the freshwater from the jungle meets the higher density saltwater from under the peninsula, creating a visible hazy separation. (Mellow guitar music) (Sounds of excitement) - [Aidan] I know, guys, it's a bit risky. I know that you've been diving all around the world, but I bet it's one of the best visibility that you will ever see in your life.
(Soft guitar music) (Water bubbling) - [Brian] As we approach the bottom of the pit, we noticed a dense cloud that looked impenetrable. It turns out that this cloud is created from organic matter, like leaves, branches and even animals falling into the Cenote and settling onto the bottom. In the oxygen deprived environment, this organic matter is consumed by bacteria that excrete hydrogen sulfide gas. So in essence, we're diving through an acid cloud. It's a bit unnerving going into the cloud and completely losing visibility and quite easy to get disoriented, which is one of the reasons why this type of diving is only for experienced divers.
But on the other side, we found a magical world. unlike any other we'd experienced underwater before. (Chill atmospheric guitar music) - [Brian] How was that? You guys liked that? Fantastic, huh? - That's amazing.
- [Brian] Isn't that good? Start the climb? - Holy, man. Epic. Woooo! - [Brian] What was your favorite part about the dive Kazza? - The lighting. - [Brian] The lighting was amazing, huh? - [Kazza] Just looking back on the rays of lights. hitting through the water and seeing, like, divers coming down. - [Brian] The shafts of light coming down.
It was so spectacular. It's hard to do it justice. - Yeah.
- [Brian] Hello, what was your favorite part? - Being surrounded by the rocks and like seeing some of like the walls and the fossils and stuff. - [Brian] Yeah. I really enjoyed that. Pretty cool, man.
Thank you so much. That was amazing. (Woosh) - Chapter one. - [Brian] Boom. - Now chapter two. - So we're taking a little 40 minute car ride, and we're heading to our second Cenote dive for today.
- It's called Taj Mahal, which is cool because that's our funny nickname for Tay, Taylor, which turns into Tay, which turns into Taj, which sometimes goes to Taj Mahal. (Chill music) - [Brian] So it's Tajma-ha not Taj Mahal (Laughing) - Close enough. - [Brian] Wow, cool, huh. Two Cenote dives in one day.
(Chill music) - It's completely different from 'The Pit'. The configuration is different. Once again, it's a penetration dive in which we will pass almost like 90% of the dive under the ceiling. Okay. That's why, I know that you are doing well under the water, but this dive maybe more, not technical, but you know, it may, you may feel sometimes that we're far away from the exit It's getting really dark.
- Claustrophobic. - I'd rather follow the guide. It's more oppressive. Let's say. Okay. It's a cavern dive. - [Aidan] We're you going to follow the line, the yellow line.
And I like to do it counter-clockwise this way. Okay. So we got to stay close to the line or you're going to follow the line, it's going to be our visual reference. - [Brian] It turns out the system of cabins is really part of a gigantic, slowly-moving underwater river system that runs for hundreds and hundreds of miles underground. And we'd be exploring just a tiny, tiny fraction of the system of caverns that lies hidden beneath the jungle.
This fuzzy barrier we're seeing here, is called a halocline layer. And it's caused by the lighter freshwater settling above the denture saltwater that lies under the Yucatan peninsula. The freshwater floats on top of the saltwater. And the difference in density is what causes the blurriness.
But on either side of the barrier is crystal clear with amazing visibility. Our main job here, besides just enjoying the experience was following Aiden and the ever-present guideline, that would keep us from getting lost or taking a wrong turn. We'd swim under water for minutes at a time with nothing but the cavern roof above us. And then suddenly we'd pop up into a Cenote where the roof had collapsed, giving us an incredible light show and view of the jungle above.
(Chilled low-fi music) - Wow, that's amazing man. I'm loving this. (Upbeat music) - [Brian] We'd been under water for almost an hour, although it seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. We barely just scratched the surface here. I can see why Cenote diving is such an addicting experience.
We'll definitely be back for more. (Laughing) (Beers clinking) - Cheers. - [Brian] Nice job. Thank you. That was incredible. Oof. Up next on Delos, we played the waiting game, looking for the right weather for our thousand mile passage to Panama, but making the most of our time with playing above and below the water and even teaching Tay how to make moonshine.
- Nugs, our crazy neighbors are playing music again. Let's go see what they're up to. (Funky music) (Live band) (Drum cymbals chiming) - Wow, she will do it however she wants! (Latin dance music) (People cheering) - Okay hold on. Wait, wait for it.
(Motorbike revving) (Laughing) - Going to be more penetration. Well we all have our things, I guess. - I gotta focus.
Man, what a wild ride hanging out with the Delos crew. Wait, come here. Bring that in. Give it to me for real. This is Brian signing off. ('Sweet Child of Mine' playing in background)