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Dive Review of Scuba Tulum/Vista Del Mar Hotel, Akumal in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Maya Riviera

June, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Amy, CT, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 4981
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Belize, Bonaire, Chuk, Grand Cayman, Hawaii, Palau, Turks
Caicos, Yap
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
no currents  
Water Temp
77   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 200    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Most of the cenote diving was relatively shallow; restrictions were geared
to not kicking up sediment, not leaving the guide, obviously.  Cenote
divers are restricted as to where they can and cannot go according to what
is considered "cave" diving vs. "cavern" or
"cenote" diving; guides adhere to that.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Not a photographer
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
Standing out in the hot sun in the Yucatan jungle, off to the side of a
narrow sand track, slightly hung over from the two ill-advised margaritas
the night before, sweating my ass off and bugs buzzing around my ears, I
wondered for a second "what the hell am I doing here?" Despite
the heat, I put my dive hood on to fend off the bugs swarming my neck and
ears, and then we began the short rough trek to the edge of  "The
Pit" cenote, the cenote the dive guides had assured me was a dive
experience like no other, akin to a religious experience.  A short scramble
down a sort of cliff to a platform right at the water's edge, water so blue
stretching down for God-knows-how-many feet (well, they had told me: 130),
and I'm there.  At the Pit.  The guide hoists the tanks, already strapped
to the BC's, directly into the water, and I shrug into my BC once into the
cool water, so welcome after the heat and bugs.  Easy!  I'm nervous, and
Marina, my guide, knows it, but she has warm brown reassuring eyes behind
her mask and says she will check with me every step of the way.  I'm not a
dive "newbie", but this is a deep dive, through a layer of
hydrogen sulfide at about 90 feet, which some cave divers who spotted my
dive log book at the restaurant the night before had cheerfully
mis-informed me would "eat the chrome right off your regulator; super

The Pit was in fact akin to a religious experience, descending down into
the incandescent blue of the water, the light rays penetrating the depths
like lasers.  Slowly, slowly we descend, my dive computer clocking the
descent at 5 minutes.  At 90 feet, sure enough, like a layer of fog, is the
hydrogen sulfide layer, with little wisps clinging to the walls here and
there, sublime and surreal.  Below this layer is the thing everyone talks
about with the Pit, human bones, reportedly pre-Mayan.  Below the layer it
is darker, but still light enough to see our passage going off
horizontally.  At 127 feet my dive computer is in "ascend right this
minute" mode, beeping and flashing, but still we descend, down to the
max. of 138 feet.  Marina shines her light on a jawbone, still with a few
teeth in in.  I'm slightly "narc'ed" at this point, everything
mellow and languid, like a dream, and I'm very conscious of the sound of my
breathing, the air coming out of the tank just behind my head.  I remember
this feeling from the Blue Hole in Belize, at 141 feet.  We begin the
ascent, slowly spiraling up the walls of the pit, with its amazing
formations--some quite large like the the ones in the Blue Hole, some
small, delicate and beautiful.  The light streaming in from the surface, so
far away, is an indescribable blue, suffused with a glow that is
otherwordly.  There are more bones, some the remnants of meals in ancient
firepits, but also human leg bones and an overturned skull.  Also pottery
shards which we view when Marina removes a rock in a little niche in the
wall.  All in all, we spend just over an hour in this luminous water,
lingering over our "safety stop" at 15 feet, reluctant to leave
this magic place.  I marvel at such a perfect dive, endless
"vis", my buoyancy perfect, hanging in the water at 15 feet.  We
wave to our tank assistant Cesar, high up on the surface looking down at
us; we can see him clearly.  Marina gives me the thumbs-up "want to go
up?" sign and I give her two fingers for "two more minutes at
safety stop".  Really what I want is just to stay here forever, and
she figures this out and gives Cesar the "10-more-minutes" sign. 
We have plenty of air, she and I, and we cruise around the walls of The Pit
for easily 20 more minutes before reluctantly surfacing to the real world. 
62 minutes total in the Pit!

In the previous two days we had dived 5 cenotes, beginning with the popular
(and populated) Dos Ojos, and indeed that day we dove two more, the
off-the-beaten-path "Pet Cemetary" (so named for numerous animal
bones found there, including what I'm pretty sure was a horse jawbone--como
es posible?) and Casa Cenote or the Mangrove Cenote, each one completely
unique, with a different vibe and feel.  As I descended into each cenote,
and particularly as I looked back at the light streaming into the entrance,
I could easily see why the Mayans would have thought that this was the
entrance to the Underworld, and indeed was impressed with the bravery of
those first Mayans who, believing fully in vengeful gods and human
susceptability, took that plunge.

Ocean diving will never be the same for me, post-cenotes.

Perhaps the only thing I wish I had known before I left home was how magic
the cenotes are; I would have allowed more time!  The owners of Scuba Tulum
are active environmentally in their area, sprearheading an anti-litter
education/action effort in the area of the cenotes.  They are committed,
engaged, and passionate about the cenotes; it was a delight to dive with
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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