Monday, May 01, 2006

The Best of Mexico-Scuba Diving

I am still suffering from Post Travel Depression, so today we are exploring the "Best of Mexico" instead of "Best of Small Town Mexico."

Almost 10 years ago, I married into a very aquatic family. They've got champion swimmers and collegiate water polo players, surfers, spear fisherman and cliff jumpers. And they ALL scuba dive.

Enter me: land-lubber from Colorado who quit her college swimming class mid-semester.

Now, I should have had an ally in my mother-in-law, who also grew up a land-lubber. But, legend has it that, by order of my father-in-law, Guapo would drive her to her scuba lessons, push her out of the car with her gear, and speed away before she could say, "Waaaaaait, but I don't want to scuba dive." Now she's just like the rest of them.

The first thing Guapo and I ever did alone together was snorkel. Long story short-he had to haul me into the shore and then I threw up in front of him. Charming.

But, these days I am holding my own in this family. My only problem is that I get sea sick; if I forget to take my Dramamine (or sometimes even when I do), I throw up. I think almost every one of my brother-in-laws and Guapo Sr. have seen me throw up at least once. Charming.

Here in Mexico we have had the chance to go diving quite a bit. I am feeling a lot more comfortable 80 feet under the sea. And, I have had numerous opportunities to barf in front of family member AND complete strangers.

Here we are in Akumal diving with turtles:

I was also able to do a "cenote" dive." A cenote is an underground fresh water river. Or, as I like to call it: a PITCH. BLACK. CAVE. I have never wanted to do this, but Guapo's family came to Mexico and, well, peer pressure got the best of me and I did it. And I am glad I did, because I really like doing things that I don't think I can do. But, I don't really want to do it again. E-VER.

It is not a dive for the faint-of-heart. Being in a dark cave with little room to move is bad enough for me, but making it underwater with a ton of gear on had me a little antsy in a few spots. Here are photos of Guapo Sr., and my brave mother- and sister-in-law from the cave:

You can occasionally come up and find yourself in these kinds of surroundings:

Enough already.

I can't take it anymore, I have sweaty palms and my heart is racing. Hasta Luego!


smart mama said...

oooh neat--- i am kind of freaked about scuba diving-- i skipped it when i was in the philippines (goregeous private island- what a silly girl am i?)-- love the cave (love water but i get a little claustrophobic)

Anonymous said...

I could feel all those limestone walls closing in on me as I was reading about your cenote dive. Great pictures! I have always snorkeled as a child and ventured into skindiving during college but for the life of me, I could not get myself to scuba dive! You're so brave! This post might just inspire me to try it when I go for vacation soon.

Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to make a confession. Cenote diving scared the snot out of me, too. I actually got stuck (being larger in circumference than the average cenote diver - ) in one of the passage ways.

Suddenly, I had visions of slow death as I was yelling "Help, help" into my regulator mouth-piece, watching as darkness slowly gathered in from the periphery and my light began to flicker and die as the battery wore down with my hapless, water-encased body.

Fortunately, a little twisting enabled me to wriggle through the opening, and I came up in the cavern shown in one of Gabriella's photos. Sucked a lot of air down there that day.

I'm with you, Gabriella - no more cenotes! Glad I did it once, tho...

El Perrote (aka Guapo, Sr.)

Nantie Meg said...

That is so awesome! Learning to scuba dive is still on my list of things to do. I could never do the cenote diving though. Enclosed spaces are way too freaky.

Anonymous said...

Yes I've done ONE Cenote dive. I managed. I kept telling myself, "Whole bunches of people had done this safely before me and as long as I follow the rules...." But afterward, Guapo's bigger brother, who also did the dive, said, "All during the dive I kept thinking, 'Here we are 40 feet below the surface of the earth, submerged in very cold water, breathing artificial air and following a guide through tiny, hopelessly convoluted passageways. If something goes wrong, I have absolutely no ability whatever to go up for fresh air. What a horrible death..." That sort of took the thrill out of it for me. I think I won't do it again...unless, of course, I hear the underwater cave view is SPECTACULAR (which this one wasn't.)
OOCPL - (Only one Cenote per lifteime)

Grammy said...

The pictures are just awesome. You are one of the bravest people I know and I tip my snorkel gear to you, but I'm not sure that I'll ever be brave enough to scuba. (You sort of have to like the water to do that sort of hing, right?)

Rachelle said...

What awesome pics! I so want to do that sometime!

Lei said...

Youa re so very brave! And the pictures are simply beautiful... thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

You are so brave!!! I can't stand water on my face in the shower let alone 80 feet under!! Way to go!!!

momofalltrades said...

I am so impressed! There was a time when I could have done that, I'm much too big a chicken now though! LOL Just reading your post made me all anxious and paranoid.

Erickson Family said...

Wow -- what awesome pictures. That's sounds like a great adventure. Maybe someday I'll have the courage to try it!

Anonymous said...

Uh, great picture but that one of the sister-in-law. She's a wreck with all that gear floating free like that -- she doesn't appear too experienced. I wonder how much damage she did to the cenote with all that gear dragging from her sorry self... poor sucker.

But nice pictures and great writing.

Papa said...

I'd love to learn to scuba dive, but as far as the underwater caving thing??? Not in a million years!!!

Super Happy Girl said...

What amazing pictures!, what an incredible thing to do. The fact that you went into a cenote :O <==That's what my face looks like right this very minute.
You are like so way cool!