Angelita, A Mystical Cenote I Failed to Dive
Following is a video of the mystical scenery in the Angelita Cenote. The video was captured by Dutchie.
After seven years of scuba diving, I have been fearless to scuba dive with tens of sharks or diving inside of underwater caverns and caves. However, there was one dive site that I canceled to dive because of the fear. The dive site called as Angelita cenote or “Little Angel” cenote. A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Located in Tulum (Mexico), Angelita cenote looks like a pond surrounded by trees. It was beautiful. It did not strike as a typical cenote that we had seen in other parts of Tulum.
The cenote does not have underwater caves that connect to other cenotes as in the Sac Actun labyrinth system. It stands alone as you may see in the following “map” of the cenote. It looks like a huge water well, only this one was naturally formed.
We were the first scuba divers on that morning. Just the three of us; Bebe, our dive guide/instructor, Dutchie and myself. We were briefed about the depth and what to expect. The cenote is known for having a mystical scenery at a depth of 20-ish meter due to a sulfuric hydrogen cloud. The cloud is known to be very thick and smelly. The plan was to dive until 25 meters deep. No deeper than that, and we had dive watch to warn us.
I was excited when jumping into the cold water of the cenote. The cenote is rather unique and I was so eager to see the famous sulfuric hydrogen cloud. We went down slowly, as we got deeper, the less visibility it was inside the cenote. The green water got thicker and it was getting darker. I could not see Bebe and Dutchie clearly. I had an eerie feeling of the thought that I could not see. I checked my dive watch; it was only 13 meters depth. How would the visibility be as if we went deeper? I became uncomfortable. No. I could not dive with such visibility. I made a hand sign to Bebe that I had a problem. He looked at me cautiously then I made another hand sign to go up. Dutchie followed us to the surface. After three minutes safety stop, at the surface, I canceled the diving. Dutchie and Bebe went down again. They were diving for another 30 minutes.
After diving, Dutchie told me the visibility got clearer after 20-meter depth. It could be that after the storm on the previous day made the cenote’s water muddy down to 20 meters but not in the deeper water. I missed the mystical scenery that often described as an underwater river.
From this experience, I learn to admit and accept our limitation are not always easy. I did feel regret for deciding not to continue the dive, blame it on myself for being afraid of muddy water. Bebe and Dutchie did it well, so why couldn’t I have done the same? But it was not a competition game. I was aware that I was not comfortable with the overall diving condition. I could have gone deeper, but would that be a safe option? I had a panic attack when scuba diving in the past, maybe it was a prudent thing to do to stop and ascend to the land. Maybe.
Have you conquered your fear to do something that you feel it was beyond your limit?