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Feb - 2020

Cenote cave diving playa del carmen

The Wonders Of Cenote Cave Diving

Those who enjoy the thrill of discovery that is part and parcel of the SCUBA experience are continually on the lookout for the next experience that will live in their memories for years. One of the experiences that are growing in popularity is the opportunity to explore the unique underwater environments of the Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula’s Riviera Maya.

Cenotes were formed by the erosion of limestone by acidic rain that, over millennia, gradually led to the formation of underground caves. These caves are fed by rivers that flow through the limestone. In time the weight of the roofs and the continued effects of that slow growth of the caverns has led to the roof collapsing. The result has been some of the most visually stunning lagoons, many deep in the jungle.

Cenote cave diving playa del carmen

 

These lagoons are continually fed by above and below ground freshwater streams and rivers – however, there is another source of the water which fills them – and one that has divers in search of adventure flocking to plunge into one of the many Cenotes which dot areas such as the Playa Del Carmen. That other source is saltwater which flows up the course of the underground rivers and contributes to filling the Cenotes. This leads to the formation of a zone in the Cenotes called the ‘halocline’. This is a zone where the salt and fresh water meet. For those diving the Cenotes the Halocline is clearly visible – and one of the most fascinating sights available to SCUBA divers.

For experienced cave divers, Cenotes are also often the entrance to vast underwater cave systems – some well worth exploring. For instance, the Sistema Sac Actun is the longest underwater cave system in the world.

Cenote cave diving

 

The attractions of the Cenotes are almost too many to mention. With more than 7,000 to choose from in Yucatan, the diver (or snorkeler) is spoiled for choice. The Cenotes boast unique ecosystems with exotic fish species and flora. the settings of the Cenote are as close to paradise as possible. Colorful birdlife and dense jungle shelter these unique natural features. The waters are often crystal clear and visibility is incredible.

For the ancient Mayan culture in the Yucatan Cenotes were revered as places of worship. It was here that they could commune with Gods and receive the blessings of the clear blue-tinged waters.

Today divers from all over the world are rediscovering the wonders of the Cenotes. Cenote cave diving in Playa del Carmen is an experience that should be on every divers bucket list.

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2

Feb - 2020

Sharks are familiar to practically everyone thanks to movies like “Jaws” and the sensational TV documentaries on them that fill up Shark Week every year. Despite this prominence, lots of the “facts” everyone knows about shark behavior are, in fact, misconceptions. If you find yourself fielding shark questions from non-diving friends and you feel the need to set the record straight, here are three apocryphal sharks “facts” you can debunk for them.

shark in Playa del Carmen

1) Human Attacks by Sharks Are Common

No shark in the world tries to kill humans or hunt them as prey. Human flesh isn’t even appetizing to sharks. In the overwhelming majority of shark-on-human attacks, the violence is ultimately caused by a case of mistaken identity. The shark simply mistakes a person for a natural prey animal, like a seal or turtle. A shark will bite a human because its mouth is one of its strongest sensory organs, but it will virtually never try to consume human flesh. However, with larger species of shark, even one “exploratory” bite might prove fatal.

2) Have To Swim Constantly To Stay Alive

Forward motion is important for sharks because of the way they get oxygen. They absorb it straight from the water through capillaries in their gills, so maintaining a constant flow is necessary for their survival. Not all shark species, though, rely on continuous swimming to meet their oxygen needs.
Several shark species, including angel sharks, nurse sharks, and wobbegongs, have mastered a skill called buccal breathing. These sharks suck water into their mouths and then push it out through their gills, allowing them to get oxygen while stationary. Sharks that are capable of buccal breathing spend lots of time lying motionless on the ocean floor.
Other sharks solve their breathing problem by swimming into areas that have strong currents. They let the motion of the water itself move it through their gills, remaining (mostly) stationary. This behavior is especially common in reef sharks in the Caribbean and great whites on the South African coast.

3) Sharks Live Only In The Ocean

The world’s oceans are home to 400 different species of shark. At least two of them, though, can survive in brackish tidewaters and even freshwater rivers. One of these is the rare Byzant river shark or spear tooth shark, which can be found in coastal waters and rivers in New Guinea and northern Australia. The other freshwater-capable shark species is the bull shark, found all over the world. The bull shark, like all fish, is capable of osmoregulation, keeping the concentration of water in its body constant. What sets the bull shark apart is its ability to adapt its osmoregulation to account for the salinity of the water around it. This allows it to thrive in river mouths and even swim upstream into freshwater.

In reality, sharks are hardly the deadly hunters they are portrayed as in the media. Sharks are fascinating sea creatures with complex and curious biologies. Learn more about sharks and help educate your non-diving friends by dispelling the misconceptions discussed above. We hope that this post can help you to something more about shark behavior.

young shark

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