Noun: The act of exploring a cave
If you’ve never been spelunking, you’ve got to try it. It’s amazing! It’s a little bit scary, extremely exhilarating, and just a lot of fun.
Our spelunking adventure started very early in the morning. We were staying in Cozumel, Mexico and our guide was picking us up in Playa del Carmen so we had to take a taxi to the harbor and then catch a ferry to take us across the water. After we landed in Playa del Carmen, it was just a short walk to the place where we were picked up by our guide from Alltournative.
4×4 Through the Jungle
After a fairly short drive, we arrived in the jungle and had to abandon the van for a 4×4 that could take us through the jungle. It was a thrilling, bumpy ride through the forest. When we arrived at our destination, we quickly changed into our swimming suits in the dressing rooms and were ready for action.
We hiked up to the cenote while our guide filled us in on the amazing Mayan culture and the Mayan people who owned the area we were hiking through. I had thought the Mayan people had completely disappeared over the centuries so it was amazing to hear the stories and to know that many of our guides and the woman who would be making lunch were actual Mayans.
Once we got to the top of the cenote, a huge hole that we’d be rappelling into, the guides gave us a brief overview of how to hook into the ropes and lower yourself into the cave below. And then they asked who wanted to go. Everyone in the group was a little hesitant so Tye and I offered to go first. We weren’t too nervous, just excited.
We got hooked into the ropes and then rappelled 40 feet down into Yaxmuul. The ropes were pretty thick so we weren’t able to rappel very fast which made you really appreciate how far down you were going and the cave that you were dropping into. Yaxmuul is a natural underground pond with pristine water. The cave itself is beautiful with crazy rock formations.
As I got to the bottom of the rappel I slowed down to almost a stop. I hate the cold and was sure that the cave’s waters couldn’t be too warm, since they never saw the sun. I stretched my toe into the water and my fears were confirmed, the water was freezing!
But there wasn’t a lot that I could do. I couldn’t go back up so I kept going down, very slowly. Tye laughed at me as I cringed every step of the way into the icy waters. The water was up to Tye’s chest, which meant that it was up to my neck. The guide helped us unhook from the ropes and we swam to a shallower part of the cave.
Stalactites and Stalagmites
Once my body had gotten used to the icy water, I was able to appreciate the cave. And since we were the first people down, we had a lot of time to swim around and explore while the others completed their rappel. The guides had large lights down in the cave so that you could see a lot of the stalactites hanging from the cave ceiling. But there were other areas of the cave that weren’t lit and they were extremely dark. Tye and I could swim to the other side of a giant stalagmite and barely see each other. It was creepy but cool. (FYI: Stalactites are the icicle-shaped formations that hang from the ceiling and stalagmites are the upward-growing mounds that grow up from the floor. I had to look it up because I always forget so I thought I’d share some knowledge.)
After the entire group had made it into the cave we swam through the cold waters into the dark caverns in front of us. There were a few bats flying overhead so I had as much of my body in the water as I could with only my nose and eyes out in some parts when a bat dove in front of me. I knew that the bats weren’t going to hurt me, but I really didn’t want to touch one either.
We made it to the other side without getting touched by a bat and climbed out onto the dock. Tye and I stopped to take some pictures and admire the giant cave that we had just swam through. It truly was a beautiful, underground treasure.
Back To Reality
Reluctantly, we climbed the stairs out of the cave and back into the light. (It was really bright out there after being in the cave for so long.)
Going spelunking was an amazing adventure and one that I would repeat in a heartbeat (despite the icy water).