More video journals will be added as they are produced
To the south of Playa de Carmen and extending again south of Tulum is one of the largest networks of submerged caves in the world. I have been coming to Tulum to train and cave dive since 2014. I am here this summer for seven weeks with the intention of diving as much cave as possible.
I have rented an apartment in the Solidaridad–a neighborhood a few blocks on the north of the main section of Tulum and rented a car.
In order to cave dive in Tulum I need tanks, gases, and training all of which I have gotten from ProTec Tulum. ProTec has provided world class training and support for this endeavor.
I was cave certified back in 2010 in Florida but after diving there for a few years I saw a video on YouTube that showed footage of an advanced sidemount course taught by Patrick Widmann who is co-owner of ProTec and I came to Mexico to train with him. Working with Widmann transformed my cave diving skills to a new level but he also introduced me to the extensive cave networks of the Yucatan.
And so began a new journey for me: to learn the caves of Tulum and to become a master of the discipline in general. To master any discipline you must practice the sport and work hard to elevate your skills to the master level. This takes time, perseverance, and a long-term commitment to the activity.
Let me digress from cave diving to climbing for a minute. My background as a master climber came from about thirty-eight years of hard earned experience that started in the mountains of Wyoming when I was eleven and culminated with guiding for Exum Mountain Guides in the Tetons.
The world of SCUBA is different than climbing as there is a certification process that on the surface of it appears to define experience and competency of the card holder. I learned early on in my diving career that holding a card may not mean much about the experience level of the diver.
Which brings me back to the advanced sidemount course that I took with Widmann. The process of earning that certification took me about six months, two trips to Mexico, and somewhere close to one hundred training dives to accomplish. I need to preface this by saying that going into this course my skill level was poor–I couldn’t do a back kick as an example–my sidemount configuration was inadequate and I had cave habits that were of low standard relative to the expectations of ProTec.
From the point of view of a baby boomer I was one of Widmann’s oldest clients to take advanced sidemount. I published the full account of my struggles in an article called Seeking Transformation that can be found at Amazon.com.
Honestly, of the cards I’ve earned the advanced sidemount is the one that means the most to me because of the skill level that I had to demonstrate to earn it–no other card in my possession came even close to the expectations of this course. I should also say that in the process I came to respect the level of excellence that my mentors here in Mexico posses–Patrick Widmann, Kim Davidsson, Mauro Bordignon, and Bartek Ra–are all amazing teachers.
However, I need to emphasize that I only saw this certification as my starting point toward a new level of cave diving mastery–the mastery part is what I am earning now. Perhaps by the end of this trip I will have accomplished over one hundred non-training, non-guided, post-advanced sidemount, cave dives in the Yucatan–this is my goal.
As the founder of Boomer 100 I hope these stories of cave diving in Tulum will inspire other baby boomers to dream and to live those dreams! Just because we are older doesn’t mean we can’t have adventures! Enjoy the following video journal:
Diving Cenote Chikeen:
Diving Cenote Xulo (pronounced: chew low):
Diving from Cenote Xulo to Cenote Caterpillar and back:
Diving Cenote Don Lucio:
Don Lucio is a remote cenote located on the property of RanchoPax Chen. The owner, Don Lucio, is shown below:
Diving Cenote Escondido (Mayan Blue):
Diving Dos Pisos: For those interested in the creatures that live in total darkness there is footage of a blind cave fish in this video:
Diving Cenote Caterpillar to the Holy Sheet Tunnel:
Diving Cenote Chikeen: Traverse to the other entrance:
Diving Hatzutz Ha:
Diving from Cenote Bobcat to Holy Sheet Tunnel: