Weekly Photo Challenge – Illumination

Juan Carlos in the Cenote by Cathy Ulrich

Juan Carlos in the Cenote by Cathy Ulrich

For this week’s photo challenge, I chose a shot I took while diving in the Cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Peter and I did several guided cave dives with a certified Cave Diver – Juan Carlos seen in this photo. It was an amazing experience. This shot was taken during our surface interval between dives. We came up from the first dive called “Dream Gate” and dashed through the jungle, batting off mosquitoes to this small hole in the ground with the tip of a ladder emerging from the hole. Juan Carlos climbed down the ladder and as we’re continuing to bat mosquitoes who are winning at that point, I hear his voice coming up from the bottom of the ladder: “It’s okay. Come on down. You’ll really like it. Trust me!” So we did – and here’s what we saw…

These caves were the source of fresh water for the ancient Mayans. A huge underwater cave system that they viewed as the womb of Mother Earth. You can see roots of trees that have made their way from the roof of the cave into fresh water at the bottom as well as stalactites hanging from the top of the cave. This shot was my interpretation of “Illumination” because this beautiful place lies hidden in the dark until we turned the light on…

27 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Illumination

  1. What a magical photograph made more so becuase of the history that accompanied it. You truly inspire me with your photographs Cathy, this is something I may intergrate into my own website later. Although I will not be able to match your skill.

    Like

    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thank you, Athena. I love photography and I’m so grateful to have a place to share some of my favorites…a benefit of blogging that I hadn’t considered when I started the blog. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I always enjoy your perspective. Hope you have a great weekend.
      Hugs, Cathy

      Like

  2. Wow, gorgeous! You’re so adventurey! I made that word up just now just for you, in fact! 🙂

    Like

  3. Professions for PEACE says:

    What a wonderful interpretation of illumination, Cathy! Like you said, beautiful places lay in the darkness, hidden until we turn on the light. Absolutely lovely, and more color variations on the stalactites than I would have thought too! Thank you for sharing! Hugs, Gina 🙂

    Like

    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Gina,
      Thank you so much! Yes, the color variations were amazing. Peter and I were reliving the experience earlier today and he laughed about it, too! He said: “We probably wouldn’t have descended that rickety ladder if we weren’t trying to get away from the mosquitoes! And then Juan Carlos’ voice in the darkness (think reverbing in the bottom of the cave) “You’ll really like it!” Still makes me laugh. Have a great weekend, dear Gina.
      Love,
      Cathy

      Like

  4. Oh, this is so cool, Cathy. How lucky for you had this experience and could snap a photo. It’s gorgeous!

    Like

  5. Hey did you change you blog?! I like it. Change is always good.

    Like

  6. That’s incredible! I’ve always wanted to do something like this. Love your sense of adventure.

    Like

    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thank you, Jen. It was one of the most unique and exciting diving adventures I’ve ever done. One of these days I’ll post some photos of the caves where we were actually diving.

      Like

  7. Another super cool shot in a super cool place, Cathy. The tree roots look wild and when I looked at your shot before reading the text I did wonder, “Are those trees?” Off-the-wall question: do you recall what it smelled like in there?

    Like

    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Actually, it’s a very interesting question, V. I think one would expect it to smell extremely musty or moldy in there, but it didn’t. Just, kindof fresh – maybe a little bit of a “mushroom” smell from decaying plant matter, but it was a fairly large cavern and the water is very clear and fresh.

      From what I’ve read about the Cenotes, the water is like an underground river that flows through the Yucatan, so it’s not stagnant at all. What is fascinating is there are places in the caves, especially the ones closer to the coast where salt water meets the fresh water – called Heloclines. We went through an area on one of the dives where this occurred and the water became very fuzzy looking (through our masks, of course). Juan Carlos had warned us that this might happen so when we swam through it, I remember how cool that was.

      Like

  8. Bruce Ruston says:

    Really enjoyed this Photo

    Like

  9. That is STUNNING! What an interesting and varied life you lead!!

    Like

  10. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Thanks, Denise! It was an amazing experience!

    Like

  11. SocietyRed says:

    Cathy,
    This could be the most amazing photo I’ve ever seen. I am putting this on my list of places to go. Thank you!
    Red

    Like

    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thanks, Red! It is a remarkable place. This Cenote was way back in the jungle – Juan Carlos took us in a truck for several miles on dirt roads to get to the opening of the caves for the scuba dives. But there are many beautiful Cenotes closer to the coast. You can either scuba or snorkel and the group that employed Juan Carlos was called “Hidden Worlds.” They’re just south of Akumal, Mexico. This really was the most memorable dive experience I’ve ever had.
      Cathy

      Like

  12. vyvacious says:

    Beautiful picture and I absolutely loved your description as well 🙂

    Like

  13. […] Weekly Photo Challenge – Illumination (largeself.com) […]

    Like

Feel free to leave a comment, you know you want to...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s