My Fairy Castle

Fairy Castle

Fairy Castle

“At the end of the day, faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale might be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it’s not so important that it’s happy ever after, just that it’s happy right now.” Dr. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy

My fairy castle was a stalactite formation in the freshwater caves near Akumal, Mexico. This shot was taken during a guided scuba dive in the remote cave system called “Dream Gate” – an experience of a lifetime.

14 comments on “My Fairy Castle

  1. Human capacity for creating patterns- that man could sit on his dreadlocks!

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  2. It looks beautiful, Cathy. You have so many adventures. Good for you!

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  3. robincoyle says:

    That is under water? Wow.

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Yes, it was about 40 feet underwater in a freshwater cave. I decided to do a black and white instead of color for this one. We drove several miles inland to this opening in the Earth. Climbed down this ladder onto a wooden platform, donned our dive gear and went into the water and this is what we saw. It felt totally primeval…

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  4. Very intriguing shot that looks like a haunted underwater landscape to me. If I swam too close to it, it looks like a location that would come alive and swallow me whole. Good thing I don’t know how to swim.

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      It WAS like a haunted underwater landscape, V. And this particular location is unique and seldom visited by humans. And it was huge! There were so many of these kinds of vistas. Imagine an hour or so, of diving through these surreal cave formations with only a flashlight! We did see the occasional small tetra fish, but no other wildlife – very different than diving on the reefs in the ocean.

      Fortunately, we were with an extremely experienced and confidence-inspiring guide. Juan Carlos was amazing and I will be forever grateful for this chance to see and be in this amazing environment and also feel supported and safe. The good news was that these Cenotes do have lots of places where one could surface with fresh air if needed, although we didn’t have to do so. One thing I learned about cave diving is that our guide took two of everything as back-up. Two tanks, two lights, two regulators (the air pressure thingys). Also, these underwater caves were well mapped. What was interesting about following Juan Carlos, was that there were nylon lines everywhere – a path to follow to be sure we could get in and out safely.

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      • Creepy and cool Cathy. I’d probably hallucinate seeing faces down there, but Juan Carlos sounds like such an expert guide, he might say, “Oh, that was no hallucination. That was only Ed. He’s a harmless spirit. No need to worry about his yanking ya. He’s not the type to mess with anyone’s air supply.”

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      • Cathy Ulrich says:

        Yep, it was creepy and cool. It was tempting to hallucinate – actually, Peter had a bit of an anxiety attack at first – Juan Carlos signaled for us to come up to be sure he was okay. And then when Peter decided that all was alright, we did go back down after some conversation and convincing Juan Carlos. You’ve got the vibe, however, V. Ed or Eduardo was benign. This really was a dive opportunity that I’ll always remember. Cold spring water, intricate cave formations and truly a vibe that felt like the center of the Earth.

        Dreamgate was the second day of diving with Juan Carlos. We had spent the first day with him in a more populated area of the Cenotes and my sense was that he was the “real deal.” Otherwise we wouldn’t have ventured into the hinterlands and underwater scapes of the jungle with him. But, this experience was one of the most amazing of my life. It was Juan Carlos, me and Peter in this cave system with no one else. Yes, creepy, cool and totally unique.

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  5. Wow. I’m so happy that I can live vicariously through your blog! Will you be climbing Everest so I can tag along for that?? 🙂

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  6. Wow Cathy thats beautiful!

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