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Mayan Treasures Hidden in Cenotes

This new discovery a sink hole that came about just at the time of the earthquake has many people associating a sink hole to a “cenote”. A “cenote” is a depression in the ground communicating with a subterranean passage (especially in limestone) and formed by collapse of a large cave or a large chamber in a cave. And did you know that we have many “cenotes” on Ambergris Caye? If this hole is on land it is called a cenote. If this hole is in the water, it is called a blue hole and it is generally believed that some cenotes are connected by underground caves to blue holes.

Twenty Five years ago can tell you of at least one belief about “cenotes” and it is that in the days of the Spanish conquest when the Spaniards were attempting to steal the gold and wealth of the Mayas, they preferred to cast their wealth into the “cenote” where the enemy could not get hold of it. Supposedly the Mayas retrieved their wealth after the enemy left, but it is also believed that some “cenotes” up north in the Basil Jones area might still be tombs to a lot of wealth. Now I offer no guarantee to you to go diving into these “cenotes”!

There are holes with fresh water all over the north. There are “cenotes” only a few inches wide and there are some that could swallow a truck. There is one where hunters have left a small cup for others to have a drink in the bush. There is another one that swallowed a tractor of an American oil drilling company sometime in the 1950’s.

Alan Forman and Ovidio Guerrero, two of San Pedro’s best and courageous divers of their time, dived with scuba tanks one of those cenotes to “See What They Could See” According to them there is very little you can see, is frightening and they never reached the bottom.

Sometime in the 1980’s the San Pedro Town Board conducted experiments on a “cenote” up in Basil Jones to see if it could be used as the source of potable water for the town. A water pump with two inch hoses kept pumping out water for three weeks non- stop. The water level only went down by about one inch, an indication that the source is large. However as the water was being pumped out for three weeks, the salinity content of the water rose, so the hope and prospect to use the “cenotes” as a water source was abandoned. By the way, it was the famous Pepe Garcia who engineered this experiment under the auspices of the San Pedro Town Board. I know because I was in the town board 25 years ago. Now what do you think? Could this new “cenotes” have a connection to underwater caves or a connection out to sea? Let’s go diving and experimenting. We might find the treasure. Or you might go and never return. I will ask Dorian’s Angels to go dive in one of them. Okay, we shall treasure your memory 25 years in the future.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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