Caleta Tankah



I did not sleep much last night. I wrote field notes until 1 am. I decided to open my window to let in a hopefully cool night breeze instead of using money on my AC. There was a lot of noise on the street from people celebrating El Grito, the national liberation day. Around 7 am a marching band started playing trumpets in the park right next to my apartment.

I wrote a few notes in bed. Then I got up, ate a papaya-banana-coconut-chia-pudding and drank a cup of iced coffee. I had arranged to go to a cenote with a friend of mine. I had a hard time crossing the road. School children in uniforms had begun a march from the park towards the town center. They were accompanied my musicians and policemen on horses. Parents were watching from the sides of the road.

He was late as well, but we met on the way. We biked to Caleta Tankah a few kilometers out of town. When we came to the entrance of the cenote by the highway the guard had abandoned his post. We road shortly on a dusty road before we arrived at an empty parking lot in front of a big, white building on the beach. We chained our bikes together and walked onto the beach. We took of our sandals to feel the sand underneath our feet. We found the guard and payed him a hundred pesos each. He asked his we wanted a tanning bed, and he promised to bring us one. It took him half an hour, but meanwhile we enjoyed the view.

The beach was Sargasso free, only two hotels could be seen, and the water was azure. It seemed as we had jumped into another time dimension. A time when the land only was about to be explored by tourists. Looking towards Tulum, the beach was naked. No people, no hotels, no restaurants. Only water, beach and palm trees. We were the only ones there, besides from a handful of workers. Incredible, when you think of how the beach of Tulum is plastered with hotels.

The reason why the beach was clean here, was that a current from an underground river exited in the bay in front of us.

I was a bit hesitant to go in the water of la caleta (bay), because the current looked strong. But standing in front of a beautiful phenomenon, who can resist? As soon as my head was underneath the water I forgot about the waves. A new word revealed its beauty for my eyes, and the soft touch of water cooled down my hot skin. Interesting rock formations, holes, and fish with black and yellow stripes surrounded my floating body. Only one time did I struggle a bit to beat the current. It was when I went to the rock that hid the exit point of the Subterranean River.

Due to the river the water temperature varied according to where we went. I sat down on a rock for a while and enjoyed the peace, relatively unspoiled nature, the sun, and the water against my legs. On the beach, a few people had arrived to relax. Mexicans and foreigners alike.

We chilled some more on the tanning bed. I got in a talk with a little girl. She was off from school today because of the holiday. She told me that she was sad because her dad never was at home. He worked in Cancun, and he only came home to relax on weekends. The girl lived with her mom, who worked at a hotel in Tulum. When she told me about her dad she looked down in the sand. Her eyes, however, lit up when she told me about the baby turtles she had seen on the beach the other day, and when she told me about her love for swimming in the water.

My friend and I walked barefooted to the cenote. On the way we passed a small cenote, which could not be entered. We went on a path into a bit of jungle. As when the curtain is drawn in the theater, the trees created an opening for a scene created to satisfy the senses. Firstly, an incredible sight met my eyes. A circular hole filled with crystal clear water. Standing on the ground above the cenote, I could clearly see the rocks on the bottom. Reflections from the trees shone in the rays of sun that reached the water. The touch of the water was chilly, but not too cold. In parts of the cenote streams of warm water surprised my body. The rocks were slippery and rough-edged. Nature had adorned them with a fine layer of plants. My mouth and nose were enriched with a refill of fresh air. We had the place for ourselves. It was silent. It was magic. It was like arriving in Paradise. The only thing missing was a couple of animals that drank water from the cenote. I loved the naturalness of the place. The only thing that seemed man made was the dusty path. There was not even a platform or a couple of stairs you could use to enter the water. It is hard to get closer to pure nature nowadays. From above, the water seemed shallow, but when I got in the water and looked down, I found out it was deep. Along the edges of the cenote, the roots of the trees created an underwater forest. Shoals of fish paraded between the branches and through the holes in the rocks. Two or three purple colored fish took a break right in front of my nose. Above the water, a yellow bird rested in a tree.

This is the kind of place that captures my heart. I am not into crowed places that are manipulated to attract people. Though the cenote was small, it was filled with impressions. I know that by revealing its appeal to me online, I run the risk that its appeal might vanish. Nevertheless I hope that we can stand together in maintaining the area clean, silent, and natural.

A walk in heaven



 lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

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