LOCATION: Tulum, Mexico
STORY: All across the world, freshwater flows through small cracks in the Earth’s crust forming springs which lead to rivers. The Spanish word for this is “cenote”, and perhaps nowhere on Earth are there a greater number of beautiful springs than the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. For centuries, Mayans have been using the cenotes as the lifeblood of their civilization, providing drinking water and an oasis in the middle of a sometimes arid region. Archaeologists have found evidence of dwellings far back in some of these underwater caves, indicating that throughout history, some have been dry caves, then filled with water again.
While I do enjoy the thrill of exploring deep inside a cave (which is mostly devoid of life, (but the geologic structures can be amazing), I often find the greatest beauty just at the mouth, where crystal clear water finally reaches the sun, and life blossoms in magnitudes that eclipse most other freshwater biomes. Here, just at the mouth, a bouquet of lily pads reaches for the sun, and creates a kaleidoscope of color, while tetras, turtles, and small catfish use the safety of this underwater forest as shelter from their larger predators.
Side note – while shooting this image, I had a young crocodile approach, but it was too far away for a meaningful photo. Every day is an adventure!
Spirit of the Yucatan is now available in the Limited Editions Collection, printed on aluminum or canvas, starting at 16×24, up to 200″ wide. Love lilies? Be sure to check out Radiant Bloom, and Lilies in the Sky With Diamonds.