Photograph by @PaulNicklen
| After lowering gear all morning from the extreme heat of the Yucatan Peninsula into the depths of this cenote, my partner @CristinaMittermeier
takes a dip into the cool waters in this beautiful cavernous swimming hole. I had already framed up the skulls for a photo with the shafts of light and loved how this serendipitous and tender moment appeared connecting the surface world with the dark secrets of an eerie past. There are no above-ground rivers in the Yucatan and all the water runs through an underground maze of subterranean rivers. Occasionally, the ground breaks to reveal one of these waterways to form beautiful cenotes. Dozens of tourists swim here every day utterly unaware of the massive ancient Mayan burial site just below the surface. Ancient Maya believed that the rain god Chaak resided in caves and natural wells and that is where they buried the human sacrifices they made to call for rain.