Light & Water: A Love Story

Light & Water: A Love Story 3

By Tatiana Russo

I am sitting here in the middle of the tropical jungle of Mexico with my dive equipment, a silent partner of many adventures, resting close to me. The breezes move through the highest leaves of the trees and the butterflies play in puddles left as witnesses of the recent rain...

After arriving in Mexico a few years ago, my curiosity to see what lies beneath the great sheet of calcium carbonate called Quintana Roo inspired me to become a cave diver. With this, I would be able to enjoy the cenotes, the famous underground rivers that are very important to the region for a variety of reasons.

I really enjoyed diving in this new and different world; one where it seems an architect – that’s a bit ingenious and a bit insane – thought it would be fun to build the most extravagant formations ever seen…

Very quickly I discovered something that has become an incredible passion of mine, filling me with joy and satisfaction. It is an adventure with excellent results that has fascinated many before me.

Light & Water: A Love Story 1
There is a place in all cenotes - a sacred place that was very precious to the Maya - the entrance. This is the place in which the gods of the earth could speak with those who resided in the “underworld” - the very same sacred spot where freshwater can be found far from civilization.

This “moment” of transition between the heating force of the sun and the dark depths of the caves is truly magical, and I am now attempting to capture this intensity with my camera.

The Caribbean light filters through the trees of the jungle and reaches down to kiss the crystal clear surface of the cenotes; sometimes does so with violence; other times with poetry, creating incomparable light effects in the first few feet of water.

Some moments it seems as though the light and the water are embraced in a sensual dance, growing nearer then farther, depending upon powerful flames of the sun. They speak and play until the sun must continue its journey, temporarily abandoning the water, only to find it once again the next day when its rays enter the opening once again.

Light & Water: A Love Story 2
However, the water sometimes decides that it wants a bit of rest, and calls to the rain for help; and after a heavy downpour, the crystal clear surface of some cenotes transform - as if from magical art - into an emerald cloud that does not allow passage to even the strongest of the sun's rays. The result is an almost surreal effect for passing divers, as well as for me and my camera.

Everything looks softer - like lying in a cradle of cloud, and the trees that have fallen in the cenotes rest comfortably in this dreamy place.

Little by little the sun asks its forgiveness and the water dissolves its curtain. With a new brilliance and the transparency, the dance begins yet again, calling out to the leaves, the flowers, the fishes, and the lovers of nature…like me.