Scuba Diver Takes Breathtaking Photos Of Underwater Caves Worshipped By The Mayans
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A photographer has captured incredible shots of underwater caves that were celebrated and worshipped by the Mayans thousands of years ago.
Martin Broen, from New York, donned his scuba gear and took a dip into the Cenotes at the Rivera Maya in Mexico - the world's longest underwater cave systems.
He dived into more than 60 different caves between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and says it was like floating through a different planet.
The natural swimming holes were formed when the porous limestone bedrock collapsed, leaving behind the beautiful groundwater pools.
The 'sacred wells' were celebrated by the Mayans and are even thought to have been used as a place for human sacrifice.
Broen, 50, said: "For many years I have been trying to capture the beauty and differences of the Cenotes and underwater cave systems. They can offer divers a unique set of surreal experiences which are closer to space exploration or traveling back in time."
He added: "The caves took millions of years to form during the ice ages when the caves were dry, and then got preserved in time when the sea level rose and the caves got flooded.
"Preserving incredible formations as well as fossils of the first humans of the region and megafauna which are extinct.
"The water in the caves gets filtered through the rocks and therefore is crystal clear, so gives a complete feeling of flying inside those alien-like spaces, closer to exploring a different planet."
Broen says it's the caves' history and the science behind how they were formed that makes them so fascinating.
He said: "The light of the sun at the entrance or the one from your lights deep inside the cave may get modified by tannic acid that accumulates from the rainfall producing strange green and red like tones, or seeing super defined haloclines dividing the layers of fresh and salty waters, creating visual effects which are not common on the surface and make you feel inside a science fiction movie.
"There are truly unique and magical environments which are just below our feet, which are little known and not as appreciated."
But getting such amazing shots isn't easy due to the low light levels and additional struggles of being underwater.
"There is no light besides the one you bring with you," he explained.
"So you are pushing the sensor and optical limits of your camera at every shoot, shooting at very low speed while holding your breath, while maintaining your buoyancy and being sure you don't damage any formation, and you are doing that while in control of your redundant scuba gear as you may be minutes or even hours away from the closest exits to surface."
Featured Image Credit: Caters