Photography

This Beautiful Underwater Cavern Vista Was Taken Beneath a Jungle Sinkhole

A deep dive into a sinkhole found in the middle of a jungle captured by Mexico-based photographer Tom St George offers an enticing glimpse at what lies beneath.

The photos were taken in The Pit, a dive site in Tulum, Mexico with a maximum depth of 60m/200ft. Tom tells DigitalRev that the amazing underwater cavern view allows divers to experience sights with absolute unlimited visibility.

The shoot was planned in advance for a beautiful summer day around 11am, “we hung around for some time hoping for a gap in the guided tours, but it was getting close to the best time for the sun rays, so we went ahead and got into the water.” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as he was fortunate enough to capture stunning shots of his diving partner Julia descending into the sunbeam-filled abyss.

Tom took the images using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with an M.Zuiko ED 8mm f1.8 Fisheye Pro lens at f1.8, ISO 1000-1600, and 1/60 s. The entire kit was encased inside a Nauticam NA-EM5 waterproof housing with a 20mm mini-extension ring and Nauticam 4.33” dome port.

“The summer light beams streaming through the entrance was simply breathtaking. At 18m/60ft there is a halocline which is a boundary between the fresh water above and the salt water below. At 30m/100ft there is a layer of hydrogen sulfide, and poking out of this ‘cloud’ is a debris mound that looks like an island complete with it’s own tree.”

Tom’s most spectacular shot came as he saw a sidemount diver from another group heading towards the middle cavern, just above the halocline.

“I knew almost immediately that this was going to be the shot I came for.”

“I started framing some shots of the diver in the sunbeams. My breath caught in my throat as I could feel it was all coming together – the light streaming through the entrance, the diver ‘pinned’ by the sunbeams, with the fingers of light just reaching the island mound with its tree.”

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/Tom St George

Tom is a keen photographer and scuba diver who considers Sipidan & Mabul islands in Malaysia, and now, the cenotes of Mexico as his favourite underwater photography destinations. He next plans to visit the Sea of Cortez on the other side of Mexico, and hopes to photograph manatees by travelling to Ambergris Caye in Belize.

Avid divers can visit Tom’s Global Dive Guide app (available on iOS and Android) for details on some of the world’s best dive sites. For more wondrous underwater sights be sure to visit Tom’s website and Instagram here.

Images used with permission