Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM)
It is a real privilege to be allowed to visit
such a sacred site. The caving is level 2, there is a swim to
get in and some climbing, but no real squeezes. There is a funny
bit when you have to get your head and neck in the right place,
but nothing technical. The ATM is just amazing, stunning and was
one of the best ever days out.
Caroline then gained a new nickname. Our tour guide had disappeared and we were just walking along the path when Caroline stepped over a baby Fer-De-Lance, which then wriggled back and started coiling up, Caroline reacted with fast side steps and after the rattlesnake encounters in US, is now ‘Dances with Snakes’. Caroline was saying it was just a baby to be informed they are the worst because they do not know how to control the amount of venom so give you it all.
The Mayans centuries ago deliberately picked caves with a high concentration of dangerous snakes as an additional protection; we didn’t find this out until afterwards.
the BBC Travel site ‘The place of fright
Xibalba, which translates as “the place of fright”, was home to the most feared Maya deities, the Lord of Death and his evil attendants – ghoulish specialists in disease, starvation, pain, blood-spilling, gut-wrenching and skeleton-transforming. It was here that wayward souls would be confronted with terrifying tests of courage and acumen, including a river of poisonous scorpions, a house of killer jaguars and a game played with balls made of rotating blades.
The demon gods of the underworld were eventually outwitted, though not entirely defeated, by the wily protagonists of Maya mythology, the Hero Twins, who overcame Xibalba’s deadly obstacles and avenged their father’s death. Even though the menacing powers of Xibalba were diminished, the Maya continued to offer sacrifices to appease the gods, and for a while, the Maya civilization thrived.’