Cave Training - No Nearby Caves

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halocline

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based on what? FL caves are not killing tourists. There are three categories of divers there: locals who dive without training, poorly trained locals and visitors, and highly experience locals doing really aggressive diving. Vacationers are not on the fatality list (#s 1 and 3) although they may be in the poorly trained and damaging caves, but most of the tourist lines are already pretty beat up and it can be hard to tell at this point given the numbers & traffic places like Ginnie and Peacock get.

Holding up cave diving as some sort of exalted magical thing is not really that helpful. Its just diving, all the skills you use in cave diving are things good divers do on (nearly) every dive, trim, buoyancy, not kicking the wall or reef, buddy communication

First of all, nobody is "holding up cave diving as some sort of exalted magical thing" but that is a nice bit of creative writing.:D

Second of all, you did see where I plainly said "That's just an opinion", right? Ok, then, it's my opinion, not stated as a fact, and it's based on my feelings about my personal comfort level with venturing into cave systems. You are, of course, welcome to have your own opinion on the matter.

Third of all (that's getting a bit awkward, speaking of writing style), I don't believe the fact that once-a-year cave divers are not dropping like flies is much of a defense for advocating it. My guess is that most of the people that finish a cave course, but can't get to caves for more than, say, one week trip per year, will not continue to cave dive for long. Or if they do, they're probably not going to be very good cave divers. The way I was taught, and my personal standards for my own cave diving dictate to me personally (just to make sure you don't think I'm telling you how to approach this issue) that in order to maintain those standards, I need to make 3 trips per year, about 40-50 dives/year, and not going more than 4-5 months between trips. With that frequency and level of practice, I feel like I can be a good solid dive buddy, in general and if a tough situation were to come up. And honestly, I don't think either of us is too thrilled about there being poorly trained or out-of-practice divers in the caves we dive in. It's bad for the caves, it's unpleasant to witness, and it's occasionally disastrous for cave divers.

I don't know what the scene (or diver level) is like in FL, but I'm pretty familiar with Mexico, having dove there for years. In MX we see lots of training, lots of guided dives, and mostly pretty good independent dive teams, with some spectacular exceptions. Maybe you've dove in both places and have a better idea of any differences in the general scene. Now that I live in the frozen northeast instead of TX, I suspect there are some road trips to central FL in the winter in my future, and I'll have a chance to see what it's like.
 

rjack321

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First of all, nobody is "holding up cave diving as some sort of exalted magical thing" but that is a nice bit of creative writing.:D

Second of all, you did see where I plainly said "That's just an opinion", right? Ok, then, it's my opinion, not stated as a fact, and it's based on my feelings about my personal comfort level with venturing into cave systems. You are, of course, welcome to have your own opinion on the matter.

Third of all (that's getting a bit awkward, speaking of writing style), I don't believe the fact that once-a-year cave divers are not dropping like flies is much of a defense for advocating it. My guess is that most of the people that finish a cave course, but can't get to caves for more than, say, one week trip per year, will not continue to cave dive for long. Or if they do, they're probably not going to be very good cave divers. The way I was taught, and my personal standards for my own cave diving dictate to me personally (just to make sure you don't think I'm telling you how to approach this issue) that in order to maintain those standards, I need to make 3 trips per year, about 40-50 dives/year, and not going more than 4-5 months between trips. With that frequency and level of practice, I feel like I can be a good solid dive buddy, in general and if a tough situation were to come up. And honestly, I don't think either of us is too thrilled about there being poorly trained or out-of-practice divers in the caves we dive in. It's bad for the caves, it's unpleasant to witness, and it's occasionally disastrous for cave divers.

I don't know what the scene (or diver level) is like in FL, but I'm pretty familiar with Mexico, having dove there for years. In MX we see lots of training, lots of guided dives, and mostly pretty good independent dive teams, with some spectacular exceptions. Maybe you've dove in both places and have a better idea of any differences in the general scene. Now that I live in the frozen northeast instead of TX, I suspect there are some road trips to central FL in the winter in my future, and I'll have a chance to see what it's like.
Your problem isnt the amount of diving, its that there's isnt anything local.

Some of us can dive weekly year round (or 5-6x a week for some) and its no big deal at all to only cave dive once a year on vacation.
 

lermontov

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[QUOTE="halocline, post: 9479218, member: 25737". My guess is that most of the people that finish a cave course, but can't get to caves for more than, say, one week trip per year, will not continue to cave dive for long. Or if they do, they're probably not going to be very good cave divers. The way I was taught, and my personal standards for my own cave diving dictate to me personally (just to make sure you don't think I'm telling you how to approach this issue) that in order to maintain those standards, I need to make 3 trips per year, about 40-50 dives/year, and not going more than 4-5 months between trips. With that frequency and level of practice, I feel like I can be a good solid dive buddy, in general and if a tough situation were to come up. And honestly, I don't think either of us is too thrilled about there being poorly trained or out-of-practice divers in the caves we dive in. It's bad for the caves, it's unpleasant to witness, and it's occasionally disastrous for cave divers.[/QUOTE]



everyone has a different 'norm' one divers warm ups are anothers pinnacle dives - where people get into trouble is when you are 'tuned in' to a dive site and everything is under control then they go away for 3 months and come back and try to pick up where they left off. It usually take a couple or three days to get to grips with it again -mentally
So if folks are happy to just enjoy a simple/easy cave dive then that acceptable is it not? as @rjack321 notes as long as your diving on a semi regular basis then skill levels will be current.

Many divers I know are type A's - want to push themselves and excel -others are just happy type B's
 

kensuf

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My perspective on this is that the once a year cave diver isn't really a risk / hazard as long as they understand that skills may be rusty and the wise thing is to start out with a few simple / easy work-up dives before tackling anything bigger. As Richard said, fundamental skills (buoyancy, trim, kicks, reel work, self and global awareness, etc) can be practiced anytime a person goes diving.

One thing not mentioned is the idea of hiring a local guide for the first few days of a cave diving trip, especially if someone hasn't been cave diving in awhile. A good guide will show you points of interest, help clean out the cob-webs, and will help with logistics. Plus, they may know things about current conditions and access to systems that may have changed since your last visit. Personally, even though I've been cave diving for awhile (and am a cave instructor muckety muck), I fully intend to hire a guide for most of the time I'll be there when I finally make it to Mexico to do some tourist cave diving.
 

Manatee Diver

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One thing not mentioned is the idea of hiring a local guide for the first few days of a cave diving trip, especially if someone hasn't been cave diving in awhile. A good guide will show you points of interest, help clean out the cob-webs, and will help with logistics. Plus, they may know things about current conditions and access to systems that may have changed since your last visit. Personally, even though I've been cave diving for awhile (and am a cave instructor muckety muck), I fully intend to hire a guide for most of the time I'll be there when I finally make it to Mexico to do some tourist cave diving.

Personally I think this is why the vacation cave diver is much more accepted in Mexico. As going on guided cave dives is much more normal there, than it is in Florida.

But even locals sometimes need to work up. Between work, a small medical issue, and picking up a new drysuit I've only done like a half a dozen cave dives this year. and haven't been cave diving since late June (hoping to change that in the next week or so). So when I get back to it in the next week or two, I will work my way up. In particular with my equipment changes I need to figure out how I am going to work up toward the slightly smaller stuff that I was starting to get into more.
 

RTodd

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M.....

Personally, even though I've been cave diving for awhile (and am a cave instructor muckety muck), I fully intend to hire a guide for most of the time I'll be there when I finally make it to Mexico to do some tourist cave diving.....

Mexico is counter-intuitive. The more experienced you are the more benefit you get from a good guide. The well travelled and more famous caves are relatively easy to dive yourself and are all pretty amazing. But, you are never going to see some of the better and more unique stuff if you don't have a guide that is actively exploring. Even if someone provides directions to the site and the general public can access it, a typical dive will involve dropping more than a dozen directional markers which isn't very practical without a guide or spending the whole trip diving one section of cave.
 

rjack321

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But even locals sometimes need to work up. Between work, a small medical issue, and picking up a new drysuit I've only done like a half a dozen cave dives this year. and haven't been cave diving since late June (hoping to change that in the next week or so). So when I get back to it in the next week or two, I will work my way up. In particular with my equipment changes I need to figure out how I am going to work up toward the slightly smaller stuff that I was starting to get into more.

I spent 2.5 months tweaking my razor rig to fit my sidewinder (CCR) with LP45s of BO. Removing every possibly extraneous bit mostly and getting the lead right. Adapting to using the ADV only for dil. Changing the SPG and orifice, shortening a couple hoses. This was all in local lakes. One lake site I never got below about 4ft deep (was shallower than I thought further out than I thought). Buoyancy was a b!tch there. Probably did 5 dives but none longer than 20mins. I didnt do any other diving in this time, was totally focused on getting myself squared away in this exact rig, suit, etc.

Also spent 4 months practicing my SRT (single rope technique) in a tree in my backyard - cause I don't have any significantly vertical dry caves anywhere near me. Had some offers from the grotto to help tweak that, but they were 3-4hrs drive from me in traffic so I didnt get a chance. Made multiple minor but turned out to be crucial changes in my footloops based mostly on youtube mentoring. Got annoyingly accustomed to pulling the slack rope through my chest croll since I had to buy a new (stiff!) 10mm rope just to practice with.

Came off the covid couch a couple weeks ago to do one of the bigger and more committing cave dives of my career. Sure the water was only 4C, 120m long, 8m deep, 3m vis going in, 20-50cm vis exiting - which doesn't sound too bad by itself. Except it was 285m down in a dry cave, and took 7 cavers to support 1 diver (me).
  • a full day+ for the grotto to rig the cave ahead of time,
  • 3 hours (going down) from the surface to get to the water on dive day,
  • an hour of me gearing up,
  • a 90min dive with survey,
  • 7 hours of vertical work for me to exit (going up)
  • 12 hours for the grotto to get my gear out over 2 days
Basically (just for me) a 14 hour day camp to camp. My point is, there is way more going on behind the scenes workup and prep wise on many dives than you might realize or is immediately obvious. In this example, none of it involved being in a cave at all.
 

Doc Harry

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I was in your situation. But I also didn't even have any dive shops nearby.

I built a dive center in my garage, with a gas mixing station. I did all of my own gear maintenance and fills.

I did a lot of diving and drills in my local reservoirs, where the water was cold and visibility was poor. It helped me to maintain my technical dive skills and cave skills (lost line drills, etc.).

In the end I gave up cave diving, but at least I can say that I was full cave certified and I was pretty good.
 

Germie

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4 hours by plane is not that bad. I have to drive 12 hours for the nearest caves. I can do some mines in 3.5-4 hours drive.
And even if you don't live near caves you can become cave instructor. Ok, I do cave diving a couple of times a year. Just back from cavediving in Bosnia, that was almost 2000km driving and around 26 hours driving.
 
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