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Considering moving forward with cave training in February, advice?

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by jlcnuke, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    917
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    Feel free to message me and let me know the shops you spoke to and I can tell you who’s giving you the business and who’s a good shop. A lot of shops in my just want to sell you s, gear and a course to add to your training. As said before, Nat Gibb is very good, but there are others as good if she’s not available. And I can tell you some to avoid.

    At least you’re learning now it’s not as easy as just calling and booking a class and going. Which is what a few of us were saying.
     
  2. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

    2,082
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    I normally hate agency bashing, but I don't have a choice here. I am sorry to tell you this, but I think you lack a fundamental understanding of the possibility that you may have never actually taken a true cavern course (in the historical sense) and that is the reason why many people won't accept a PADI cavern certification without some form of skills verification.

    With just about every agency except PADI, the path to become a cavern instructor involves:

    1. Become a full cave diver
    2. Log 100 post-full cave training dives
    3. Assist with at least one complete cavern course
    4. Get a recommendation from an instructor that you are ready to become a cavern instructor
    5. Go through an instructor examination and be examined teaching a cavern course

    However, with PADI, the path to become a cavern instructor involves:

    1. Become a full cave diver
    2. Log a total of 25 cave dives, your 16 training dives that you completed towards becoming a full cave diver count toward this number
    3. Pay PADI the instructor specialty upgrade fee

    Now I need to be clear on one thing, there are some very good PADI cavern instructors and you may have had a "real" cavern class, but there is also a chance that your instructor did not know what he did not know and as a result, the course curriculum you went through may have missed some important elements.

    Some agencies have solved this riddle by saying that Cavern is a recreational program that doesn't count towards cave training. I support that philosophy.
     
  3. Caveeagle

    Caveeagle Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: High Springs, FL
    1,550
    1,044
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    Good grief!

    There is NOOO WAY I would take a cavern class from an instructor with only 25 dives as a full cave diver. Holy crap!
     
  4. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

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    That's 25 total cave dives, the 16 they did to become a full cave diver count. That's 9 unsupervised cave dives.

    IMHO, the OP should view his cavern cert as a cavern experience program that gave him a taste of whether or not the overhead environment was for him.
     
    laikabear and karstdvr like this.
  5. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    56,541
    24,357
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    Skills vs certification.

    Anything you learn in a tech/cave course can be useful on the reefs. Not everything you learn on the reefs is useful in a cave. Everyone learns at a different pace. Everyone retains their proficiencies differently too. Many skills you can glean over a weekend with a competent instructor can be further developed locally. If you want the skills you have to commit the time. Certification will come on it's own.
     
  6. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    472
    317
    63
    Shops I was looking into were:
    UTJ (Nat recommended Vince as she was busy)
    Dive Cenotes Mexico
    Protec
    and Bluelife so far.
     
  7. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    472
    317
    63
    After some reflection, weighing the options, considering the advice of people in this thread and PMs (thank you all :)) etc, I've decided to hold off on getting the next set of training done. Instead I'll go to Cozumel for February's trip, hop over and do a couple days in the Cenotes with some guided cavern diving (checking out a couple different shops preferably) and mostly make this trip about fun. Next year I'm "supposed" to be doing a number of weeks traveling 4 days, which will hopefully get me some 3-day weekends that I may be able to schedule some training in Florida, as well as do my tec 40/45 classes locally in doubles.

    I'll get some more cavern dives in that way, get comfortable/experienced in doubles, and take the training slowly. Maybe do an intro-to-tech course in doubles to make sure I'm comfortable in them (outside of just the training in them I get in the tec 40/45 classes), before going into the intro to cave with someone in Florida's cave country. Then finish up the full cave course on another trip to Mexico.
     
    RayfromTX and MichaelMc like this.
  8. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
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    Don't let a time slot in your schedule determine your instructor. That means you have limited yourself to who ever is available, and like many things in life, there are good, and there are real bad. For cave diving, a sport where your training is your life support, you want the best training money can buy. People on forums will offer advice on instructors, but in reality people have very little ability to compare, because no one took full cave training from 5 different instructors and can compare. Take names and ask questions- you want someone who is very active and teaches a lot. Producing pretty videos on Youtube doesn't mean they are a good instructor, so do your homework,but best if you ask questions of others off forum. Good luck
     
    jlcnuke and Lorenzoid like this.
  9. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    917
    691
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    [QUOTE="karstdvr, post: 8855525, member: 42155" People on forums will offer advice on instructors, but in reality people have very little ability to compare, because no one took full cave training from 5 different instructors and can compare. Take names and ask questions- you want someone who is very active and teaches a lot. Producing pretty videos on Youtube doesn't mean they are a good instructor, so do your homework,but best if you ask questions of others off forum. Good luck[/QUOTE]

    Agree and disagree on some points. I hate the fact that some of the internet famous instructors ( I've dubbed them Kave Kardashians) have become so popular. Especially because they aren't always as good as the internet makes them look.
    I do disagree with the ability to compare. I can agree it's impossible to fully know an instructor until taking their full class, but I think it can be very easy for someone with experience to pick out some of the bad from the group. In my case, besides cave (using varying instructors) I also took OH sidemount, DPV, a rebreather course (with the understanding my main use would be cave diving), and very soon ccr cave crossover. From those classes I can tell who I believe is good and bad eventhough they weren't a full cave course. More importantly though, I spend enough time in cave country and in Mexico to see the same instructors over and over again. If I hear an instructor do or say something that I believe is sketchy once, I'll give the benefit of the doubt. But I have heard several instructors say some pretty scary stuff repetitively and can therefore make a pretty safe judgment. Like the one guy who has been heard a couple times saying "we all got our gas the same place and they always pump 32% so we don't all need to analyyze". Or the instructor who's students repeatedly are missing basic skills coming directly out of class. Then there are also the one-off issues that I see or hear about that make me not recommend an instructor. For example the big name florida instructor who was reprimanded several times by his mexican guide for repeatedly coming off of the line to take photos and then caused a big stink about it (yet the florida instructor preaches safety), or the instructor who doesn't put in jumps while scootering, or the instructor who didn't require his dpv class to put in the hill 400 jump since they all "know where the line is." So I can agree it's very difficult to filter out the noise about a good instructor on the internet, but I very much believe I can judge whether or not I would recommend and instructor without ever taking their full cave course.
    But I do understand the general point you were trying to make.
     
  10. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
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    I agree, I have seen many instructors teaching and have seen their students in the water, as well as debriefs. I have a fair judgement of who is really good. But, for the OP, of all the people who post on this and other threads, how does he know who provides credible information. I have seen multiple people in the past ask the same question, and they immediately got a response of, " I just took full cave from X, and they are a great instructor, and I highly recommend them", which makes me stand by what I say, getting comparisons inorder to sort out who is best is rare, since so few can compare.
     

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