Navigation error in a cave

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kensuf

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Does "blind jump" mean what I think it means ?

Leaving, a known line, and guessing there may be another one....

* shudders *

It's leaving a known line, jumping onto another line, but not running a continuous connection between the two. The problem with this is that if you needed to back track the way you came, it's possible you can't find the right path home because you do not have a continuous guideline to where you came from.

Doing things like this is pretty much a violation of the #1 direct cause of fatalities in underwater caves (lack of training/experience is an indirect cause).
 
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Hiszpan

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Thank you all for your input and suggestions, it is reassuring one has virtual buddies that actually care.

Your suggestions go along the lines of what I thought. I did have a gloves-off discussion with my buddies about that dive, where I echoed what most of you said. We have not dived together as three since, mainly due to my time constraints. They both went on two dives since but that is about it.

I do realize changing buddies is the best option, but unfortunately, three of us are the only active cave divers within the 900 nautical miles. What follows, is that I either dive with them or not dive at all (I am not certified for solo cave dives.) Therefore I need to apply the changes you have all identified to our future dives and assess if there is a change in attitude. I do believe people can improve.

As a side note, I think did identify another contributing factor - my buddies leave arrows at the Ts (and when canceling permanent arrows on the mainline.) I always use a cookie. Getting to that T with a wrong turn, because I was not paying enough attention, I did not notice that the arrow left was not a permanent arrow, but my buddies'. Had it been a cookie, it might have drawn my attention to the T and which way they went (I might not have actually seen this was a T at all - it was not discussed during our dive briefing and looking at the video, the line going straight was not even seen from my GoPro's vantage point, which is higher than my eyes).

All in all, I am very fortunate but also grateful this episode has happened. It prompted me to rethink my diving and make plans for changes to my attitude and assertiveness.
 

Manatee Diver

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As a side note, I think did identify another contributing factor - my buddies leave arrows at the Ts (and when canceling permanent arrows on the mainline.) I always use a cookie. Getting to that T with a wrong turn, because I was not paying enough attention, I did not notice that the arrow left was not a permanent arrow, but my buddies'. Had it been a cookie, it might have drawn my attention to the T and which way they went (I might not have actually seen this was a T at all - it was not discussed during our dive briefing and looking at the video, the line going straight was not even seen from my GoPro's vantage point, which is higher than my eyes).

The way I was trained is that you never drop an arrow that disagrees with permanent markers. That is what cookies and REMs are for.
 

rjack321

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not quite. It means when you make a jump from one line to another without connecting the two lines. It's not blind when you make it, but it may well be blind if the cave gets silted out when you're coming out.
Not just a silt out.

If you jump from the end of a line into another line which is crossing in front of you left to right, you may not be able to see the end of the line you arrived on if its behind a rock or you just don't happen to look to the side at the correct time. Basically during your return you end up swimming down the wrong line instead of jumping back to the end of the line you came in on. In this case, according to the diagram, you'd still get back to the exit after doing an unverified circuit. That isn't always the case though.
 

rjack321

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Thank you all for your input and suggestions, it is reassuring one has virtual buddies that actually care.

Your suggestions go along the lines of what I thought. I did have a gloves-off discussion with my buddies about that dive, where I echoed what most of you said. We have not dived together as three since, mainly due to my time constraints. They both went on two dives since but that is about it.

I do realize changing buddies is the best option, but unfortunately, three of us are the only active cave divers within the 900 nautical miles. What follows, is that I either dive with them or not dive at all (I am not certified for solo cave dives.) Therefore I need to apply the changes you have all identified to our future dives and assess if there is a change in attitude. I do believe people can improve.

As a side note, I think did identify another contributing factor - my buddies leave arrows at the Ts (and when canceling permanent arrows on the mainline.) I always use a cookie. Getting to that T with a wrong turn, because I was not paying enough attention, I did not notice that the arrow left was not a permanent arrow, but my buddies'. Had it been a cookie, it might have drawn my attention to the T and which way they went (I might not have actually seen this was a T at all - it was not discussed during our dive briefing and looking at the video, the line going straight was not even seen from my GoPro's vantage point, which is higher than my eyes).

All in all, I am very fortunate but also grateful this episode has happened. It prompted me to rethink my diving and make plans for changes to my attitude and assertiveness.
Are there any cave instructors on Bermuda? Your buddies desperately need a refresher cave course.
 

kensuf

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The way I was trained is that you never drop an arrow that disagrees with permanent markers. That is what cookies and REMs are for.

Back before cookies existed, it was common to use arrows and clothespins to cancel markers or mark t's. I was taught this by my cave instructor back in '95.

Obviously, opinions have changed drastically but as recently as 5 years ago there were one or two instructors that still taught this. It's quite possible OP's buddies were taught cave diving years ago.
 

tbone1004

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Back before cookies existed, it was common to use arrows and clothespins to cancel markers or mark t's. I was taught this by my cave instructor back in '95.

Obviously, opinions have changed drastically but as recently as 5 years ago there were one or two instructors that still taught this. It's quite possible OP's buddies were taught cave diving years ago.
Scares me when I still see instructors teaching that. I don't even carry any arrows anymore, giant stack of cookies and a pair of REM's for lost line.
 

Manatee Diver

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Scares me when I still see instructors teaching that. I don't even carry any arrows anymore, giant stack of cookies and a pair of REM's for lost line.

I carry a single arrow for a lost buddy. But beyond that a stack of cookies and a few REMs.
 

306dive306

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3 of us went diving in a cave. Only 1 of us has been there before (numerous times) and that was not me. We were all on OC.

What went wrong:

1) I was the 3rd diver. At the first T, I took the wrong turn and went on a different line than my two buddies ahead of me.
2) I have followed the wrong line until it finished with a blind jump to another line. I saw my buddies' lights at the far end of the blind jump line and, knowing they are far ahead and being mad thinking they were on my line and did a blind jump and are not waiting for me, I decided to blind jump on it to catch them up without losing precious time.
3) The blind jump line finished with another blind jump to get to the mainline where my buddies recently were seen and where they left canceling arrows (as there was another exit closer to that point than the entrance we came from).

Contributing factors:

1) I took my new video lights and 2 cameras: GoPro on a helmet and DJI on my hand to film. This was supposed to be an easy recon dive after many years of not being in that cave.
2) We built a lot of distance between us as the 2nd diver and myself took oxy tanks to drop them off on the mainline just after the entrance, at 6m, just in case we need them for deco. Took me long enough for diver number 2 to pedal ahead following diver 1 who was not leaving the oxy tank.
3) At the T my buddies did not wait for me to confirm the exit direction before proceeding (as I was taught). I only saw their lights flashing for a second when I got to the T and being preoccupied with a camera on my hand I took the line which I thought best represents the direction they followed.
4) On previous dives it happened that the buddies went much ahead of me and did not wait. This time they lost me for a good few minutes and did not realize I am not behind them until I caught up with them.
5) On previous dives diver number 1 who is the most experienced of all in terms of dives and diving caves here sometimes suggested the plan to do a blind jump on small gaps that we previously traveled to on a dive. I objected each time and we never did it, but this made me believe he was capable of doing a blind jump on this dive and I was convinced I am on the same line they have just traveled (until we surfaced and debriefed - a lot of arguing happened then.)
6) I hit my head of the stalactite before the dive when carrying tanks to the cave opening. I took nothing of it but my head hurt for a few days after the dive which means I must have affected my thinking at the dive without me realizing it (too much excitement of going cave diving!)

Lessons:

1) Do not take camera/video lights on your first time in a new cave, no matter how benign the dive is planned.
2) Do not ever suggest doing blind jumps to your buddies as it might make them think you actually did it and confuse them.
3) Do wait at the T's for other buddies behind you to confirm exit direction - this will make sure they turn to the correct line.
4) Do check behind at your buddies and wait if you lost their lights. Do a lost diver drill when you realize you lost a buddy.
5) Do not dive with buddies who do not adhere to points 2,3 and 4?
6) Training is for a reason.

The good thing about having had cameras is that I have recorded the whole thing. I am also attaching a map that I drew for better reference of the videos.

Helmet camera from before the oxygen tank to getting back to the mainline.

Hand camera of turning onto the wrong line at the T

Blind jumping on the blind jump line with buddies' lights flashing in the distance.
My takeaways:

1) you took the wrong turn at the T either because: a) your team did not use personal cookies at Ts or b) because the team used it and even though you did not see the cookies on that specific T you took the turn anyways.

2) you did a blind jump because you chose to do so. I am confident your instructor taught you correctly during your full cave course but you chose to violate the rule that states "always maintain a continuous guideline to the surface."

3) you chose to do a second blind jump because you chose to violate the rule once again.

4) I will never accept the "camera excuse" because inanimate objects are not responsible for bad choices and bad outcomes. Unless we're talking about a cave colapsing all around you.

5) diver #1 did not wait for diver #2 and diver #3 to stage their deco bottles and just bolted. That should have been red flag #1. Diver #2 and diver #3 should have addressed that right away.

6) diver #1 and #2 did not wait for you at the T ==> red flag #2.

7) diver #1 suggested doing blind jumps. I would have told him "I refuse to dive with you" right away. I don't play this crap game.

8) hitting your head on a stalactite is no excuse for the bad choices you made in this specific scenario you described.

9) take cameras anytime you want in any dive you want. Cameras are not excuses for bad choices. If a person is easily distracted by cameras, such person should not be cave diving. I truly believe that cave diving is feasible for anyone who strives to make it feasible but if someone cannot focus constantly and respect every single rule, every single moment of the dive, then they are "Dead Man Diving."

10) All of us have done (or should have done) blind exits from the furthest point of the dive during full cave training. What is the excuse for not being able to do one in "real life?"

11) If your group left you behind, then you were diving solo. Why did you choose to not use guidelines and markers to make your exit safer? Why did you make the choices you made?



==> Never forget Mother Nature's Rule #2: "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes."
 

DanBMW

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Not a cave diver here so I don't know what the accepted rules are as far as a camera, but in skydiving, cameras have been the contributing factor in new skydivers deaths. So many that it's now pretty much a rule that you must have at least 100 hundred jumps before it's ok to video jumps.
 
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