Navigation error in a cave

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kensuf

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This here, how can training agencies and instructors reconcile those two completely different approaches? It is then left to us mere divers to try and work it out so that we can dive safely together. It shouldnt be my job to convince diver #1 much more experienced than me who was taught „arrows” that this is not the way - he wont listen as I am younger and less experienced. Diver #2 was trained more recently but does „arrows” too - he was trained in same area as me, but with a different centre - how is this possible to have two drastically different curricula within the same instructors’ community?

I was not explained during my training why cookies and not arrows, but my argument to buddies #1 and #2 was that it is quicker and easier to recognize a cookie rather than notched arrow in an out of viz stressfull situation. Manatee Diver gave me another argument, as theoretically when marking a T with an arrow you can place your arrow pointing to other than nearest exit permanent arrows in the vicinity.

So.. The reason we don't use arrows anymore is because most cave instructors emphatically believe that the rules of using an arrow are that it should ONLY point to the closest exit, period, and there may be times that installing an arrow goes against that rule. Unfortunately, there was at least one situation that I know of where an arrow pointing the wrong way led to a fatality -- it took that fatality to get instructors to re-think using arrows for navigational markers. Again, unfortunately most of the procedures we have in place have gotten there due to fatalities, things we do today may very well change at some future point if a fatality shows the weakness in that approach.

In terms of training agencies and instructors reconciling different approaches... I don't have a good answer for you except that many agencies deliberately leave navigation vague because there may be local customs and rules that "work" for that location that would differ from another. Also, remember, if someone was trained in 1999, before the advent of cookies, they may not know better - how do you get divers to update?

You might suggest to your friends that an alternative is to use arrows only as permanent markers to point to the closest exit, but then adopt REMs. I'm personally not a fan of REMs, but it may make them more comfortable because it's like an arrow.

Final BTW.. If I ever wind up in Bermuda for a visit, wanna take me diving? I'd be happy to trade out some updated techniques with your friends.
 

Manatee Diver

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I'm personally not a fan of REMs

I am curious why you don't like REMs. Any chance you would be willing to elaborate?
 

kensuf

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It comes down to this: how many types of markers do you need? There's not a single thing I've found that I need a REM for that I can't accomplish with cookies.
 

rddvet

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OP: good on you for being brave enough to post and open yourself to criticism. My wife and I had a scary issue in a new cave in France, and it affects every dive we do in a positive way. We learned from our mistake and made sure that we are even more cautious than we were before the incident. My wife wrote me a note in her wetnotes when we thought we were lost that just said "R we going the wrong way?". Her handwriting shows how freaked out she was. It's in a frame above my fill station so we never forget.

As for your situation, you were all wrong on many things. Personally it sounds as if you're diving philosophy and your buddies' don't line up. That makes you a liability to each other. I would find new buddies (or dive solo but that is exceptionally controversial and I'm not condoning it per se, but I've been in more dangerous situations with a buddy than I have alone). You made alot of mistakes that could have made your situation spiral even more out of control and you've acknowledged it. The fact that your buddies got that far ahead of you without knowing it is scary. They obviously have zero situational awareness. There's time I may be a little further than my buddy than one of us think is ideal, but to completely separate for an extended period is just pure bad situation awareness.
Either ensure you and your buddies fully learned from this and will promise each other to never allow it to happen again, or write them off of your buddies list. I have a few people I won't dive with, simply because they're clueless or dangerous in other ways.
Also, NEVER EVER do a blind jump. I know many excellent divers that I won't dive with simply because they think "easy" blind jumps are OK and don't respect that I disagree. I have an absolute, won't even consider it, no blind jumps policy. The closest I will do to a blind jump is put in the jump from the end of a jump I know very well to the gold line, ensure the entire team is on the gold line and in agreeance we're going the right direction, then pull the jump and exit. Even that makes me exceptionally uncomfortable and I rarely do it. It's a slippery slope.
 

rddvet

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It comes down to this: how many types of markers do you need? There's not a single thing I've found that I need a REM for that I can't accomplish with cookies.
I feel the opposite. There's not a single thing I can accomplish with a cookie that I can't with a REM. But in my head a REM is exactly the same as a cookie. Not everyone feels that way.
For me the biggest benefit of the REM is I always place it facing the exact same way (flat part with no holes facing the direction I came from). I don't really care that it can give me a reference of direction. I like that it makes me stop and think about the jump or marking I'm doing by slowing me down to ensure I put the REM the right way. Unless of course you're watching me and then I just let my REM holder disintegrate and spew REMS into the cave.
 

cerich

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It comes down to this: how many types of markers do you need? There's not a single thing I've found that I need a REM for that I can't accomplish with cookies.
agree
 

tbone1004

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It comes down to this: how many types of markers do you need? There's not a single thing I've found that I need a REM for that I can't accomplish with cookies.
So I'm kind of with you, but also with @rddvet on this one though I don't currently use REM's largely because I have a pile of cookies that were given to me and couldn't be bothered to replace them...

I think getting down to a single type of marker is ideal though and for me the REM has two main appeals.
First one is it means I don't have to carry an arrow anymore, and I carry a single one for lost line/buddy. Switching fully over to REM's would obviously eliminate the need to carry 2 types of markers in this scenario.
Second is the complicated one. If you believe in attendance markers and are going on unmarked jumps, you would typically have to drop a pair of cookies and tie into the far cookie. This has you at a firm tie in point as well as marks your attendance on the jump/direction of exit. If you don't believe in attendance markers, you can get away with a single marker that points towards your exit.

I'm obviously not terribly passionate about it as I carry an arrow in the outer zip pocket of my suits * @cerich what is the actual point of that outer zipper on those thigh pockets anyway? *, and use cookies for everything, but if a buddy came in with all REM's and no cookies or arrows I wouldn't feel terribly passionate about it.
 

Compressor

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I am not a cave diver but am reading this thread with great interest. For those like me I enclosed a few pics I got from the web (TDI) that I'll put here for us.

Reading the posts sends chills down my spine. For non-cave divers: You must be cave trained to enter a cave.
Cookie_Clothespin.jpg

A non-directional marker. A cookie; no you can't eat it.
REM.jpg

A REM: aka: Referencing Exit Marker
Line_Arrow.jpg


A directional marker.
 

kensuf

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I feel the opposite. There's not a single thing I can accomplish with a cookie that I can't with a REM. But in my head a REM is exactly the same as a cookie. Not everyone feels that way.
For me the biggest benefit of the REM is I always place it facing the exact same way (flat part with no holes facing the direction I came from). I don't really care that it can give me a reference of direction. I like that it makes me stop and think about the jump or marking I'm doing by slowing me down to ensure I put the REM the right way. Unless of course you're watching me and then I just let my REM holder disintegrate and spew REMS into the cave.

LOL'ing about the last sentence.

Two years ago I nearly threw all of my cookies out and switched exclusively to REMs. I see no problems with that, my beef is people wanting to use both rems and cookies. Pick one and be done with it.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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