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As an old retired cave diver, I have been following this discussion from afar. I would just like to interject one thought. I have seen comments regarding the need for antennas and criticisms that a full cave certified diver was in over his head in this forum. It seems to me that a lot of cave divers in the game want to believe that they are immune to spending the last minute or two of thier lives frantically scraping thier fingers against limestone while they suffocate. I find this disturbing, and please excuse an old fart for putting his 2 cents in. YOU ARE NOT IMMUNE! I recovered the body of my instuctor from a cave, and I feel that he was the best trained, and most conservative caver I have ever met (Sheck included). Accident analysis is a good thing. It has forged a solid knowledge base that has greatly decreased the risks of cave exploration. I am sometimes worried when I see the comments made in this forum whenever we have a loss in the cave diving community. There is always a rush of information/dissinformation, then a slow progression towards a general consensus that there must have been something that was done wrong. I do not mean to be cavalier when I say this, BUT, I always told my students, the training for risk free cave diving can be granted in one sentence. STAY OUT OF THE WATER. Please make sure you love this activity enough to accept the inevitable risks, as apposed to denying that they apply to you. I greatly value the memories I have of my years spent cave diving, and would never try to discourage a cave diver from experiencing the beauties and comraderies I have experienced. I just want to try and dispell the myth that the fatality of a cave diver is always the result of improper preparation of the diver. Every time you see the inside of a cave, you must aknowledge the fact you may not see the outside of the cave.
Last edited by diverdoug1; May 7th, 2012 at 06:20 AM.
Kevin, I also see your comments on this board as well measured, and hold your opinons in high regard. I have been giving your above post quite a bit of thought today. I have been pondering the hypothetical question....if you are persuing a certain "endpoint" in the pinacle of your cave diving career, is it safer to "go slow and be patient", or is it safer to "get in and get out". I look at Dave Shaw's rapid ascent to the lofty apex of cave divng and rebreather diving in less than 350 dives from the first time he strapped a tank of his back. He did the deepest true cave exploration ever done by man, and if he had done ONE LESS dive and quit, he would have "proven" that patience did not rule the day. The fact of the matter is, that Dave was never going to stop untill he had to stop, or he met his end. What defines a succesfull cave diving career? Not dying in a cave? Is it having the time of your life doing an activity that gives you a charge like no other? Is it acheiving the level of skill rquired to be a qualified cave diver, and after that , you become bored with the sport?
I guess the question I am positing is; for the divers that train to cave dive just to get the "feather in the cap", is it safer that they push through training, and then move along onto other pursuits in thier diving career? Or is it safer to proceed along the slow methodical pathway besuiting divers that truly love to dive in caves? I have certified cave divers that seem to only want the challenge of completing training. I have observed that this is not uncommon among divers seeking cave certification. I see it as very similar to student pilots, who after getting thier private pilots license, don't stay current and abandon aviation. There are people who seek out challenges, and then move on, without savoring the fruit of thier accomplishments. I have been wondering if "slow and steady" is the safest approach for this type of individual. Let them earn the merit badge and move on. I guess the challenge is differentiating which divers just want to meet that challenge, and which divers truly love the caves.
Moderator, this response has "flowed" in the direction of a natural discourse, and I fully realize that this post may not be a "propper" posting for the "A and I" forum. If it needs to be deleted, I understand, and did not mean to "hijack". I just thought that "A and I" thread might be an appropriate forum to include some "cause and effect".
Last edited by diverdoug1; May 8th, 2012 at 02:07 AM.
I have certified cave divers that seem to only want the challenge of completing training.
Yep, all my buddies from 2007/2008 no longer dive cave at all. Lots of them barely dive locally.
Your original premise, though, I find a bit useless. Its a question of risk assessment, and that's going to vary with everyone. I could get killed in a plane crash flying down to Mexico, I could get in a messy car accident on the roads there, I might get mugged by a bandito at one of the cenotes, or I could sit around at home and watch TV and eat pizza and never cave dive and die peacefully of complications due to diabetes and coronary heart disease... I choose to get in shape and cave dive, other people pick pizza, booze, TV... There's risks everywhere, and I feel like the risks are worth the rewards, and yeah, **** might go down inside the cave, and that would suck... So would getting pancaked in between two 18-wheelers on the highway...
(And really this probably needs to go into another thread, not this one).
Mr. Granquist, my original premise was in response to kevin's theory that patience is a great virtue in cave diving, and the question of a slow progression through the course of a cave diving career always being the safest. While you are correct in stating my queston addresses risk assessment, it is directed within the narrow confines of risk assesment with regard to the speed in which divers ascend through the challenges of a technical diving pathway. Although, your allusions to pizza and booze do make me hungry MDMA IS bad for you though!
Last edited by diverdoug1; May 8th, 2012 at 02:25 AM.
Different people do indeed have different motivations for getting into cave diving, and they should adopt their pacing according to their needs, IMO.
I didn't start any kind of tech diving until pretty late in my life, and coupling that with the fact that I don't live anywhere close to a cave, I assumed I would never even start the training. After a few years of tech training, I realized that it was actually possible. When I weighed all the factors, I decided that getting cave training would give me improved skills even if I never went into a cave again. I also realized that, amazingly enough, getting that training was not ridiculously more expensive than it had cost me to do recreational two tank dives in Hawai'i. So I took the plunge and loved it. Yes, I went all the way to full cave pretty quickly, being able to do so because of my previous tech training. I did not take a go slow approach, because I didn't have time for it.
So now I am an aging cave diver living in Colorado without the financial resources to spend months of every year on vacation in cave country. With only the ability to get in a relative handful of dives per year, I am aware that I will never be an elite cave diver. I will never really get beyond a relative beginning level of skill. I will never be anyone pushing the end of the line. I will never be a cave instructor. That's OK. I will dive as conservatively as is appropriate to me. I will seek out dive buddies who are OK with what I am. I have already done more than I once thought I would ever do in this arena, so I am content.
Well, I like to think my progression, and now that of my son is an earnest, sincere, diligent pace. We still have to wait a year and a half for him to turn 16 so we can take our cavern course. In the meantime, we continue to dive in caverns that people have claimed are "Open Water safe." I know, I know, most of us do not subscribe to that sort of thinking. Which is why I would not even let him enter into caverns until I knew he was able to do cave and cavern drills. Because I knew that oddly enough, his OW instructor chose Blue Grotto and Devils Den for his checkout dives... So I wanted to make doubly sure he would be safe. I've always dove these caverns, in fact "OW safe" caverns and black-water dives are all I know. My intent was always to go the legit route towards cavern, and cave, but I always held out, waiting for my son to be old enough to join me. I even waited to get him certified at 14 to make sure there were a few more years of maturity to him, before I strapped a tank on his back and called it good. Waiting for him I believe has served a dual purpose; it allowed me time to feel comfortable, to be ready to be his safety net. My son has shown a comfort in caverns and in the water in general that belies his age. His first time in a tight crawl in Devils Den, and his eyes were wide with amazement, and I knew that the cave bug had bit him like it bites the rest of us. But when he talks of caverns, there is a respect in his words, in his voice, that lets me know he is making the right choice for him. He misses the caverns when we are away, and yearns to return, even schemes up ways we can do a day trip or whatnot. So I know there is a love for them. And the discipline he is learning by having to wait for his cavern course is truly a virtue, and I remind him of the need for patience while cave diving, to never hurry the dive for the sake of hurrying it. But even as we drill in a darkened room, or in a pool, he knows what he is working towards, and it is a valued goal to him, and myself.
WE ARE THE CONCH. WE WILL ADD YOUR COLLECTIVE DIVE EDUCATION TO OUR OWN. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
I should much wish, like the Indian Vishna, to float about along an infinite ocean cradled in the flower of the Lotos, & wake once in a million years for a few minutes ...My mind feels as if it ached to behold & know something great – something one & indivisible – and it is only in the faith of this that rocks or waterfalls, mountains or caverns give me the sense of sublimity or majesty- Excerpts of Kubla Khan By Samuel Coleridge
Doug you have some great points. People do progress different. John makes a great point that he knows his limits. In A & I a big thing is exceeding ones training limits. I think that a lot exceed their skill limits because they dont know what they are. I survived a big disaster at intro level and learned all I could from it. Had several things go wrong since including a first stags blow up. A hiccup at 500fta in is not the same as one 4000ft in. Only experience will keep you calm and know its going to be alright. I see a lot of new cave divers who dont understand that a full cave card doesn't mean the learning is over.
Tao, can't say much as I did the same as you. However I know I wasn't very smart for doing it. I personally pulled an ow diver out of a safe cavern after stuff went wrong and he was going to drown. Luckily I was prepared. Be safe and welcome to the addiction.