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Cave Dive yes Overhead ?

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by RikRaeder, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Ink, I have TDI Intro and GUE Cave 1 as a basis for my comments.

    There is prudence, and then there is risk averse behavior. They ARE different.
  2. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    Ginnie is indeed not a certification agency. That is basically the point. It is kinda like the old adage that if you have a son all you have to worry about is one swinging dick while if you have a daughter you have to worry about all of them.

    Off color humor aside, Ginnie only has to worry about the ballroom, while a cert agency has to worry about a set of rules and limits that will keep divers with that cert out of trouble in a very wide and often unknown set of conditions the divers may encounter. If you don't know the specifics, you have to stay with the general case and err on the side of caution.

    You are also committing a logical fallacy in your argument. Saying the Ginnie Ballroom has had fatalities does not take it off the list of acceptable open water dive sites. Many, many open water dive sites have had fatalities. For example, last summer a lady drowned in 30 feet of water in lake Rawlings. It was one of the safest areas in the whole quarry and involved no penetation. The fact that she, and others in the past, died there does not mean it should not be considered a safe OW site.

    Saying that free divers have died in Ginnie is also flawed as it just means at least one really stupid or over confident freediver tried unsuccessfully to dive there.

    I agree with you that cave courses do not normally teach breathing off of air pockets. On the other hand that is essentially what often happens in sump diving in a macro sense of the term "air pocket". There is a difference between a small air pocket with no circulation and a large air filled room that may even have some degree of air circulation through fissues in the rock. From the diagrahm it appears that the air pockets involved are quite large.

    You have some potentially solid arguments. However your credibility is badly weakened when you depart from a valid argument and instead succumb to the temptation to attack someone's character or credentials. In my experience back in the day when I spent 2 or 3 days a week in court, trying to discredit a witness is generally a last gasp tactic of an attorney who does not really have a valid case. Take my advice - don't go there. The readers of the thread will assign as much weight or crediblity to the people who post in a forum as they see fit, and most are able to make pretty good decisions in that regard all by themselves. The odds that your comments will be weighted heavily depends a lot on how you present yourself in the thread. Bashing other people and their opinions does not help anyone promote their own opinion, it just makes the person doing the bashing look like a jerk.

    In case you have not checked yet, I have been doing technical diving for about 10 years, I am Intro Cave certified and I will be completing full cave the first week of January.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  3. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    I'd be happy to do the dive myself, but I'm frankly surprised/disturbed by the definitions of 'open water' and 'surface' in this thread
  4. Daedalus

    Daedalus Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    The internet is not a courtroom, more like the Howler Monkey pen at the zoo.

    It is perfectly valid to attack people's credentials is because of people on the internet who put themselves forward as cave diving experts and then you find out they aren't who they say they are on the internet. People impersonate cave divers and even cave instructors on this forum and others all the time. Besides its fun to blow the phonies, Walter Mittys, strokes, and other assorted goons out of the water.

    The central question here is what the OP is asking. He knows this site is a cave but he is wondering if it is OK to go in because the people who want his money say one thing but the rules he has been trained to follow say another thing. The *****s in this industry get people killed all the time by sending them down the wrong path.

    Here is what happens. Diver starts out at "safe" caverns like ginnie, blue grotto, devils den, etc. Nothing happens and they do maybe dozens of dives here. Then they push the envelope based on that prior experience and start diving at "caverns" like the "ballroom" at Eagles Nest. Then they go to Waynes World and die.

    The only ethical thing to tell people is that it is never OK to go into an overhead without training. If this kind of diving interests you take a cavern class.


    That includes Open Water "Technical Training" btw. I never went into my cave training assuming I was going to pass, but maybe you have the advantage of picking an instructor who sells cards.
  5. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    Are you not fully reading posts or are you just trying to argue?

    From a TOS standpoint personal attacks, even attacking someone's credentials are prohibited. You can inquire and question them, but you better pull up short of "attacking" them. That attitude is what turns boards into howler monkey pens.

    To repeat myself, I have Cavern and Intro to Cave certs, I am completing a full cave course this January, but without the pretention of thinking that I will then know it all whether I pass or not. Based on comments from instructors and other cave divers with Full Cave certs, I am confident that I am ready for Full Cave and I am aware there is no guarentee of passing. On the other hand if I suspected I would not pass, I'd put it off until I and other felt I was ready. Knowledge of your limitations is a healthy attitude that I have found comes with age and experience along with the willingness to engage in critical thinking.

    That cave training is in addition to 20 years of diving experience and about 10 years of technical diving in doubles and extensive deco experience. I am one of those odd individuals who think full cave should not be completed without prior or at least concurrent deco training, based mostly on doing deco diving when many of the younger divers I encounter were still in training pants. The older I get them more I value experience and the more I appreciate God's grace in letting me survive the hubris and immaturity of youth.

    I agree with you that no amount of prior OW experience can prepare you for cave diving, but there are real benefits to having solid dive experience and technical diving training before you engage in cave training. The zero to hero approach to cave diving is fraught with peril and no amount of cave training can instill brains, common sense or maturity - that comes from within the diver - especially in what is often an ego driven and, to the outsider, often viewed as an elitist sport populated by chest pounding primadonnas.

    Trying to resolve the problem of unthinking or irresponsible divers by giving them a rigid "just say no" response unfortunately does not work - especially when it comes from someone who may be correctly or incorrectly viewed as an elitist primadonna by the person receiving the "NO".

    I do not want to expand this to places other than the Ginnie ballroom, Bonne Terre and the Chadelier cave the OP asked about, so lets not bring in other "easy" caverns, for there really are potential dangers in that type of generalization. But to use your own Ginnie Ballroom example, the diver will be told "NO", but will see other OW divers diving Ginnie Ballroom, and conclude two things:

    1. Other OW divers are doing it and many of them suck more than me, therefore it must be safe for me to do it (it is potentially an ad populum logical fallacy as everyone doing it does not in and of itself make it safe, but it appears to be a valid argument to the average person). And more alarmingly;

    2. The guy(s) who told me "NO" are full of crap/elitist a$$holes/etc, and obviously have questionable credibility as they are overstating what is obviously a minimal threat. (This assumption of the minimalness of the thread gets made when the person lacks other more substantial information to help them make a better decision as they simply don't know enough to know what they don't know.)

    Those conclusions are followed in short order with a rationalization that their skills are indeed good enough for the ballroom, and after diving the ballroom, and most importantly, failing to see the differences between Ginnie Ballroom and other caverns or caves because no one explained it to them (after all WE, the cave commuity, lump them all in the same "just say no" category) they go to wayne's world and die.

    It is a safe bet that the two divers who recently drowned there both heard the "no OW training can prepare you..blah blah blah" line numerous times and heard it pretty much the way I just typed it, despite the best intentions of those saying it. Hell, one of them even said it himself on the deco stop while posing as a cave diver, so I know he understood the words even if he had not internalized the implications of the statement.

    Based on a 20 year career working with people in legal, counseling and higher education settings, I have become a firm believer in fully informed consent. It is not ethical to simply tell a person they cannot do something. To do so and believe that will work is incredibly ignorant and assumes that everyone adheres to soley authoritarian arguments. That is just not the case. It is far better, far more effective and consequently far more ethical to provide a person with the information they need to fully understand what they are contemplating and to be able to fully assess their training and abilities in comparision to the demands of the activity. That is what the OP got in this thread, so don't misrepresent that as permission to go overhead diving where ever a person pleases without proper certs.

    An informed consent approach requires that you have faith that most people given all the information will make the right decision. That is not always the case as there indeed people who are lacking judgment are excessively ego driven or are just polain stupid, but in those cases where they will make the wrong decision, they'd have ignored a "NO" anyway. That is preferrable to trying to protect people by saying "NO" and restricting them from the information they need to make their own decision.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  6. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    Agreed. It is a deviation form the normal definition. But consider this, for an OW diver a gas related emergency can be resolved after a short ascent to the surface. That is not an option in a truly overhead environment - soft or hard - as the diver is along way from the surface in terms of either time or horizontal distance.

    When you look at this particular example, can an OW diver ascend to the surface to deal with a gas emergency? In that answer lies the difference between a guided dive in the "cave" in question and a true overhead environment.

    It is clearly not open water and the surface is still removed from the normal definition of surface where the diver can just swim home, but the breatheable air above the diver during the dive does allow a much broader range of contingencies that are within the realm of the OW diver. He or she would still be very dependant on the guide and it has some "trust me" aspects that are will not be acceptable to a large number of divers. In that regard it is much like the diving equivalent of a tandem skydive. You are just along for the ride and having done several will still do comparatively little for you interms of preparing to do one all by yourself.
  7. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    Are we off topic enough yet?
  8. Damselfish

    Damselfish ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    except I, as the person being attacked, never claimed to be a cave diver or cave diving expert of any sort. And they made that clear in their posts that they had read my profile and knew that. They attacked me simply for having an opinion they didn't like, or maybe just for the sport of it. I posted simply because I had actually been there, which seemed possibly useful since this place is far away enough that most people haven't been (silly me.)
  9. Age

    Age Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tokyo, Japan
    Well I've been there to. In fact hundreds, maybe even thousands have. Those who have been there would agree, I think, that you'd look bloody ridiculous laying lines in such a benign site while PADI OW divers flutter kicked their way in and out of Chandlier cave.
  10. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    I am actually a person who thinks there is value in understanding where rules come from. If you know what the issues are in overhead environments, you understand WHY you are told to stay out of them. If you don't, then I think it's much easier to discard the rule if someone tells you it's okay, or if you see others doing so with apparent impunity.

    If you apply the five rules of accident analysis to the OP's cave, it's hard to see how you can get lost, get into zero viz, be unable to surface for gas, or get too deep. You COULD conceivably run out of gas in the cave and have to go on someone else's gas supply to get out, since you cannot swim out on the surface. It does not appear that you can get lost.

    IF someone does a careful analysis, using the rules, and comes to the conclusion that this is probably a reasonable dive for an OW diver with some experience and moderate skills, I do not see anything wrong with it. The same analysis of Wayne's World would keep that diver out of the cave altogether.

    I do believe that THINKING divers are the safest divers.

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