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Cave Diving. Wet, or Dry. Pros/Cons

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by Boston Breakwater, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Capt Jim Wyatt and PfcAJ like this.
  2. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    I answered this earlier, with Yes, but felt I should expand.
    It is a GREAT question, and important.
    If I'm carrying stages, I expect a longish dive, so my Thermalution vest is part of my diving wet. But my intention is to turn it on only if I get chilled. It is a backup to my own blubber, cold tolerance, and the 7mm plus hooded vest. For a 2h dive (my planned max, in most cases), I might want the Thermalution on LOW for a few minutes during deco. The battery is good for 90 minutes or so at that setting, and so far I've only turned it on for a few minutes to take off a chill, perhaps 2-3 times during a longer deco.
    In Abaco, with stages and slightly warmer water, 2.5h has been my longest dive. The Thermalution helped there too, during deco, on LOW, for a few minutes on and off.
    Boston Breakwater and PfcAJ like this.
  3. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    I’ve used the thermalution before. It’s a neat piece of kit.

    Generally speaking, I think it’s wise to rely on non-electronic solutions for thermal management until truly impractical. Drysuit, quality undergarment, quality hood/gloves, argon (needs to be flushed or your dives pretty deep), heated vest in that order.

    If you’re walking that line where the thermolution helps take the edge off a bit but you could do the dive without it, I think that’s probably fine.
    Boston Breakwater and rjack321 like this.
  4. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    55F sounds warm. My local caves are 38 to 50F depending on the cave, snowmelt and elevation
  5. jvogt

    jvogt ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lakewood, CO USA
    I know it's not "cool", but I found it quite helpful last July to take a swim in just a swim suit before putting my dry suit on. Pretty much eliminated sweating in my suit.

    Some of you guys are amazing, after 2.5 hours in Peacock I was getting shivers during the debrief and wishing I had brought my Colorado Undergarments.
    rjack321 and Boston Breakwater like this.
  6. Boston Breakwater

    Boston Breakwater "Outlaw." Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Brunswick, Georgia.
    Good morning. I appreciate, all the replies.
    As, some of you know. I dove nearly every winter in Boston. At one point, had battery operated socks.
    I never dove without a hood, until I dove Ft Lauderdale. As, I said in the O.P.
    " I have a "Basic." understanding of exposure protection, and insulation strategies, core temps, prolonged exposure to cold water, Etc."
    I do know that we lose a good percentage of our body heat through our heads in cold temps regardless if above water, or below. When, I do the Apprentice Cave, a hood will be used. I also realize, that anytime we dive in water below say....98.6
    degrees, our core temp is immediately effected, and will continually drop, over the course of the dive.
    One of my last cavern dives was the typical 64 minutes...103 ffw...average 72 ft depth....72 degrees.
    At the end of that dive, I was shivering uncontrollably?????
    "Dawn breaks on Marblehead."
    (New England term for...Oh yeah..Idiot.)
    I sometimes forget.....for me. That having proper nourishment, and sleep are major factors enabling a comfortable dive.
    I'm still leaning towards a 7mm Wetsuit.
    I can, in reality, only wait and determine what insulation strategies will work.
    @PfcAJ "I’ve used the thermalution before. It’s a neat piece of kit."
    @tursiops Information on this vest would be appreciated.
    Thanks, again for all the informational replies.
  7. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Boston Breakwater likes this.
  8. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    That is the great thing about scubaboard - so many smart people willing to share their knowledge and experience.
  9. Gene

    Gene Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Florida
    Yes Jim! I agree, and with some humility and humor, which is a good combo.
    I'm a Florida native but have lived all over. I grew up swimming mostly in the Gulf and springs. And I've been hot-natured my whole life. I'm the person with perspiration on my face in a room where others are wearing sweaters, etc. (And I've had heat exhaustion a few times.)
    I've only owned 3mm wetsuits, but most of my dives are within 80 to 120 minutes, I believe I've only had one three hour dive. I usually don't get cold at all except on very rare occasions on long deco. (Which I don't usually have.) And I have a dual bladder wing that's been going strong for 15 years. Most all of my dives are in local north FL caves.
    I've only rented a 7mm farmer john wetsuit a handful of times while diving in the northeast on wrecks or at Dutch Springs. I remember one 90 minute dive at Dutch in 41 degree water, wearing my usual FL tropical booties, half hood and gloves. (I only wear my booties in FL with my wetsuit.)
    I believe I only saw one other person on here that mentioned wearing a 3mm. One of my cave buddies wears one too.
    Just this past week I got some good-natured ribbing at Peacock for my 3mm suit. It's old and has some holes and wearing thin in the shoulders. It may be getting time for a new one...
  10. DogDiver

    DogDiver Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Branford, Florida
    Mine is a different story. I dove the Florida caves in a 5mm wetsuit with dual bladder Nomad for over 10 years. I was 365 pounds then. And yes got bent twice. Two years ago I had weight loss surgery and am down 177 pounds. I tried diving wet just once. I’ve lost all my thermal insulation. Now I dive dry in a trilaminate suit with 4th element Artic underwear. Feel nice and toasty warm now while on deco.
    kensuf and rjack321 like this.

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