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Cave training - GUE vs. TDI/IANTD (or other)

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by naick, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. taimen

    taimen ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Europe
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    I don't like to be nasty, but your suggestions here are almost hilarious. How about a sidemount technical cave course in Malta? Please write a report when you are done :)
    I am a beginner cave diver (BM doubles) with an intro to cave level certification, luckily with a 1/4 gas rule. The 1/6 rule, if enforced strictly, is very limiting. There are many dive sites where that gas rule prevents building real experience. For diving in those environments, I would second @Germie with getting full cave level training early on. There are also some organizations who give 1/4 or 1/3 gas rules at intro to cave level. That doesn't make anyone a better diver, but may allow diving in sites where 1/6 is simply too restrictive.
     
  2. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,619
    1,854
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    I’m out guys. Have fun!
     
  3. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

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    Interesting thread.

    I'd say "it depends on the instructor" is going to hold true with all agencies. While GUE has some amazing instructors and their lowest common denominator is high, you still have to be able to get along with and learn from your instructor. Not all personalities mesh, while I think I'm generally pretty easy to get along with in an instructor/student setting, I've had students that I couldn't get along with.

    There are also some instructors outside of GUE that are very decent that will not become GUE instructors for one reason or another. I'm one of them. I periodically solo dive, when I was in Bonaire over Christmas I did a non-decompression solo dive to 60' using redundant gear almost every day, that would get me in trouble with GUE.

    Regardless, back to the OP.. When looking for cave training, interview several instructors. Ask them about their teaching background -- how long have they been teaching cave diving, sometimes that brand new cave instructor with everything fresh in his head may be better than the old grizzled warhorse that has gotten complacent and deviates from the standard, on the other hand, that new instructor may miss several small tips that can make things easier for you. Ask how often do they go cave diving for fun when they're not teaching, what was their most challenging dive within the previous 12 months, and are they doing the type of diving you want to do. You should ask them what the last class was that they took as a student -- I think it's important for instructors to continually push themselves and expand their knowledge and skills, a good instructor will try something new at least once a year. Also ask them what the performance expectations are in their class.

    Finally, ask them what it took for them to become a cave instructor and who they interned with along the way. I personally felt that the internship process was invaluable and made me a better cave instructor, I also worked with instructors that were polar opposite from my teaching and diving styles, which I think made me more rounded.

    As for agencies, all of the agencies have a similar desired outcome -- a safe, thinking, cave diver. The process to get there varies from agency to agency, but if you look at the final product, "Cave 2" is basically the same as "Full Cave with Stage". Some agencies allow you to break it up in to two day blocks (Cavern, Intro, Apprentice, Cave, Stage) while others want the training to be split into two blocks (Cave 1, Cave 2). I personally think the "Cavern -> Apprentice" (AKA "Cave 1") then go dive and gain experience, then do "Full Cave + Stage" (AKA "Cave 2") is a great way to do it. And if you can travel, I would urge you to split 1/2 of your training in Florida and 1/2 in Mexico.

    Best of luck,

    Ken
     
    MrBigfins, Flotsam, elgoog and 5 others like this.
  4. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
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    I'ts so funny when people say dumb, misinformed things then claim that others didn't understand or get their panties in a wad and run away with their toys.

    I don't know what you were trying to say, but suggesting backmount training in MX is limited is crazy. In fact it's the opposite. In Fl we're restricted by depth, which means less in-water time. In MX students can spend twice as much time in the water on a single dive, which means more drills, more penetration/gas decisions, and more navigational decision making.

    I guess all of those bm doubles they have at Zero Gravity never get used. It's a shame.
     
    naick likes this.
  5. 1atm

    1atm DIR Practitioner

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    Maybe one comment regarding the different gas rules that come with various flavors of Cave 1 / intro to cave / etc:

    It was pointed out above that a gas rule of 1/6 can be very limiting, and that hence it's better to go for full cave straight away. I disagree, and the various reasons for getting experience along the way have been mentioned already in this thread. I'd like to add another angle:

    First, there are Cave 1 flavors that give you more gas, e.g GUE Cave 1 is 1/3 of 2/3 (so somewhere between 1/5 and 1/4).

    Second, and more importantly, if you pick a place with shallow cave such as Mexico, there's lots and lots to see before you hit that gas limit. Many beautiful caves there are between 6 and 12 meters depth, so with doubles you easily get 30min+ penetrations resulting in 60-80min dives on Cave 1 limits. That's quite a lot, and once you experience how much longer it takes to get out in zero vis, or gas sharing or ... you will appreciate that it's a good idea to not be hours back in a cave straight away. I didn't find the gas limit very limiting between Cave 1 and Cave 2. The thing that bugged me most, was the curiosity of whats on the other end of those jump lines. Not because I ran out of cave to dive on C1 limits, but more because you swim past so many "doors" that you always wonder what's behind them.

    I'd also like to add a perspective on the "rigid" nature of GUE classes and methods. Not to claim this is superior, but just to further the understanding of their nature, for folks who haven't taken the classes yet. (any present instructors please add your views, I'm speaking from a student perspective only).

    Simply put it goes like this:

    - Fundamentals: We want to give to tools that we know work for us. Please do it like this. The reason is XXX. Try for yourself. There may be other methods, but for now we ask you to master this way first before getting creative. Get the basics down in a solid way.
    - Level 1, e.g. C1: Let's use the fundamental tools to do cool/useful stuff. You’re new to this, so please do it the way we know works. Build muscle memory for the worst case scenario instead of experimenting, you will be thankful for it. In the worst possible scenario, you can rely on something tried and tested.
    - Level 2, e.g. C2: You want to become a grownup cave diver, and you’re old enough to make smart decisions. You have a question how to do something? Well tell me first what you would do if you were on your own. After that we can share our view if we think differently. By now you have min 35 cave dives using the “rigid” tools and you know what works and what doesnt. If it really doesnt work for you, lets discuss. Understand that sometimes you need to be flexible. You should always think, and know why you do the things the way you do. Be aware that for some situations there is no optimal/right solution.

    So to cut a long story short, it does start out in a more “rigid” way, but becomes more flexible. It starts with “please do this!” and finishes with “what do YOU think?” And I think the logic behind doing it this way is sound. If you’re brand new, you shouldn't get creative in a cave. Maybe some folks who havent been through that journey misunderstand, and think the whole system is some kind of anti-fun military thing, Gerorge Irvine style all the way. I can only speak from the few classes I’ve taken, but Ididnt see any “rigid” “military style” anywhere ...
     
  6. jstrang

    jstrang Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: burlington, ON, CANADA
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    Its always nice to see how passionate people are about how to train divers. We all inevitably think the way we did it is the only way to do it.

    Kinda reminds me of the first few days of med school where 120 of us all puffed out our feathers and tried to argue that the way we got in was best.

    But from a purely practical point of few - it doesn't matter. Once you are in - the person who graduates last from med school is still called Dr.
    Same is true for cave diving. Doesn't matter how you get there just get it in and graduate and you will be a cave diver.

    From there you get to decide what tools you need to do the diving you want to do.

    Now, if you know 100% that you want to be doing team based explorations - choose GUE. The process is just too long-winded for everyone else - you have to get Fundies with a technical rating, then Cave 1, then do at least 25 dives (which for me doing 1 3-4 hour+ long dive a day would take like 2 years to get), then do Cave 2. Its exhausting just writing this all down.
    If you know that the only diving you will be doing is sidemount - do it sidemount. But have you seen sidemount divers on a boat - not a pretty sight. Its one thing doing it in Fl/Mx where you can walk in to the water and gear up - another thing completely up in the Great Lakes off a boat.
    For everyone else (like most of the population) choose backmount and go with a local instructor you trust. You'll be done sooner, with less initial costs and hopefully meet local people you can dive with.

    You can always go back and get more training. I would encourage you to read the GUE training books (you can probably still find free pdf copies on the internet). the UTD videos where fun to try and emulate when I was training.
    Despite having over a 100 cave dives I still think I might do a fundamentals class at some time.

    The best advice I have seen here is from Kensuf - get training in both Fl and Mx.
    Cave training in Fl - where there is high flow and deep caves is good to have. In Mx, you have shallower caves but running a primary line in Mx may require a 400' reel. I haven't seen that in Fl.

    Now, I'll unpuff my feathers and go back to eating popcorn.

    J
     
  7. Preach

    Preach Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Nederland
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    I started off with gue fundamentals (when i had around 30 dives logged). After that i did a naui tech course, gue cave 1, iantd full technical cave and iantd normoxic trimix.

    The gue certifications didn't come easy, i even felt like quitting in the fundamentals course. But the solid skills learned in fundamentals helped me so much in all other courses.
    I like all courses i took, but the solid basic skills with gue are amazing. If i had to do it all over, i would start with gue again. The cave 1 course is an amazing course to start off cave diving too.
    I dive with divers of all kind of organisations/skills levels, but i do pick the right buddy's for the type of dive. Overall i know if divers are gue certified they will have the right skill set, but i have some really good iantd/naui buddy's also.

    I would never limit myself to just one organisation (like some gue divers).
     
    rjack321 likes this.
  8. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    Generally you don’t pay extra. It’s almost always not paid from what I gather as they’re traveling so much, they have benefits with flights etc.
     
  9. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NJ
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    543
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    Not sure where you are getting this. If you get a more travel oriented instructor like Guy Shockey, Mer, Gideon, etc the travel expenses can be mitigated slightly as they are spread out over several different classes, but they are absolutely there. Some will charge a flat travel surcharge others will break it down and divide it by all students.

    It depends on your location and the exact circumstances, but unless you have a large group of 5 or 6 students, my first instinct would be to fly down to Mexico or Florida before trying to get an instructor to travel to my location.

    Emailing/speaking with a specific instructor would provide clarity, but I would probably budget something like $400-$500 to accommodate a traveling instructor.
     
  10. helodriver87

    helodriver87 DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Alabama
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    Yep, you're probably paying their expenses if they're traveling to teach you. If a typical Tech/Cave course is $2k, once you subtract airfare, lodging, fills, etc from it, they would be left with something like $500-600 per student for a weeklong class if they paid their own expenses. Kirill, for example, is pretty active. He teaches 20 or so classes per year according to GUE's website. That would work out to, best case scenario, $24k per year. That's just not sustainable for the level of experience/expertise he brings to a class.
     

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