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

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

  1. Germie

    Germie Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Netherlands
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    Instructor expenses can be added with every agency. But not every instructor does it. And almost no instructors can earn a good salary from only teaching, even not if expenses are paid by students. As I already said before: you need to teach all, because you cannot fill 3 weeks a month with just 1 basic course and get it full with 3 students all times. But even if you can teach the whole range from open water till full cave, and full trimix and ccr, it is really hard to earn a good salery. That is why most instructors also own a diveshop.
    But if courseprices go up, I think there are less cavedivers, but on the other hand there will become more untrained cavedivers that just try it, or let's say self trained. It is the gaussprincipe: With price X everybody will try. But you cannot give any quality, the instructor must be volunteer. With price Y you get diver who choose for training, and most divers will not try it 'at home'. And with price Z the amount of divers taking a course is low, and more divers will choose to become self educated.
    The last thing is not wrong with a specialty, but I think most don't want it with basic full cave courses or trimix courses. But it will happen if prices rise too much.

    What is the best place to learn cavediving in the world? I don't know. I learned it in Thailand. Warm waters, no gloves and hood needed. Then went back to Europe and started some 4-6 degrees cold water minediving. No problems with that. Then went to France. I teach cave in the Lot region. Sometimes I go in the Jura. Jura is 4-10 degrees, caves are most times short and narrow. Most are not suitable to teach. The Lot is much better: Caves are there 13 degrees C, not the most difficult in navigation, and long enough to reach gas limits.
    Then from France I went to Florida for my ccr cave instructorcourse. Never dove high flow caves. But with starting in Little River, I liked it from the first dive, the way out was really fun. Where pull and glide is a technique only from books in most caves or regions, here you need it. From Florida to Malta as there is also cavern and intro teached, but there is nothing more than caverns, it is too small to teach intro to cave. But you have haloclines. Then to Mexico. All done, all survived.

    The main differences: The stop don't go further signs are not in Europe and Thailand found. Mainlines in France start from surface. Normally no reeling needed (but we do in courses). The mainlines can be everything from a yellow line to a steel chain cable to climbing rope. A mix of T's and jumps found, I think 80% is T's. Jumps are marked with 2 arrows. Midpoint I can only show the one between Cabouy and Pou Meyssens in a course. NO change of directions. Almost all caves have distance markers with the distance in meters to exit.
    The mines in Germany can have T's and jumps, and be marked with 1 arrow or 2 arrows. Felicitas has all jumps marked with 1 arrow.
    On of the best caves in France, Font Estramar has sadly now be closed, but this cave has sometimes 2 lines above each other, so you have to look what is your line. When I was there only white lines.
    Yellow gold line is not the norm in France. It is just a line or a steel cable.

    In the opal mine in Slowakia they have used a really thick line and ask to use the line to pull you around when turning. The mine is sooo extremely sensitive that even a wrong finkick will disturb it. And the tunnels are not that wide sometimes. And extremely cold, 3 degrees C. But viz is over 100m. This is not a mine to teach cave.

    Florida: almost no T's. I know some in Little river and one in a narrow sidetunnel almost at the entrance of Devil's. But almost only jumps are used, with 2 arrows. Distance on markers in ft to exit. You don't have the mainline starting from the surface, but to find the line, it is in the cavern. A lot of experienced cave divers don't run a reel anymore. Peackock 3 was my first real downstream cavedive. In France all caves have an outflow normally. And the one I know that has a tunnel with inflow has signs of danger, don't go in, etc, so I never tried that tunnel of course.

    Mexico: mainline can be hidden far away. But it differs from cave to cave. You have upstream and downstream lines in the cenote. Sometimes different colors for upstream and downstream lines are used. Jumps are mostly 1 arrow. And you can see change of directions, the arrows pointing to the exit have most times a different color then. And it is a playground for jumps. I really enjoyed the dives where we entered with no plan, just follow the lines that looked great. Distance markers are not there, only knots on lines. The haloclines are nice here. The best I have ever seen. The only halocline in my country is found in a lake, it is not a straight layer, but milky as the salt water pushes out of the ground. The haloclines in Malta are not that big layers as in Mexico.

    So what is the best? I don't know. I like caves everywhere. There are differences, but not that much that you cannot go diving from Mexico in Europe. For some divers a buddy or guide that knows the region will be better, but it is not needed for every cave diver, a lot depends on the experience you already have. But where you can hit and kick stones in France or Florida, you will break stalagtites in Mexico or Thailand.
     
    Paul1852 and taimen like this.
  2. beester

    beester DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Belgium / Italy
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    Heya Naick,

    Since I'm from Belgium and hold technical tickets with different agencies (among them GUE C2 and T2) I think I can help.

    First of all I can so relate!! I was already a tech diver (normoxic trimix with TDI), but not interested in caves... Then on a trip to the Yucatan in 2008, diving in Cozumel my girlfriend asked me to do a cenote dive... I was not so interested but we did anyway..and after that I was hooked! GUE fundies and all the other stuff followed... so I really feel you, welcome on your first steps to overhead bliss :cheers:

    A lot of good stuff has been said about agencies, instructors, instructors background, course and training progression, etc... I'm not going to repeat what has being said.

    So my response will be very practical... ping me privately and I can set you up with the local GUE community. (GUE-BE). They are a very nice bunch of people (about 60 divers), very active, doing a lot of activities, and they are very welcoming to questions. So let me know and I'll get you in touch with them, you can meet them for a dive, a beer and ask questions. Members range from just passed fundies rec to full on C2,T2, RB80, JJ divers doing exploration level dives, and every year there are people doing courses or organizing trips. (Belgium is not known for his caves, there are a couple of mines, or sidemount caves, but for most overhead diving you need to travel to Jura, Lot (FR), Sardinia, Spain, or of course Mexico or Florida). Next to caves they are also very active diving North Sea wrecks... doing projects on them:

    Building A Strong Community Through Project Diving

    Next a good friend of mine is an IANTD cave instructor who teaches a lot but also dives a lot. He's a fully trained GUE diver (T2/C2 JJccr... in fact I did T2 with him), who is a really nice guy, and has a good IANTD network of cave divers.

    So get in touch and I can get you in touch with some people in Belgium who can help you decide on where and how to get the training that will let you experience all those nice caves in Mexico (and everywhere else in the world).

    Cheers

    B
     
    rjack321 and RainPilot like this.
  3. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    It depends, I suppose if the instructor is traveling to a place that they regularly teach and have infrastructure there then they can mitigate costs.

    Unless they are traveling to a far region with none of their own infrastructure, maybe they charge extra. I know I certainly didn’t pay extra when my instructor and I met in a different country. It’s not always charged.
     
  4. Subcooled

    Subcooled Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Finland
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    Pick an instructor who dives in the same environment and with the same equipment that you intend to.
    - If you want to dive on Yucatan, pick a local instructor there.
    - If you love standardization, pick GUE, else find something else.
    - If you want to become a sump diver, don't pick GUE. Wrong focus.

    I did not pick GUE. They were not capable of teaching me some critical skills: My diving is not possible in a backmounted configuration, which immediately voided GUE. They were also prohibitatively expensive.
     
    Germie likes this.
  5. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    Upfront its more expensive but courses are much longer in hours duration with more commitment from instructors. It may be more expensive but its better value than what you get in courses for half the price of GUE courses.
     
  6. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,889
    1,141
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    GUE teaches sidemount, but the entry qualifications are very high. Quite a few GUE divers dive sidemount.

    I'm pretty sure the primary reason for choosing GUE is not because of the standardization. It's likely the precise skill development, the controlled task loading, the team cohesion, the small class sizes of 2-3 students, and that you have to *earn* a pass.

    I'll agree that GUE courses are expensive, but are well worth it. Some of them combine multiple courses into one certification. They're also long, intense days with only 1 or 2 other students. You get what you pay for.
     
    EireDiver606 likes this.
  7. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
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    That kind of contradicts the idea of fundies. Fundamental skills that must be acquired before getting into the technical stuff of diving with helium, addressing failures, etc.
     
  8. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,889
    1,141
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    That is the purpose of Fundamentals, which is normally the gateway to GUE Tech or Cave courses. I believe Fundamentals started as a workshop for remedial training for people who were tech certified by other agencies but couldn't pass the muster of the WKPP or their DIR/GUE tech training. Not sure what your point is?

    Are you currently GUE certified?
     
  9. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,613
    1,850
    113
    I know that. Sidemount is a recent addition. I don't quite get the rational. I don't have access to JJ. Maybe one day I'll ask Guy.

    Not sure of yours either. The history of why AG created fundies is well known.

    Yes, but completely irrelevant. Now if you meant to ask if I've drunk the Kool Aid, then the answer is no.
     
    jale likes this.
  10. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
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    2,828
    113
    You dont understand why they added sidemount or why the bar for entry into the sidemount course is C2?
     

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