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GUE/DIR/WKPP vs the world?

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by sontek, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. sontek

    sontek Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pompano Beach, FL

    Yeah, I didn't start this thread to discuss Wakulla, I think it just got the most press because its such a hot topic. I'm not even really interested in diving Wakulla, from what I hear the conditions/vis aren't great compared to everything else we have around here.

    I was looking for a more broad and historical discussion. I have learned a lot so far though and WCDC is doing a lot of great work.
  2. Hetland

    Hetland Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    It's unavoidable. Sort of like arguing politics or religion. The subject will almost always devolve into a Wakulla discussion or a comparison of muscle sizes.

    I'll be happy to discuss what I know on the broader subject with you next weekend..... As long as you remember to bring my Oceanic glove with you :wink:
  3. OkiMike

    OkiMike Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Okinawa, Japan
    As I read up to this point, I kept thinking back to a thread on some forum related to the European EKPP that discussed why they carried two scrubbers on their RB80s rather than just one, like their WKPP counterparts. I recall hearing that it had something to do with their inability to stage bottles and guarantee them being there for their next push dives (i.e., other divers were stealing their stuff).

    For what it's worth, I view WKPP and the State of Florida's relationship as symbiotic in nature. Once they could establish themselves as worthy of diving the site w/o getting themselves killed (which allowed them to gain access to an already closed cave), the State of Florida could agree on some principles that were mutually beneficial to both groups.

    To that end, part of the State's benefit is gaining information about the aquifier system over time. From my understanding, when all is considered, the WKPP can only perform several dives per year when the moons align, schedules permit, and the conditions are good. Given the members' personal investments on the line in terms of gas, equipment, time, etc., I can imagine that they'd want to limit as many extant variables from the equation as possible. As such, the possibility that equipment placed months prior in advance of the next clear dive window had been stolen (or breathed if a solo diver or other equally foolish team entered and used someone else's dropped bottles to get themselves out of trouble) were suddenly unavailable, literally tens of thousands of dollars would have been for naught, and both the State and the WKPP lose.

    And perhaps these sorts of push conditions exist at other locations, and if so, I don't know how those teams are mitigating against such variables, but for such a high profile location as Wakulla, it would seem beneficial for the WKPP to just put their foot down and say, "Look, if you want us to do this for the State, these are the conditions we need to have guaranteed from you to ensure team safety and to make it worth our effort."

    Ditto for people in the water. If open for all, would it be feasible for the State to close down the water on random dates when the dive window was good to ensure that only WKPP divers were in the water, thus allowing the WKPP to perform their mission that day? If vacations, travel, and money from tourists coming in were on the line and subject to random cancellation, I imagine the State would be in a harder position to deny them access than they are now.

    Of course, all of this is speculative since I am not familiar with the specific logistical concerns of the WKPP and how an open sink would affect their operations when "go day" comes around.

    In general, if the above concerns could be mitigated (e.g., the State could require proof of certification of all recreational divers, require that they dive in teams of two or more, and require that people cancel plans if the WKPP decides to have their push dives to a particular day, etc.), then I would back a movement to open the site to recreational divers.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
    Blackwood likes this.
  4. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    [​IMG] = [​IMG] ... just sayin' :idk:
    sontek and Spd 135 like this.
  5. Scott L

    Scott L Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Palm Beach, FL
    How much access are you seeking? With being cavern certified only along with split fin usage, you are not going too far into the system. :wink:
  6. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY

    There is arrogance in DIR. But, this arrogance seems to come from the newly-minted GUE divers, those just diving within insular groups, or those far removed from the action. I've been invited to join the project twice now. I really want to say yes and make the type of contribution from a WKPP member that Casey wants, but I find that there are few DIR divers I enjoy being around - other than the inner circle.

    I've always compared DIR to Christianity. Jarrod is like Jesus and always kind when delivering the philosophy to others and accepts that it isn't for everyone much like, "Him with an ear let him hear..." The original WKPP divers and GUE instructors were like the apostles and the early followers venturing around Wakulla and cave country like Galilee. George was like John the Baptist crying loudly in the wilderness. Andrew Georgitsis was like the apostle Paul traveling the world setting up various "churches," and Barry was like Judas Iscariot.

    As a GUE diver, I believe in the philosophy just like I believe in Christianity. But, as a GUE diver, I'm deeply bothered by the way many DIR divers treat others outside the community and even inside the community as well. I'm not talking about those divers who truly are doing things that are absolutely unsafe and to be condemned across the board, but it bothers me when that attitude is directed toward the giants upon whose shoulders we stand today in the cave and tech communities. The zealotry borders on religion. For some, all they've known are split fins, a 3 day OW class, and then GUE-F and above. They are ignorant of many things and what isn't understood is condemned.

    When pockets of DIR divers spring up like churches, many behaved badly and unlike Paul's epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Thessalonians, no one was really putting a stop to the problem. The blame seems to fall on George, but I think George contributed positively to DIR calling attention to the movement in a way that wasn't easy to ignore. He also did the dives. I really hate it when GUE divers who never met George place the albatross of blame on him for a "past attitude" that exists today - one they often display. I suspect the attitude of certain instructors was emulated. Worse, it really bothers me when they have no understanding of what it takes to get to the EOL in Wakulla. As you know, most would cry, "Uncle!" way before they can imagine. Cave diving at that level is not about trim, buoyancy, propulsion, looking good, or following the DIR rulebook. It's all that in ways, but the most important traits for a deep cave diver are respect for one's situation and courage to be comfortable in those circumstances to be an asset to the team and reliable. Many DIR divers live vicariously through the exploits of the organization and put down divers who've done dives that JJ would and does respect from other organizations.

    Many carry the fight from the 90's to the windmills of today as if creating a jihad against other organizations will end them a spot in DIR heaven. GUE has trained so many divers who have taken the philosophy back to their leadership positions at other agencies or have become instructors with other agencies that the influence is amazing and has lifted the standard of a tech skill set industry wide. Some zealots believe that only GUE should teach any form of DIR diving, but you can't put the genie back in the bottle and good instructors who converted couldn't help, but convert their own students to at least the basic foundations of the philosophy.

    Like Christianity and the Bible, you can't find all the answers to some current problems in the philosophy or the standards. You can however apply the philosophy and standards to trying to reason through situations.

    As a GUE diver, I often criticize the philosophy and the organization in message boards simply because the "religious" zealotry is a bit scary. It's hard for me to embrace DIR that passionately because I see it as having added a tremendous amount to my diving, yet I've had lots of other training and experiences that I need to respect and honor. As a Christian, I believe that Judaism paved the way for my faith and that Muslims believe in the same God I do. I'd hate to exist in an all-DIR diving world as if the Crusades and the Inquisition and the Roman Catholic Church won over the world left us all in the parochialism of the Middle Ages. While DIR forms the foundation of my technical diving experiences, I welcome the Renaissance of improved technologies - especially CCR. The romantic in me also needs to be bad and get seduced into danger. I'm a Protestant in Christianity as much as I protest close-minded zealotry in diving and my part Native American heritage makes me yearn for a world also free of religion.

    From reading the Bible, I don't think Christ ever intended to have a belief system that was based upon love and forgiveness bind the human heart as much as religion has done. I also don't think JJ ever intended a system based upon safety to somehow bind the minds of the practitioners. As a collective, we can stimulate an exploration Renaissance. But, with all of the DIR divers worldwide, the organization isn't promoting the opportunities to support one another and too many divers keep practicing for the next course rather than gaining experience and finding mentoring while promoting local causes. I suggested to Doug Mudry that GUE instructors should be encouraged to join the WKPP and oversee the training and practice of regional explorer groups better than is currently being done and be able to specifically train more divers far afield for specific tasks in Wakulla in their home waters so they can more seamlessly join and contribute to active diving operations. He explained to me that had been the idea, but hadn't really worked because too few divers had the experience to do the dives. They had skill, but little experience.

    That brings us full circle. There are many talented cave divers with the experience, but they don't like many DIR divers due to the attitude. Yet, most cave divers truly like those involved in JJ's inner circle and have the greatest respect for the work. Also, the misinformation about being part of either the WKPP or GUE or both and what is or isn't acceptable on one's own time is confusing. The last I heard, Panos says it is okay to solo dive if you are certified by another agency on your own time because you are then their problem, not GUE's. I also heard Casey doesn't approve of solo diving on one's own time if you are with the WKPP. I was told that I could be a GUE instructor and teach solo through another agency, but then I was told that really would be frowned upon and that I wouldn't like being a GUE instructor with my personality because I like to play with new toys such as my Razor and Nomad.

    Ultimately, many DIR divers believe that if you don't become a GUE instructor, it's because you aren't good enough. But, you and I know of people working for Halcyon who are gifted and experienced divers and instructors with other agencies that value their freedom on their own time.

    I don't know what the current goals are for the project and I've heard that there is sometimes a shortage of members, but imagine what could happen if some of today's young cave diving talent could be brought on board? Casey wouldn't be short quality guys and if these guys could be supported by fledgling DIR students, newbies and DIR divers from across the globe? Imagine what could happen if the community of DIR divers could get along with others and themselves? We could really do some terrific stuff - especially worldwide conservation research. But, I guess that would be like trying to get the Christian community organized to help the world as well.

    I could be part of the project as either a sponsored support diver or freediver and my girlfriend really is interested in supporting surface management because her career is as a production and stage manager. My entire hesitancy to be involved stems from having grown weary of the "DIR attitude" with which I've dealt since 1999. Other than that if I had the freedoms to dive under the certifications I have on my own time, I'd be totally reliable.

    I think other cave divers and cave instructors with experience may feel the same way.

    If the project begins to slow and doesn't warrant restricting access I think the state, the "Friends," and the WKPP should think about exchanging the right sort of information to allow access to all well-trained cave divers ... including the atheists. :wink:
  7. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    That long enough post with religous comparisons almost deserves its own show on the Trinity network with requests for love offering ;-)

    Sometimes this zealotry borders less on religion and close to cultism,I think that is where the "drink the Koolaid" references come from.

    I am not saying that of all GUE/DIR types,but I have been called a stroke by a new DIR type because I had my Mk20's angled in the Hogarthian style,not inward like DIR. So did that make me unsafe,could be,but this type of judgement causes generalization and the negatism that can be directed toward DIR/GUE. To some degree I think this hint toward elitism has been a great marketing campaign for GUE/DIR,which is great marketing,look how it has worked for Mercedes,Lincoln etc. This being said I think GUE/DIR/WKPP have left a good lasting impression,and I myself being eclectic and use critical thinking,will use the best of all groups to come up with what I consider optimal,which I understand will exclude me from some groups.
  8. SuPrBuGmAn

    SuPrBuGmAn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tallahassee, FL
    Visibility at Wakulla is better than its been for years at this very moment. Glass bottom boats are running and the water is springing blue.

    There are safeties at Indian that aren't getting stolen/used. I would not consider this a problem. Whenever I hear of a bottle going missing, its usually at some place like Ginnie, and a deco bottle near the surface that some snorkeler takes.
  9. LiteHedded

    LiteHedded Great White

    easier said than done these days...
  10. Hetland

    Hetland Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    I'm not a citizen of Florida either.

    In all likelihood, I wouldn't be allowed to dive Wakulla if it were opened tomorrow, but that doesn't soften my resolve the tiniest bit. If full cave divers would like to reimburse me for the time and gas money I've spent on this matter so far, they can buy me a nice lunch or mail me some used dive gear in working order... Maybe someone can send me a pair of non-lethal fins so I don't kill myself :wink:

    Nothing good is ever easy. :wink:

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