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Thread: Its time to take a look at cave diving

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    RBW Member Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike's Avatar
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    Its time to take a look at cave diving

    Ok, I figure its time. I am going to take a look at cave diving.

    This part of SE Asia has some caves, practically all undived/undiscovered. A handful of guys like Bruce, (Andibk) have been actively searching and exploring new caves in Thailand and Philippines. There is also aparently increasing cave diving activity in Indonesia.

    So after being a wreck guy (can count the number of reef dives on one hand) I felt it was time to get trained up and take a look at cave diving.

    My original plan was to do my training with Bruce on a new cave system he is exploring in the Philippines, but other commitments made the timing impossible. Then I heard that Martin R was doing CCR Cave training in Florida in November (when I will be there with business) - so it all fell into place.

    So I will be winging my way over to Florida with my trusty MK15.5 to get myself some training and will be doing some 'fun' cave dives after my course.

    I would like to seak advice from those cave divers here and especially those who live/have cave dived in Florida on what to expect, any advice and on preparation.

    I understand the water temp is 21 deg max and that dry suit is mandatory - is this correct?
    Would a 7mm wetsuit be suitable? Do most dive dry? I have a drysuit but preffer to dive wet if its possible - but then again I am a big girl when it comes to the cold.

    What do people mostly do for accomodation? Camping? Hotels?

    Is it a case of bring your own filled tanks or are there fill stations. Will they fill my non DOT spheres - or should I expect to have to transfill myself?

    For the post course fun dives I guess solo diving is frowned upon? Anyone want to buddy me :D

    For the post course fun dives what would be the 'must do' dives?

    Is there anywhere where DPVs can be hired?

    Any other advice/suggestions would be appreciated.

    Im really looking forward to this.

    Cheers
    Mike

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    So many CCR So little etc Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase has a reputation beyond repute Mark Chase's Avatar
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    When you finish can you let us all know the details costs etc involved bacause I was thinking of doing this.

    ATB

    Mark Chase

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    Ok, I figure its time. I am going to take a look at cave diving.

    Then I heard that Martin R was doing CCR Cave training in Florida in November (when I will be there with business) - so it all fell into place.
    I would like to seak advice from those cave divers here and especially those who live/have cave dived in Florida on what to expect, any advice and on preparation.

    I understand the water temp is 21 deg max and that dry suit is mandatory - is this correct?
    Would a 7mm wetsuit be suitable? Do most dive dry? I have a drysuit but preffer to dive wet if its possible - but then again I am a big girl when it comes to the cold.

    What do people mostly do for accomodation? Camping? Hotels?

    Is it a case of bring your own filled tanks or are there fill stations. Will they fill my non DOT spheres - or should I expect to have to transfill myself?

    For the post course fun dives I guess solo diving is frowned upon? Anyone want to buddy me :D

    For the post course fun dives what would be the 'must do' dives?

    Is there anywhere where DPVs can be hired?

    Any other advice/suggestions would be appreciated.

    Im really looking forward to this.

    Cheers
    Mike


    I'm assuming that you are staying in the Ginnie / High Springs area?

    You can use a wetsuit. However, most cavers tend to dive dry because after a few days of long decos. you start to lose core heat. I have used 5mm custom made Wetwear (DIR favorite) suits for some longish dives.

    The local area has some nice hotels at reasonable rates. Range - 40.00 - ++ US dollars. Type of lodging is dependent upon the rate you want to pay. Also, long term cabins are available in addition to camp sites. After a long day of training it's far nicer to return to a comfy room with amenities and no bugs. Plus with a campgroud you never know who's visiting around the corner. There are some strange folks out there.

    Gas is readily available in all flavors. I don't know how some proprietors will feel about Inconel spheres, but it's not like they haven't seen them before. In fact, they see almost everything under the sun.

    As per DPV's....almost every caver has one, or more. I just don't know who rents.

    I believe you will find Fla. a cave diver's mecca and I'm sure the members of this list will have a plethora of recommendations too. You'll have a great time. Ken

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    Zak Sherlock (Wreckweasel) has rented scooters out there, ask him.

    I'd take the drysuit if I were you. I tore the neckseal on mine when I was there and good old Northern Diver had used the wrong kind of glue on it (Dustin Clesi told me to get it out of his shop as it was driving him mad trying to get the old glue off). I ended up borrowing one of those Cressi semi-dry thingies with the dry zip and was very cold. I trained with the Orlowskis and we were doing up to 7 dives between 40-120min every day. You get cold. If you go in the winter months, even though it's still warm it isn't warm enough to recover between dives.

    Solo diving was a big no-no when I was there, they had a real hard on against it. Most of the sites are paid entry places so there is always someone around to whinge.

    If you get hassled getting the spheres filled then why not take a decanting hose and just rent a stage of O2 and a stage of dil. I'm sure no-one will complain about them though.

    Also, expect the worst food you could ever imagine!!! It really is awful!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    I would like to seak advice from those cave divers here and especially those who live/have cave dived in Florida on what to expect, any advice and on preparation.

    I understand the water temp is 21 deg max and that dry suit is mandatory - is this correct?
    Would a 7mm wetsuit be suitable? Do most dive dry? I have a drysuit but preffer to dive wet if its possible - but then again I am a big girl when it comes to the cold.
    Dive dry, its far more reasonable for long dives/multi dive days. Its also your backup bouyancy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    What do people mostly do for accomodation? Camping? Hotels?
    If you're out with Martin, chances are you'll be based at Dive Outpost, they have accomodation on site (cheap and basic). So does rennaker..

    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    For the post course fun dives what would be the 'must do' dives?
    Depends on what you like really! Personally I'd recommend manatee (see if you can get martin to show you the friedmans route), ginnie (tourist central but fun), peacock system (hell, its 5 mins from dive outpost), twin cave and jackson.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    Is there anywhere where DPVs can be hired?
    Well, theres cave adventures (ed's place) up in mariana county (next to jackson blue and twin cave). He hires out silent subs, all round nice guy too! I beleive you can hire at EE too, but you'd need to check that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    Any other advice/suggestions would be appreciated.
    Mozzie reppelent, buy beers etc before sunday, try not to hum duelling banjo's too much, wheres theres a walmart, theres a fix for broken stuff.

    /Zak

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    Quote Originally Posted by lizardland

    Also, expect the worst food you could ever imagine!!! It really is awful!!!
    Wow! That coming from such a cullinary superpower as UK?
    The food is great if you know where to go. You can get everything from a simple T-bone to multicourse meal and good wine.

    Most of us dive dry. You will get cold after several hours in the water.
    Fills should not be a problem in most of the cave country fill stations.
    You might find your MK little too bulky for majority but the most turisty caves.
    Make sure that you have your bailout sorted out before hopping on the rented DPV. Nothing like swimming out 3000' on 80cuft at 300'

    There are hundreds of cool caves once you get off the beaten path.

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    If you already have a dry suit, bring it. Otherwise, being on CCR, I'd assume you could get away with a 7mm so long as you keep your dives short enough...which you might since it'll be your initial cave training. Maybe not though, depending on what instrctr and fellow classmates that you'll have....you may be able to soak it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drmike
    Then I heard that Martin R was doing CCR Cave training in Florida in November (when I will be there with business) - so it all fell into place.

    So I will be winging my way over to Florida with my trusty MK15.5 to get myself some training and will be doing some 'fun' cave dives after my course.
    Can you actually do cave training from scratch on CCR in the USA? If so, is it wise?

    The reason I ask is that in Australia all basic cave training is done open circuit which seems logical to me in terms of establishing the basic principles of cave diving, without complicating things by adding CCR.

    Just read the threads on "CCR and zero viz", or "which CCR for cave diving" to realise that CCR cave diving has its own set of problems. I don't feel really strongly about this, just put it up for discussion.

  9. #9
    RBW Member Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Harris
    Can you actually do cave training from scratch on CCR in the USA? If so, is it wise?

    The reason I ask is that in Australia all basic cave training is done open circuit which seems logical to me in terms of establishing the basic principles of cave diving, without complicating things by adding CCR.

    Just read the threads on "CCR and zero viz", or "which CCR for cave diving" to realise that CCR cave diving has its own set of problems. I don't feel really strongly about this, just put it up for discussion.

    Hi Harry,

    Yes IANTD and ANDI both allow teaching of Cave on CCR.

    IANTD however actually have a formal 'CCR Cave course'- which is what Ill be doing.

    Personally I want to be trained to dive caves whilst I'm using the equipment I will use in caves after my course and that I am familiar with.

    I am sure from some perspectives it would be easier doing the course on OC but I'm in no rush and will be there training/practicing for 10 days (course is 6 days, 600mins of diving)

    As I haven't dived OC for years (other than when bailing or staging the RB to get through tight (wreck) restrictions) I would I'm sure be far more comfortable as well - and likely less task loaded :D

    But these are just my assumptions and I have no real experience yet to back this up, so I would be interested to know more about your view on CCR cave training/diving and the differences/complexity of using CCR over OC in caves (Im hoping this will be covered in the course)

    The 'Closed circuit rebreather cave course' details can be found here :- http://www.iantd.com.au/pdfs/CaveWreck.pdf

    Ive been checking out your website and enjoyed the pics of the caves.

    Cheers
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by lof
    Wow! That coming from such a cullinary superpower as UK?
    Ha! From a man that comes from the land of boiled pork and dumplings that's rich!!! :)

    I guess I'm too used to cave diving in France. American food is OK as long as you like it covered in gravy, cheese made of plastic and bread from re-formed sponges. And lite beer... what the hell is lite beer?

    Actually, I'm a Scot, home of the fish supper, salt and sauce, bridies, deep fried pizzas, chicken tikka masala, square sausage, pints of 60/- and haggis.

    Mike, if you're staying in/around Live Oak, it's a dry county :-(

    I've stayed in Rennaker's trailer, it's great. I really felt like I had found my level, beer, rack of ribs from the petrol station across the road, TV turned up full, Lay-Z-Boy recliner. All I needed was a shotgun and a pick up.

    If you're going in the winter months, it does get cold at night/early morning.

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