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Thread: CCR Cave training

  1. #1
    RBW Member gmt-8 is an unknown quantity at this point gmt-8's Avatar
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    CCR Cave training

    Hello,

    I have 60+ hours on my Prism2 and thinking about cave training. I'm in California and any suggestions about location (Florida/Mexico), dive shop, instructor, etc are very welcome.

    Thank you,
    Vitaly

    UPD: Wrong forum. Please ignore/remove the post.
    Last edited by gmt-8; 15th December 2017 at 23:55.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member divemedic85 is an unknown quantity at this point divemedic85's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    I am doing cave ccr 17-27 feb in florida with the Jon and Lauren Kieren in high springs. there two spots left in the class if you are interested.

  3. #3
    RBW Member tbone1004 is an unknown quantity at this point tbone1004's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    so to start off with the why, then we will go on the where, then we'll go with the who.

    Now, the question is whether doing it on CCR is the right decision in the first place vs. learning to cave dive on OC and after getting 50-100 cave dives, then starting to use the rebreather.
    I personally sit in the camp of once your CCR sh!ts the bed, you are an OC diver and you have to know how to manage gas for the long way out. In the ocean it is a lot different because you can pretty much make a direct ascent. With all of the stuff going on in your cave course, I personally believe that taking the course on OC and getting that sorted for a bit, then do the cave crossover *usually only a day or two and goes over a lot of different bailout methods and troubleshooting of the unit to figure out how to stay on the unit for as long as possible*. I really believe that the cave course itself has so much going on as well as the rebreather specific bits to work out, that you will get a lot more out of it if you do it on OC vs. the CCR.

    So at this point, my opinion is that you will get more out of the course if you do it on open circuit, so now we can discuss the where.
    The where should really be where you intend to do most of your cave diving. Florida and Mexico have two very different styles of caves with the biggest difference for this discussion being depth. Mexico caves are very shallow *typically 30ft* and Florida caves are usually much deeper *typically 90ft*, obviously exceptions to both.
    For the caves in Mexico, there are several that are trimix depths, but you obviously won't be doing those in cave class. Same as in Florida there are several that are shallower.
    Based on that, the Florida caves are in general more logical for CCR diving because you get much more benefit from the rebreather due to the gas consumption on OC essentially being twice what it is in Mexico. To warrant the CCR's in Mexico you have to be doing a LOT of navigation to stay in the water long enough to have brought it in the first place. While CCR's are used in Mexico, I would not say that learning to cave dive in Mexico would be the best decision if you want to do it on CCR.
    That said, the Mexico caves are beautiful and based on what you want to do in cave diving, you may well decide to go to Mexico and learn to cave dive there, but I would highly recommend you do that in sidemount, on open circuit to really get the most out of it. Florida caves have a lot more varied environments with several having serious flow, a couple that actually siphon, etc etc. From what I have seen, most divers have an easier time going from Florida to Mexico caves than the other way around, but Florida cave diving isn't for everyone, and many of the big name Mexico cave divers have never been and have no real desire to come to Florida to dive those caves. I frankly can't blame them as there is still so much left to discover in Mexico and they don't have to worry about annoying things like decompression and shivering at the end of the dive even in a drysuit.... *Mexico caves are about 78* year round, Florida caves are about 70* year round*

    So with all of that, I think you are best served going to Florida, taking the cave course in OC, but doing it with a CCR instructor, and they may have a different opinion on OC vs. CCR. Specific name? I just finished my Meg course with Ted McCoy. He has trained most all of the KUR divers *the guys doing the monstrous exploration dives in FL right now*, he's been teaching cave and rebreather diving for 20 years, and is still doing a lot of big fun dives vs. just teaching all the time.
    Paul Heinerth was my cave instructor about 10 years ago, and he is tremendous as well.
    Edd Sorenson is a fantastic ccr and cave instructor as well though I will say that I prefer the Peacock general area for training to the Mill Pond, but you need to interview him as well.
    Call them, and talk to them. Tell them Tom Nelson told you to contact them to interview and get their opinions. None of them do cookie cutter classes, so it will all be based on how you perform in the water, and what you want to get out of it. They may say to bring the rebreather and do a couple days on OC, then the last few days on CCR, they may say to do the whole thing on CCR or OC, etc. The best thing you can do though is talk to them to have them help guide you and figure out who is going to give you the class that you feel is best for you

  4. #4
    Dave Tomblin wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone1004  View Original Post
    so to start off with the why, then we will go on the where, then we'll go with the who.

    Now, the question is whether doing it on CCR is the right decision in the first place vs. learning to cave dive on OC and after getting 50-100 cave dives, then starting to use the rebreather.
    I personally sit in the camp of once your CCR sh!ts the bed, you are an OC diver and you have to know how to manage gas for the long way out. In the ocean it is a lot different because you can pretty much make a direct ascent. With all of the stuff going on in your cave course, I personally believe that taking the course on OC and getting that sorted for a bit, then do the cave crossover *usually only a day or two and goes over a lot of different bailout methods and troubleshooting of the unit to figure out how to stay on the unit for as long as possible*. I really believe that the cave course itself has so much going on as well as the rebreather specific bits to work out, that you will get a lot more out of it if you do it on OC vs. the CCR.

    So at this point, my opinion is that you will get more out of the course if you do it on open circuit, so now we can discuss the where.
    The where should really be where you intend to do most of your cave diving. Florida and Mexico have two very different styles of caves with the biggest difference for this discussion being depth. Mexico caves are very shallow *typically 30ft* and Florida caves are usually much deeper *typically 90ft*, obviously exceptions to both.
    For the caves in Mexico, there are several that are trimix depths, but you obviously won't be doing those in cave class. Same as in Florida there are several that are shallower.
    Based on that, the Florida caves are in general more logical for CCR diving because you get much more benefit from the rebreather due to the gas consumption on OC essentially being twice what it is in Mexico. To warrant the CCR's in Mexico you have to be doing a LOT of navigation to stay in the water long enough to have brought it in the first place. While CCR's are used in Mexico, I would not say that learning to cave dive in Mexico would be the best decision if you want to do it on CCR.
    That said, the Mexico caves are beautiful and based on what you want to do in cave diving, you may well decide to go to Mexico and learn to cave dive there, but I would highly recommend you do that in sidemount, on open circuit to really get the most out of it. Florida caves have a lot more varied environments with several having serious flow, a couple that actually siphon, etc etc. From what I have seen, most divers have an easier time going from Florida to Mexico caves than the other way around, but Florida cave diving isn't for everyone, and many of the big name Mexico cave divers have never been and have no real desire to come to Florida to dive those caves. I frankly can't blame them as there is still so much left to discover in Mexico and they don't have to worry about annoying things like decompression and shivering at the end of the dive even in a drysuit.... *Mexico caves are about 78* year round, Florida caves are about 70* year round*

    So with all of that, I think you are best served going to Florida, taking the cave course in OC, but doing it with a CCR instructor, and they may have a different opinion on OC vs. CCR. Specific name? I just finished my Meg course with Ted McCoy. He has trained most all of the KUR divers *the guys doing the monstrous exploration dives in FL right now*, he's been teaching cave and rebreather diving for 20 years, and is still doing a lot of big fun dives vs. just teaching all the time.
    Paul Heinerth was my cave instructor about 10 years ago, and he is tremendous as well.
    Edd Sorenson is a fantastic ccr and cave instructor as well though I will say that I prefer the Peacock general area for training to the Mill Pond, but you need to interview him as well.
    Call them, and talk to them. Tell them Tom Nelson told you to contact them to interview and get their opinions. None of them do cookie cutter classes, so it will all be based on how you perform in the water, and what you want to get out of it. They may say to bring the rebreather and do a couple days on OC, then the last few days on CCR, they may say to do the whole thing on CCR or OC, etc. The best thing you can do though is talk to them to have them help guide you and figure out who is going to give you the class that you feel is best for you

    I am going to assume you are a very experienced cave diver with limited CCR experience. What's interesting about that is I disagree with everything you say in your post. I had about 3 years CCR experience when I took my cave training about 12 years ago in Mexico.
    I am not saying you're wrong, I'm saying my perspective comes from a completely opposite experience base.
    Cheers,

    Dave....

    www.wedivebc.com

  5. #5
    RBW Member tbone1004 is an unknown quantity at this point tbone1004's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    Quote Originally Posted by wedivebc  View Original Post
    I am going to assume you are a very experienced cave diver with limited CCR experience. What's interesting about that is I disagree with everything you say in your post. I had about 3 years CCR experience when I took my cave training about 12 years ago in Mexico.
    I am not saying you're wrong, I'm saying my perspective comes from a completely opposite experience base.
    that is a correct statement, however am curious to see the disagreements laid out and what your recommendations are.

  6. #6
    Dave Tomblin wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone1004  View Original Post
    that is a correct statement, however am curious to see the disagreements laid out and what your recommendations are.
    OK you've already stated you are a Florida cave diver mostly and we both agree Florida caves are better suited for CCR due to depth and flow. So why learn on OC if CCR is more suitable?

    I agree many Mexican caves are not conducive to CCR style diving. Many shallow up down profiles but the flip side of that is there are techniques you can employ to mitigate some of the issues with shallow sawtooth profiles such as manually maintaining loop PO2 above what your setpoint is. I set my meg to 0.5 SP but run my loop at around 1.0. I have the advantage of being able to control when to inject O2 and when to let the PO2 dip. This reduces gas consumption and buoyancy swings. No OC training will teach you that.

    I initially did my intro cave on OC ( strictly for logistical reasons) then returned to Mexico a year later to do my full cave. This I had to do from scratch BTW as CCR cave training at the time had to done from the ground up cavern->intro->full cave.

    I will admit I did benefit from the OC training at least in realizing my SAC rate after 3 years of CCR was much higher than expected. Took me a couple of days to get back to normal. So I don't believe doing OC cave training will give you a reliable benchmark for bailout range.

    The strategies for CCR dives are different as far as gas planning. You can putter along exploring every nook and crannie as you go along but you must never exceed your bailout range. Without the benefit of using your 1/3 consumption as your turnaround point you must test your range frequently. I usually go cave diving for a week or two once or twice a year. That gives me around 20 cave dives a year on average. Each cave diving trip starts with a bailout drill on the first dive. My buddy does one on the next dive. We compare the remaining bailout gas with what we expected our consumption to be and adjust our penetration range accordingly.

    As you gain experience on CCR you find it is not task loading to operate the unit as everything become second nature. I find diving OC task loading myself. Anyone engaging in CCR cave diving should have a reasonable amount of CCR experience in OW. I believe the training standards require 100 dives prior to taking CCR cave.

    When I dive in Mexico I usually seek out dives that are more CCR conducive. Blue Abyss, and The Pit are two that come to mind. I have done some really long shallow dives as well that would require lots of tanks on OC and on those dives manual setpoint control helps a lot in conserving gas.

    Like I say my background is different from yours so I see things from a different angle. I was composing my reply in my head after reading the OP and came across your post and thought how different your thinking was than mine.
    Cheers,

    Dave....

    www.wedivebc.com

  7. #7
    Dave Tomblin wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc has a reputation beyond repute wedivebc's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    Quote Originally Posted by gmt-8  View Original Post
    Hello,

    I have 60+ hours on my Prism2 and thinking about cave training. I'm in California and any suggestions about location (Florida/Mexico), dive shop, instructor, etc are very welcome.

    Thank you,
    Vitaly

    UPD: Wrong forum. Please ignore/remove the post.
    I suggest if you are taking a Prism 2 in a cave you remove the plastic cover as it could be a potential hazard if you get into a tight place and have to back out. Ask me how I know that
    Cheers,

    Dave....

    www.wedivebc.com

  8. #8
    RBW Member tbone1004 is an unknown quantity at this point tbone1004's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    Dave,
    manual setpoint control is really clutch in the caves, HAL doesn't know that you are only going up for a few ft and then heading right back down so for the O2 side it really saves a lot.

    So for me, the argument against Mx for CCR training is logistics related and whether it is worth it. An al80 should be good for 1000ft and about 2 hours of kicking around in most of the Mx caves *Florida is about half that*.
    To me I guess it is also whether CCR is a lifestyle or a logistical choice. CCR is a logistical choice for me vs. a lifestyle choice in cave diving, whereas sidemount is a lifestyle choice vs. a logistical choice. I won't bother taking my CCR into a dive that really doesn't warrant it or if the dive is that much easier if done on OC.

    I think the big one for me to say do it on OC is the amount of new cave divers I see during training that do not have solid technical diving backgrounds prior to coming into cave training. Buoyancy/trim/propulsion and reel work are all huge task loading events for them and if training is done on OC, it's a bit more forgiving. If the OP has all of those down, as I imagine you did, and know I did prior to going to cave training. If the CCR is a lifestyle choice and the diver has prior technical training, then doing it on CCR may make more sense, but I would still interview the instructors I mentioned as well as some others to see what their opinions are since they teach CCR and Cave students regularly so they will have some strong opinions based on their teaching history

  9. #9

    Re: CCR Cave training

    I took my ccr course with Jon and Lauren Kieren. I also took ccr classes with James Draker and Rob Mcgan.

    I HIGHLY recomend them.

  10. #10
    RBW Member dreamdive has disabled reputation dreamdive's Avatar
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    Re: CCR Cave training

    Having fun in Grand Cenote for >130 minutes. I would have never gotten in a cave on OC.
    Thanks to rebreather diving, I am comfortable exploring this wonderful world!
    Last edited by dreamdive; 29th December 2017 at 13:32.

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