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Thread: Breather use in British Caves

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    Breather use in British Caves

    Lo all - am doing my cavern course with Martyn Farr in July and one of the things he said on the phone was that there are probably only 2 or 3 places in the UK that you can really use a breather.

    I guess as they are so confined! wonder if any one fancies sharing where they might be!

    Stuart

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by schford
    Lo all - am doing my cavern course with Robin Farr in July and one of the things he said on the phone was that there are probably only 2 or 3 places in the UK that you can really use a breather.

    I guess as they are so confined! wonder if any one fancies sharing where they might be!

    Stuart
    Hi Stuart

    I'm assuming you mean Martyn Farr?

    The probable Venues being refered to are:

    Dinas Silica Mines - South Wales.
    Noxon Park iron mines - Forest of Dean.
    Linley Caverns - Aldridge, W Midlands.
    Holme bank chert mine - Derbyshire.

    Oh well, I've just thought of four!

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    um wookey hole..
    5...

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    Hi Yes it wast Martyn - ooops!! Come em coming

    Thanks v much all.

    Stuart

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Beanie
    um wookey hole..
    5...
    Mmmm, maybe?

    But anyway, there's no access for us Scuba types , as cave diving is only possible through the CDG at Wookey.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    I'm assuming you mean Martyn Farr?

    The probable Venues being refered to are:

    Dinas Silica Mines - South Wales.
    Noxon Park iron mines - Forest of Dean.
    Linley Caverns - Aldridge, W Midlands.
    Holme bank chert mine - Derbyshire.
    I've dived the Silica Mines with Martyn - he was using his KISS I was on my D5.

    Never dived Noxon Park but I've seen photos of a Draeger in there.

    Linley lots of time on closed circuit. Has been dived using KISS, Inspiration and Mk15.5 also.

    Holme Bank can be dived on an oxygen rebreather as it is less than 6 m deep.

    Wookey is being pushed on rebreathers. 1st rebreather dive there was in 1946. Someone took a Draeger to 22 a while ago.

    Nidd Heads is also being explored on rebreathers.

    John Volanthen did the Keld Head - Kingsdale trip on a rebreather.

    Rebreathers have been used recently in Hurtle Pot, Joint Hole, Pwll-y-Cwm etc.

    The CDG started diving on rebreathers after the war - there are litterally loads of caves that were originally explored on them - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, Swildon's Hole, Stoke Lane Slocker, Peak Cavern amonst others.

    It all depends on what sort of rebreather you have. I would advise you to get some experience on open circuit in caves before you rodded off on a rebreather in them.

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    RBW Founder schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford has a reputation beyond repute schford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Price

    It all depends on what sort of rebreather you have. I would advise you to get some experience on open circuit in caves before you rodded off on a rebreather in them.
    Hi duncan,

    why would you advise OC before an RB - I think RBs are much safer than OC and in an overhead enviroment i want to be using the kit I use for 100% of my diving which is my meg....

    Thanks in advance...

    Stuart

    PS thanks for all the info on caves etc

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    Stuart,

    To my understanding if the cave is shallow and has a spike profile (variation in depth) a rebreather might not be the best choice for that kind of diving. Plus cave diving and cave classes can be extremly overwhelming add the factor of a new ccr diver, that is a lot of task loading. When I dove with Matt and Mike from protek,, they explained to me as much as they love their rebreathers there are certain caves that they dive strickly OC because the depth of the caves are so diffreent.

    Martin
    Quote Originally Posted by schford
    Hi duncan,

    why would you advise OC before an RB - I think RBs are much safer than OC and in an overhead enviroment i want to be using the kit I use for 100% of my diving which is my meg....

    Thanks in advance...

    Stuart

    PS thanks for all the info on caves etc

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by schford
    Why would you advise OC before an RB - I think RBs are much safer than OC and in an overhead enviroment I want to be using the kit I use for 100% of my diving which is my Meg.
    Martin addressed a couple of issues:

    Quote Originally Posted by dive2dive2000
    To my understanding if the cave is shallow and has a spike profile (variation in depth) a rebreather might not be the best choice for that kind of diving. Plus cave diving and cave classes can be extremly overwhelming add the factor of a new CCR diver, that is a lot of task loading.
    In essence, the sawtooth profile of many cave dives is wasteful of gas - especially in a C-CCR rather than M-CCR as John Volanthen observed when he did the Keld Head through trip - he owns a YBOD as well as an M-CCR of his own design. There are very few cave dives in the UK below 30 m, also there are not many penetrations over 500 m. Most of the stuff I do can be done with a pair of 12 or 15 l cylinders. Even with the most reliable CCR in the world you'd still be advised to take adequate bailout - there comes a point when you might as well use OC as you could do the dive with less gear.

    Secondly you'd better learn to walk before you try to run. Many divers are fixated by technology which should only be used where appropriate. For the large part I do far more cave dives OC than CC despite having a rebreather specifically desgined for cave use. In fact, I'm tempted to get rid of the rebreathers in view of the fact that I've used them for what I wanted.

    Thirdly, you will be very limited to where you can dive in the UK if you restrict yourself to CCR's. It depends on your motivation. As the chairman of the CDG observed at our AGM earlier this month: "Cave divers are like the SAS: there are those who say they are, but aren'tm and those that are, but won't talk about it." (at least not much)

    I think I've said enough.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Duncan & Mart,

    I appreciate the advice, I suspect my main motivation is maybe a cave or two in the UK (we have far too many nice wrecks) but get some training in so I can have a play in the systems in Florida when I am out there and probably Mexico and in those I suspect a CCR is probably a more appropriate tool.

    Stuart

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