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Thread: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

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    Exclamation Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Hi all,

    I just posted an article about CCRs and cave diving: why are they a good tool for cave exploration and what are their limits.

    http://www.rebreatherworld.com/showthread.php?t=7258

    (will I get some "green" for this one??)

    I'm interested to know who are the RBW members who use a CCR for cave diving, which CCR and why?

    Cheers

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Nice article Cedric, thanks!

    I use my YBOD for cave diving here in Finland. We don`t have any natural caves but only man made holes :)

    I have a BOV fitted with Swagelok QC6 connectors ro a stage. I use the breather because I like to have good gas all the time and don`t like the noice of OC gear. Mostly my cave dives are around 30-60m. We have some deeper tunnels also that we are starting to dive. The problem here is that the water is so cold all the time, it is +4 Celsius when you go deeper than 15m

    JH
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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Hi Cedric,

    You touched on a huge benefit, that being weight savings. Our recent trip to Northern Western Australia quite simply would have been near impossible on OC. Exploring and mapping mainly in water 40m-110m for up to 7 hours at a time, for 6 divers for about 10 days, would have needed a fleet of helicopters to bring the gas in and who can afford that?. Rebreathers allowed us to achieve a lot of exploration that would have been a nightmare on OC.

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    C,
    nice summary, neutral wording, well done (green).
    I was thinking of other advantages and disadvantages.
    rebreathers can be more bulky and hence restrict access to some sites, but Bret Hemphil (spelling?) on his modified KISS demonstrated that this does not need to be the case (he sidemounts a lot).

    I was wondering if there could be further distinctions between units? OK, beware of unit-bashing (which I really don't want to encourage).

    sideline: I'm interested to know who are the RBW members who use a CCR for cave diving, which CCR and why? I dive a Meg, lived in Florida for several years (now in exile in the UK) and enjoyed the advantage a rebreather has over conventional SCUBA. Downside: suddenly all systems appear rather small. My recommendation: If you want to dream about ever reaching the end of the line (instead of actually doing it), don't go rebreather
    The Meg is fairly streamlined (I like the tighter caves, was sidemounting a bit before), allows easy modification should I want one, and takes a beating without much damage.
    /sideline

    I just returned from a (long overdue) vacation in Florida, staying 4 weeks with Gregg Stanton (wakulla diving). He has a very different approach than what else I have seen out ther, and the tries to have every (major) CCR available for users to look at, compare and if desired test-dive in the pool. It does take the mystery out of a lot of units when you see and dive them side by side. Without, people tend to drool over whatever they think/were told/heard someone important say what the best/coolest/latest gismo is. I think when I bought mine I based my decision on similar aspects (guilty as charged), but after the comparison I think I would make the same decision again. I suppose that horse has been beaten enough?

    Things learned:
    - every system has unique advantages and disadvantages
    - every system has problems sometimes
    - the devil is, as usual in the detail
    - the concepts of avoiding the devil are very different: from simplicity to computer-does-everything, and about every possibility in between
    - OTS-CL still gives you best breathing results
    - except for one unit, all the commercially available systems use some form of electronics (even if only for display) that was more or less designed over a decade ago and received little change since then - and, might I suggest, not because it is already perfect (IMHO)
    - Training is as important to the usage as the system itself. There seem to be 50% commonalities between systems, and 50% uniqueness required in training. I hear more and more that training overall seems very poor, with lots of people receiving vertification without having the required knowledge (I am not bashing here as I did not mention any specific agencies, just repeating the "talk on the street")
    - Open-water requirements for a rebreather are probably very much different than cave-requirements? (up for discussion) If the only type of diving was non-cave, I would probably make a different decision for rebreather puchase.

    I'm sure there were more lessons learned, but I can't remember them at the moment, and lunch break is over

    - Joerg

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Very nice article... Thanks for taking the time to share.

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Nice article.

    I'm using a Meg because I felt it was the unit that best suited my needs.

    The reasons I use it for cave diving are several.

    First, I do not think it is a good idea to switch back and forth OC to CC. You need to maintain, perfect and refine a skill set that allows you to continuously improve.....always...the training mentality should never end.

    Second is that I believe it enhances safety for the reasons you already mentioned.

    Third is that it permits greater access due to its ease of portability. Obviously, this is somewhat limited by the need for bailout gasses but, nonetheless, it is still far easier to transport than OC.

    There was one aspect of this which your article did not mention and that is discipline. I believe discipline is the most important attribute a diver can have, especially a CCR diver in a cave where it is soooo easy to successfully exceed your limits and get away with it so often that is seems safe to do....until the day something goes wrong, which could take years to happen.

    While experience is a very important asset to have I think discipline is even more important.

    Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by cedricverdier  View Original Post
    Hi all,

    I just posted an article about CCRs and cave diving: why are they a good tool for cave exploration and what are their limits.

    http://www.rebreatherworld.com/showthread.php?t=7258

    (will I get some "green" for this one??)

    I'm interested to know who are the RBW members who use a CCR for cave diving, which CCR and why?

    Cheers

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Quote Originally Posted by York  View Original Post
    C,

    I'm sure there were more lessons learned, but I can't remember them at the moment, and lunch break is over

    - Joerg
    Hi Joerg,

    Thanks for the comments. As soon as you have another lunch break, feel free to add more comments!

    Cheers

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Thanks cedric, good info to retain. Dave (wedivebc), MikeP and I are heading to Mexico in january to do full CCR Cave with Matt at protec, I am looking forward to an excellent course and learning the ins and (especially) the outs of cave diving on CCR. thanks again for taking the time to do the write up.

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe  View Original Post

    There was one aspect of this which your article did not mention and that is discipline. I believe discipline is the most important attribute a diver can have, especially a CCR diver in a cave where it is soooo easy to successfully exceed your limits and get away with it so often that is seems safe to do....until the day something goes wrong, which could take years to happen.

    While experience is a very important asset to have I think discipline is even more important.

    Joe
    Joe,

    I'm a YBOD diver in open water and an avid OC diver in caves. I have not felt quite comfortable as of yet to go for the CCR in caves. Hopefully, this year will see me try my YBOD in the Florida caves. I have thought long and hard for some time about the same thing in quotes above. It is so easy to become complacent regarding distance with a CCR in a cave. I have read several times on this board, people claiming that cave diving on CCR is no big deal, but for me, it is a huge leap going from OC to CCR in a cave. In some ways, I wonder if the people who have gone directly to Cave CCR training and bypassing OC Cave training, really develope an appreciation for the extreme nature of this type of diving.

    As you and Cedric have mentioned, there are certainly a lot of benefits to CCR Cave diving, I just hope that people have sufficient respect for the real challenges. I look forward to crossing over to this type of cave exploration soon.

    Regards,
    Randy

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    Re: Article: Rebreathers and cave diving

    Hi Cedric, thanks for the excellent article. You summed up all the benefits and concerns that come with CCR cave diving very well. And I agree, a HUD is crucial, as it is in all CCR diving, IMHO.

    The flexability in time management and range of exploration is really the biggest adavntage of CCR cave diving. Very good point about the dil mix having a much bigger range for exploration/unexpected depth changes than having to anticipate/guess for an OC mix. -Andy

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