A lot of divers today regard cave diving as a dangerous yet thrilling experience, mostly suited for people who seek extreme adventures. To tell you the truth, cave diving is a very safe, exciting, and fulfilling activity, long as it’s executed properly. Cave diving, in fact, opens a whole new window for divers into the underwater world. If you are looking to become a cave diver, you are likely to get that sense of exploration, which overcomes your whole being as you descend into the water. However, the first and most important thing on your journey to becoming one is to complete the technical diving training and we’re here to talk about it.
In this post, we will be discussing in detail all the things that you should know about technical diving training, including the basic cave diving techniques. If you’re curious about how it all works or what steps you need to take, then you’re on the right page. While the answers to these questions may depend on the agency of your choice, it should still give you an idea of whether cave diving is for you or not. Keep on reading this post if you want to know more.
What is Technical Diving?
Before we proceed with the discussions, it is vital that you know first what technical diving is. Simply put, technical diving is when a diver isn’t allowed to ascend to the water’s surface due to decompression obligation. When a diver descends under the water, he or she is required to perform decompression stops to be able to prevent the so-called ‘decompression sickness’.
Before you seriously consider your technical diving training, you should be informed that cave diving is not for the weak-hearted. The style alone requires a serious yet confident approach. To be honest, most divers have the capability to complete the certification process. However, this is where you ask yourself if this is something that you really want to do. A careful evaluation of the discipline itself is very important, as you will be required to perform every single dive meticulously. If this all sounds like something you see yourself doing, then the underwater magical environments await you.
The Risks of Technical Diving
As mentioned, a technical diver is at risk for decompression sickness, which naturally occurs once nitrogen is trapped inside the body via respiration while ascending, as the pressure drastically decreases. Stops are mandatory as the diver is ascending to prevent pressure difference that may be too big. Control on buoyancy is also vital, as it increases the efficiency of nitrogen off-gassing.
Proper breathing is also very important, as it allows efficient metabolism. Trim, which is the proper technical diving position, effectively avoids stirring up the sediments at the bottom and is regarded to be one of the most efficient and effective movements under the water. Finning techniques are also essential, as it avoids overexertion, especially when a cave diver gives his or her maximum performance.
If this all sounds complicated to you, then you have the reason to sign up on a technical diving training, which covers mostly the basic cave diving techniques. There are various agencies in the country that offer the training course and these have been proven to be of great help to aspiring cave divers, by allowing them to get the certification that they need to be able to perform cave diving.
You may complete the skills part of the technical diving training in multiple places, which allows you to get the feel of the water sport you’re trying to get into. You also get to feel the real experience and may hopefully inspire you to become one level higher than your current skill level. In fact, you can find multiple cave diving destinations around the world. There’s the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and there are a couple more in Florida, United States and in Australia.
What Cave Diving Equipment Do You Need?
First of all, you need a tank, in which there are two different ways to carry it into the cave. While the sidemount is less popular, it’s been developing fast and we see it likely replacing the traditional back-mount setup in the near future.
In the sidemount, you have two tanks you are carrying under each arm. The tanks will be alongside your body and it also comes with two fully independent supplies of air. This may all look a bit awkward on land but once you’re in the water, you would realize that this is the most comfortable setup there is. Though this setup normally takes some getting used to, you should be able to perform swapping the regulators often because it ensures the equal usage of gas. In the earlier times, cave divers use backmount tanks, which can be a bit prohibitive, especially when trying to squeeze into a very small space in a cave. While this is the case, backmount tanks have also been proven to be adequate for most diving sessions.
Aside from the twin tanks, you are also going to need torches. You can easily purchase a special cave-style torch, which you can use your primary source of light down there. Here’s a tip: rather than taking your focus on lumen power, you should instead concentrate on the focus of the beam. With this, a light that is dimmer would be put to better use in the dark cave than a bright video light. Your spare torches could be backups and these could be in any style that you prefer.
Lastly, you’re also going to need some reels, in fact, lots of it. We do recommend, however, that you talk to your instructor first before you starting buying the said equipment. Doing so only ensures that you’re going after the correct style and therefore, preventing you to make an expensive mistake.
While technical diving training is something that you should complete before being a certified cave diver, it would be such a fulfilling activity. Now that we have covered the basics, it’s now up to you to decide whether this water sport is something that you see yourself doing and is something that you actually enjoy.
Technical diving should be taken seriously and this is the very reason why there are literally hundreds of agencies that train you to become a cave diver. As mentioned, there are several cave diving spots in the country, which allows you to experience the real feeling of being a cave diver before you actually go on a cave diving session. Hopefully, we have been of great help in providing you with the basics of cave diving.