Friday, December 24, 2010

Learning how to Cave Dive...........

In October Small Hope dive masters Joe and Antonio were lucky enough to go to Abaco and learn how to dive in caves. Here is an account of how the training went from dive master Joe

Cave Training Day 1

OK Antonio and I arrived on Abaco Island Friday afternoon and spent the evening in the classroom looking through the manual and watching the slide show. We are doing 4 courses Cavern Diver, Intro to Cave, Apprentice Cave Diver and Full Cave Diver. Our instructor Brian Kakuk who runs Bahamas Underground has been exploring and surveying the caves of the Bahamas for 20 years.

We started today by getting all our equipment together and running through some of the drills for laying lines, low visibility and gas management issues in the yard where questions were easy to ask...

Trying on all the gear



We then went down to Mermaid reef a shallow 10’ dive to practice what we had learnt in the yard and get used to the new equipment setup. We spent over an hour doing line drills, practising buoyancy and doing out of air situations.
After lunch we did our first cavern dive at Dan’s Cave which was spectacular...

Cave Training Day 2


Today has been a busy day we have done 3 dives in 3 different caves all staying inside the cavern zone. The first was at Magic Blue Hole which is an enormous cone with the top cut off the pool is about 30’ across but just below the surface it opens out to about 100’ and it is DEEP.
Magic Blue Hole

For the next dive we went back to Dan’s Cave Which is a MASSIVE Cavern but it is silty so you have to be careful with buoyancy and fining.

Brian showing us Dan's Cave

Then we did Reel Breaker which is one of the ocean blue holes as our last cavern dive. This one was flowing so hard you had to drag yourself along the bottom to get in but the ride on the way out was fun and the amount of lobsters in the cavern was staggering.

Once we got back to the shop we tidied up and then took the test.

Cave Training Day 3


WOW started Intro to cave today and did 2 mind blowing dives in Dan’s cave. We are allowed to go past the STOP sign now and into the dark. WOW Check out this video I found of Dan’s Cave they go much further than us... We got to about their 03:40 mark

Cave Training Day 4

OK so today we have finished off intro to cave with two amazing dives the first was at Dan’s cave and the second at Ralph’s cave.We PASSED the exam so we are starting Apprentice Cave tomorrow. Yeah!!

Cave Training Day 5

Now its all starting to come together we did 2 dives at Dan,s Cave today the first was 120’ for 75mins and the second was 74’ for 104mins. We are allowed to go deeper and stay longer now and do some more complex navigation which opens up much more of the cave. Today we went to the Good Lands and the Bad Lands.

Cave Training Day 6

Two more dives out of the way today and we are done with apprentice cave. Tomorrow we are starting Full Cave which means that we will have to do more of the planning and navigation ourselves. Today we dived a new cave called Lost Reel it was darker and spookier than the others. There are the remains of crocodile skeletons and giant tortoise shells preserved in the oxygen free water it was a strange place. The second dive was back at Dan’s cave, here we did the second half of a circuit that we had set up the day before.

Cave Training Day 7

Full Cave started today and we were back at Dan’s Cave for 2 dives. Now we are doing more complex navigation with multiple jumps and we are going deeper in to the cave system.

Cave Training Day 8 LAST DIVES

We have done our last two dives for the course today and all has gone well. We dived at Dan’s cave this morning and Ralph’s Cave after lunch, both dives were spectacular and I am going to miss not diving in caves every day.
We have still got to take the final exam but we are going to do it tomorrow which gives us time to study up It is also good to have a night off book work.
Tomorrow Brian is going to take us on a special dive which we are excited about it will be much longer and more challenging than the dives we did for the course but there will be no skills to do which will be nice...

Fangorn Forest


Today we have gone deep into Dan’s cave to an area called Fangorn Forest. It is about 2000’ into the cave and you have to drop down to 150’ for a bit so it is a long dive with some long deco stops on the way out. The dive was 120mins long and there was a lot of swimming to get there and back but it was amazing

Small Hope has two more cave certified dive masters. So a big congratulations to Joe and Antonio. Pin It Now!

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