Tech and Training

Technical Diving & Training

Full Cave Navigation Protocols in Mexico

Guide line in Cenote Chac Mool, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Photo by Larry Cohen.

I started cave diving in Italy in 1990. At that time, the rules were very clear, codified and related to the kind of caves that were encountered in my region. Very often, they were resurgences with current (sometimes strong) or sumps inside caves, with water ranging from crystal clear to the color of coffee and variable visibility, depending on the rains.

Defensive Diving, Part 2

“Dive the same way as you drive. Watch the ocean as you watch the road.”

In Part I of this two-part series (see issue 100), I made a correlation between scuba diving and driving a car, particularly in the context of learning how to anticipate and assess dangerous situations, make well-informed sensible decisions and stay safe—things that motorists tend to group together under the catch-all phrase of defensive driving.

Are dangerous and meaningless records being spurred on by recognition by Guinness Book of Records?

Depth record called into question

In September 2014, Egyptian national and technical diver Ahmed Gabr performed a deep dive off Dahab in the Egyptian Red Sea under the auspices and observation of adjudicators from The Guinness Book of Records. After the dive, Gabr was acknowledged for having reached the record depth of 332m, surpassing South African Nuno Gomes who made it to 318m in 2005, also off Dahab.

Diving Then and Now: The Wookey Hole Caves—Birthplace of Cave Diving

Penelope Powell and Graham Balcombe kitted up in Wookey Hole Cave for the first ever cave dive in 1935. Historical photo courtesy of Mendip Cave Registry and Archive Cave Diving Group.
Penelope Powell and Graham Balcombe kitted up in Wookey Hole Cave for the first ever cave dive in 1935. Historical photo courtesy of Mendip Cave Registry and Archive Cave Diving Group.

The beginnings of cave diving can be traced to the Wookey Hole Caves in England. And 85 years later, divers like Matt Jevon are still doing their part to discover this cavern’s full potential.

Getting Lined Up: Troubleshooting Sidemount Tank Configuration

A pair of divers wearing cleanly-configured sidemount kit. Cave photo by S.J. Alice Bennet.

I like sidemount. I will frequent­ly, jokingly, disparage the configuration, but I do like it. It can be comfortable and streamlined. It can be very flexible. There is an argument to be made for completely isolated redundancy. Mostly, it is good for moving through places no bigger than the space below your coffee table.

#RF3: Failure is NOT an Option: The Importance of CCR Checklists

Richie Kohler told the audience "The human element is most fallible. We prepare and train for equipment failure. We have a great advantage over pilots who cannot jump into another airplane mid flight. We can carry bailout systems and use them. But our checklists is our primary defense to not ever having to get there."

Human beings will make mistakes and have memory lapses. Richie Kohler

#RF3: Diving with Rebreathers

Richard Pyle is an early adopter of technical-diving practices and is known around the world as a rebreather diver and designer. He is a highly respected Ichthyologyist (in plain English a scientist who studies fish) and he has discovered many new species of fish.

A dive with a profound effect

When Richard Pyle was 19 he was living and diving the western Pacific Ocean off Palau. During his time there he suffered a very serious case of decompression sickness and became quadriplegic.

#RF3: Anatomy of a CCR Dive: A Comparison / Contrast

RF3 was convened primarily as a platform for discussion of various issues that may have an impact on the safety of diving with rebreathers. It was attended by many expert presenters and rebreather divers who contributed to these discussions.

It was recognised however that the forum would also attract some divers who were not rebreather users, but who were perhaps contemplating purchasing one, or simply interested in learning about them. For this reason the program included this presentation on the basics of rebreather devices.