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.
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.
I completed a Module 1 course on the Inspiration Classic back in the late ‘90s but found that my limited ability meant that maintaining situational awareness while also having to continually monitor handsets was very difficult. In the early 2000s, I also did a series of technical diving courses with Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), and I still rate these lessons as the most significant dive training that I have ever undertaken.
One of the least mysterious things about sidemount diving is how to rig a set of steel primary cylinders so they hang at diver’s sides as they are supposed to, rather than hanging pendulum-like below them. However, some still struggle to get it anywhere close to right. Perhaps this article will help.
Over the last half century, scuba diving—which was, in its earlier days, reserved for the elite, brave and courageous—has become a mainstream sport for the masses. On the one hand, this is very good. Millions of people get to see with their own eyes how diverse and exciting the underwater world is. On the other hand, diving can cause serious damage to coral reefs, which are rich in biodiversity, but extremely vulnerable to human impact.
In a previous article, I discussed some of the various definitions of learning, and focused on the following definition: Learning is a permanent, observable change in behaviour. Specifically, the article explored the second part of the definition and the learning outcomes that can be used to pin down the observable change in behaviour, which we are looking for.
Diving instruction has standards, qualifications, materials, governing bodies and best practices. So why do we see such poor examples of diving practice? Why do so many new divers struggle with the basic skills? Why do tech divers forget some key techniques? Is it poor instruction or something else?