Written by Jim Wyatt
Tyler and Sarah confirmed up in Excessive Springs, Florida able to undertake their cave diver coaching class. That they had all the right gear, DiveRite sidemount rigs and regulators, shiny LED main lights and good backups, drysuits, Shearwater Perdix computer systems and backups. Most significantly, they introduced a strong background in open water diving and are each PADI sidemount instructors with a number of hundred logged dives.
They broke their coaching into two separate weeks to have the ability to do the 20 dives we accomplished for his or her certification. We dived at a number of totally different Florida caves, together with Satan’s Ear, Devils’ Eye, Ginnie ballroom, Little River, Peacock I, Olsen Sink and Madison Blue Springs. Every time we entered one of many springs, we had a minimal of 18 metres/60 feetof visibility, and extra typically 24-27 metres/80-90 ft, with water temperatures starting from 20º-22ºC 68º-72ºF with backside occasions starting from 30 to 90 minutes.
Earlier than their arrival, they did loads of their teachers with an e-learning program and a Zoom assembly with me, then we added a day of classroom periods viewing a customized PowerPoint presentation that I've massaged during the last 15 years educating cave and different tec courses. We have been capable of conduct a PADI Tec-40 Diver class with them and spent a whole lot of time engaged on the information critiques, classroom periods and last examination. We have been in a position to make use of the spring basin on the Ginnie Ballroom, which varies in depth from 1 metre/three ft to five metres/15 ft as an open water surroundings.
We additionally carried out dry-land drills that included following a line with eyes closed, operating a reel, touch-contact exits and studying the system of markers and arrows cave divers use to help in navigation.
As soon as within the water, we headed into the cavern zone for the primary few dives, all the time within reach of the cavern entrance. We labored on buoyancy management, trim, operating reels whereas specializing in protecting rigidity within the line all the time (a unfastened line is an entanglement hazard), main tie-offs and secondary tie-offs, and extra. Emergency expertise includedpractice exiting the cavern with our lights off and eyes closed simulating zero visibility. (We used the Bump-and-Go strategy for this sort exit, somewhat than a touch-contact exit). Additionally, we practiced out-of-gas exits with every diver take flip as simulated being out of fuel and offering fuel. For this drill we used touch-contact and a few of the new TecRec targeted COVID-19 protocols.
Subsequent we moved onto the large cave, the place we navigated as a lot as 300 metres/1000 ft into the Peacock Springs cave Peanut Tunnel, the place a lot of the sections of cave are giant sufficient to drive a full-sized pickup truck via and 18-21 metres/60-70 ft of visibility. Most depth in that part of cave is about 18 metres/60 ft, with one part as shallow as 5.5 metres/18 ft!
At Satan’s Ear/Eye we penetrated the cave about 180 metres/600 ft with a most depth of about 30 metres/100 ft and visibility to match. This can be a lovely cave system situated close to Excessive Springs, Florida, US (5.5 km/three river miles from my house) with over 7,620 metres/25,000 ft of surveyed and lined passageways.
On the finish of those two weeks Tyler and Sarah earned their PADI TecRec Cave Diver Distinctive Specialty and NSS-CDS full cave diver scores.