Author Topic: Getting started  (Read 8006 times)

Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« on: July 03, 2013, 06:46:32 am »
Hi all

I have been caving for about 7 years now and did my first try dive last night with the hope of getting the courses done to let me try some cave diving

Any help of advice would be amazing

I am based in Derbyshire

Yours
Ewan
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 07:20:34 am »
Contact the Cave Diving Group (Derbyshire Section). This is perhaps best done once you know how to dive but there's no reason you couldn't sit in on a meeting or two in the meantime just to get a feel for what it's all about.
Do lots of swimming and (if possible) snorkelling.
Learn basic diving skills at a sensible pace and don't miss anything out. (Be sure to learn each individual skill properly before moving on to the next.)
Do as much open water diving as possible - there is no substitute for hours in the water.
Examine your motives for diving in caves very carefully - this will help inform which direction you go in further down the line.
Don't try and progress too fast; sooner or later something will bite and you need to be able to deal with any issues (multiple issues?) confidently. Remember, the surface is not an option.
Read as much as possible about diving generally and also cave diving specifically.
Cave diving is not really something to dabble in - if you're going to do it then give it 100%. This makes it a lot safer.

Oh, and start saving up . . .

Offline ah147

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2013, 08:03:48 am »
Diving's so awesomely complicated, even in open water, once you start extending bottoms times and confining the spaces and solo diving even more so.

I used to wreck dive a lot, not caves though, but I'm getting back into it currently. Next time you get yourself out on a Thursday (evening) ask me and I'll put you in contact with a proper club.

Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2013, 09:30:16 am »
Thanks lads !


What's the best diving line to go down BSAC ? Or PADI
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2013, 12:07:52 pm »
Both have pros and cons.

I'm not involved with either and what follows may be slightly unfair (as it's not based on great experience of either) but many people would concur that PADI is quick (which may suit busy people) but won't necessarily give you great experience.

BSAC tends to be slow (as you often attend pool sessions / lecture weekly, in a club situation) but arguably provides more experience - not to mention the social side of joining a club.

Word of advice - don't mention you're learning to dive in order to be a cave diver; there are still some clubs out there who may find it hard to come to terms with this motive. Also, try and give something back to the club in some way (i.e. don't just "take") and you'll probably find this oils the wheels of efficiency re making progress.

You may find that open water diving is a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable end in itself, even to the extent of abandoning your original idea of cave diving! There's nothing wrong with that of course. Just take care . . .

Offline Pipster

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2013, 02:23:56 pm »
Hi Ewan,

I can't off any real advice, and i'm pretty sure that Pitlamp's contribution is infallible. :thumbsup:

However, if you wanted to talk to someone face-to-face, then you could try OCC member Simon Brooks.

Also, if you haven't read The Great Caving Adventure by Martyn Farr, then I thoroughly recommend it. There are many great (and some sobering) accounts of cave diving, and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! I can lend it to you if you want (open to Ash too). You may find it in the OCC library too.

Phil.
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Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2013, 04:41:57 pm »
That would be ace Phil
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Offline jarvist

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2013, 11:41:42 am »
Just to chime in with Pitlamp:-
I learnt to dive in 09/10 with a BSAC club, after 6 yrs caving. The CDG was always in the back of my mind, but I agree with Pitlamp & keep your own counsel & just learn to dive with the open water club at first. You might not even like diving, or find you have physiological issues that make clearing your ears difficult + painful without surgery.

BSAC is perhaps slow, but usually the clubs run on a yearly training cycle, starting in the Autumn with pool sessions + theory lectures over the winter, followed by the open water lessons in spring ready for the summer dive season. So you sort of enter at one end & you'll be whisked along. And cheaper, as you're not paying the instructors. As the clubs are run by volunteers they are extremely variable in activity and quality of the teaching.

Sea / wreck diving is surprisingly expensive - boats are massive holes in the ocean into which money is poured. It's great fun but not massively relevant to UK cave diving, except for an easy way to get deep-ish experience & hone your buoyancy skills doing deco.
 
However, shore diving I find is extremely similar to UK sump diving, and cheap as a result of the relatively low gas consumption (small bottles, no need for nitrox, wetsuit acceptable) + lack of having to pay for a boat.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2013, 12:16:47 pm »
There's nothing I'd disagree with in Jarv's post above; he knows what he's on about. If you ultimately decide to apply to the Derbyshire Section you'll soon meet him.

Ewan - look out for a PM from me with a bit more information.

Offline dalepgray

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2013, 01:03:29 pm »
Just to chip with some advice, the CDG only need an Open water qualification for you to get started, but you need to do enough open water diving to get comfortable in the water, a cave dive is not the venue to polish your diving, my advice would be to do plenty of open water diving before venturing into a cave dive.

This is the advantage of joining a BSAC Club as it will give you plenty of in water time, PADI is quicker but you will be qualified in 5 pool sessions and 4 open water dives, leaving you to sort out further experience.

So for Cave diving join BSAC - this is despite me build a PADI Instructor  :)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2013, 04:23:34 pm »
Dale - I'm glad that you (as an open water instructor) agree with what I said above about BSAC.

There is of course NO SUBSTITUTE for hours in the water in varied conditions, locations, temperatures, depths, visibilities, etc, etc.

The BSAC gets berated by some divers but I'm not convinced that's fair. I count myself as a fairly experienced diver (thousands of dives logged) but a while ago circumstances led me to join the BSAC. (All to do with a lady friend you see.) So I never let on I was already a diver and I just did whatever they asked me to and went to the lectures, purely to see what it was like. I found the club's members were very friendly, the standard of their lectures was very good - and the training sessions in baths and in open water were very safe. If that's representative of BSAC generally I'd have no hesitation in encouraging you to do it that way. I really enjoyed it, even though I knew everything they were "teaching" me, as they were a great bunch.

PADI is also very good - especially if you have limited time to get your ticket - and you're disciplined enough to ensure you take responsibility for gaining A LOT OF experience subsequently. But don't underestimate the social side of becoming a BSAC member - and the fun you'll have in the process of gaining experience.

Offline dalepgray

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2013, 06:16:49 pm »
Pitlamp - There are pros and cons on both BSAC and  PADI (I have qualifications in both as well as others), I personally don't get on well with clubs as I tend to be a little too independent :)

The important thing to consider for Cave diving, in my opinion at least, is that the dive training and the consolidation of that training should not be done in a overhead environment.

I tend to find that following the initial Open Water Course, then BSAC produces better divers, but as you progress in your diver training then PADI trained divers tend catch up and overtake.

PADI's downside is the consolidation tends to be done without instructor presence. BSAC's is that due to lesser regulation (club rather than a business) that the training standards and your instructors interest in that training vary from club to club.

But all in all the final result is very similar

So either find a good BSAC club or if you go the PADI route you either need experienced friends to dive with after training or you need to do further training beyond open water (your Advanced Open Water Course at least), but most of all before undertaking cave dive training you need to comfortable in the water.

Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 12:59:43 pm »
BSAC - Did my try dive and my mate is the instructor at my local club and he is going to guide me in my diving

I am off to Corsica for 2 weeks this month and have found a PADI open water & Advanced course I can do when there then I plan to get back involved with the BSAC club on getting home to do further training & dive trips then spend a good year or so just getting into some fun diving with my club
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Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2013, 12:22:38 pm »
Hi lads sorry but after some PADI info

I am off to Corsica next week and was planning to do my open water and poss my advanced if I have time

If I do my online learning courses here is they all I need to do ?

Do I need a medical or anything like that ? 
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Offline estelle

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2013, 12:52:23 pm »
Hi lads sorry but after some PADI info

I am off to Corsica next week and was planning to do my open water and poss my advanced if I have time

If I do my online learning courses here is they all I need to do ?
as i understand it, if you've read the theory, it saves doing the classroom stuff out there, you just need to do the in water skills and the dives.

Quote
Do I need a medical or anything like that ?
medicals are self certify if you don't have any medical problems - https://www.padi.com/padi/elearning/medical.aspx - download the form and ensure that you don't need to answer YES to any of the medical questions. If you do, then it's worth seeing a doctor (some GPs can do dive medicals) and getting a medical done to cover your YES's to ensure you are fit enough to dive.
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Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2013, 03:34:43 pm »
Thanks buddy
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Offline dalepgray

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2013, 08:18:37 pm »
You can also do pool sessions here if you like just leaving the open water dives to do  abroad, if this interests you give me a call 01298402020 Dale Gray

Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2013, 11:58:40 pm »
Update - the feedback on here has been amazing

I broke my piggy bank and I have just done my open water in Corsica when on Holliday and got myself some used dive kit from a lady selling all her kit due to poor health it's all in test and looks like it will all fit me

Putting cave diving to rest in the back on my mind for now off to see what UK diving has to offer for a year or two first and look into doing more courses to get me trained up

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Offline EwanCameron

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Getting started
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2013, 12:14:47 am »
Advice on courses would be ace as well

Advanced open water

Cavern diver

Are courses I was planning on doing any others that are worth doing
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Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2013, 08:01:33 am »
Martyn Farr also runs cave diving courses:

http://www.farrworld.co.uk/


Offline estelle

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2013, 08:43:14 am »
Putting cave diving to rest in the back on my mind for now off to see what UK diving has to offer for a year or two first and look into doing more courses to get me trained up
i would say get a few shallow dives under your belt and then do your Advanced Open Water as that lets you dive to 30m, which gives you a lot of sites you can dive in the UK to build up your diving - practice, practice, practice on the skills and enjoy a year or two of recreational diving, is the best advice i can give an an instructor! There's far too many people who do zero to hero on their diving qualifications, being extremely course and qualification hungry, without actually getting a chance to really enjoy the diving for diving's sake.
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Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2013, 10:58:48 am »
Just to amplify what others have said. Nothing counts more than experience and the presence of mind how to act quickly in an emergency. I was a deep wreck diver for 25 years and only retired due to getting persistent bends. Many things go hand to hand with dive training one is physical fitness another is mental fitness and a little yoga training helps with both. Always consider yourself a solo diver both in terms of kit and rescue. Be as fail safe as you can and always ask yourself " what if ". Imagine a scenario and work out how you would cope. The divers " incident pit" is not a happy place to be. Establish a routine for kitting up and never be rushed. Getting kit muddled or air not turned on has led to many accidents. To be honest there is hardly an accident scenario I have not been involved with and I have the dubious distinction of being rescued by fishing boat, helicopter and lifeboat. Keeping calm ( or resigned ) has saved me many times. It sounds like I am trying to put you off. Not so I am trying to get you to be " defensive ". Never take anything for granted or think others will get you out of a situation. The transition from open water to cave overhead environment is extreme and I firmly believe one must be a caver first before starting cave diving. You then have built up an acceptance of being in confined spaces. Many people have died inside wrecks as they have quickly panicked. Of course it depends upon the severity with which you engage both sports . UK cave diving involves a lot of solo work and long transport of kit. In somewhere like Mexico it is entirely different. Dont rush yourself or give in to peer pressure, keep calm and organised. I loved my diving and am now sad I had to give it up. Most of my stuff was mixed gas at 50m plus.I could have gone back to something more recreational but I know I would have succumbed to deep wreck temptation. My only way of being defensive. Enjoy !

Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2013, 02:54:52 pm »
Still getting there slow but steady

Update on my epic adventure

1) still trying to dive as much as I can
2) had my first epic disaster when S drills went wrong and I was half choking on water I got a free flow reg was with a ace buddy and stayed chilled and worked it all out but I now respect diving and its drill a lot more
3)sadly no one has contacted me about me helping carry dive kit yet but if I keep asking about I might get lucky

As always getting loads of support from my caving mates should have a good team around me in years to come once diving in caves

Thanks for all the advice I have already received
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Online Fulk

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2013, 04:41:43 pm »
Hi Pitlamp, ref. your post on 4/7/13:

Quote
but a while ago circumstances led me to join the BSAC .  . . . So I never let on I was already a diver and I just did whatever they asked me to and went to the lectures, purely to see what it was like. . . .  I really enjoyed it, even though I knew everything they were "teaching" me, as they were a great bunch.

How the hell did you get away with it? You must be one helluva an actor, a guy of your experience. ;) I've on occasion tried pretending to be a novice caver (after heaven knows how many years), but on each occasion I was sussed about PDW.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2013, 07:31:40 pm »
OK Fulk, I'll come clean - the "circumstances" involved a lass I'd taken a shine to, so I was quite motivated to keep the dastardly secret . . . .  :halo:

What got me rumbled in the end was a genuine logged "novice dive" to -85 m in a big Italian spring. (The CDG member I was cave diving with that day happened to be a BSAC instructor, so he mischievously suggested it could count towards my novice qualification and was legitimately able to sign off the dive in my BSAC logbook.)  Our Diving Officer later gave me a right telling off for missing out a decimal point and I just couldn't keep my face straight. He was a grand bloke and saw the amusing side of it immediately.

Seriously though, that BSAC branch was a great bunch of folk and I thoroughly enjoyed being a member for a year or two.

Ewan, the only reason I've (so far) not suggested you might like to join us when our group is on a diving project is because most of the time I operate in the Dales (a fair journey for you) and we tend to decide where we're going at the very last minute (in order to choose the optimum site for the conditions on any day). Also, a lot of the time we just carry our own stuff. However I've not forgotten your offer and (when things work out) I'll try and get in touch with enough notice for you to come along. In the meantime, keep on diving. It really is hours in the water that counts.

Online Fulk

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2013, 09:48:10 am »
Quote
the "circumstances" involved a lass

They always do  ;D ;D

So – an 85-m training dive . . . . a subtle clue, huh??

Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2013, 12:31:49 pm »
OK Fulk, I'll come clean - the "circumstances" involved a lass I'd taken a shine to, so I was quite motivated to keep the dastardly secret . . . .  :halo:

What got me rumbled in the end was a genuine logged "novice dive" to -85 m in a big Italian spring. (The CDG member I was cave diving with that day happened to be a BSAC instructor, so he mischievously suggested it could count towards my novice qualification and was legitimately able to sign off the dive in my BSAC logbook.)  Our Diving Officer later gave me a right telling off for missing out a decimal point and I just couldn't keep my face straight. He was a grand bloke and saw the amusing side of it immediately.

Seriously though, that BSAC branch was a great bunch of folk and I thoroughly enjoyed being a member for a year or two.

Ewan, the only reason I've (so far) not suggested you might like to join us when our group is on a diving project is because most of the time I operate in the Dales (a fair journey for you) and we tend to decide where we're going at the very last minute (in order to choose the optimum site for the conditions on any day). Also, a lot of the time we just carry our own stuff. However I've not forgotten your offer and (when things work out) I'll try and get in touch with enough notice for you to come along. In the meantime, keep on diving. It really is hours in the water that counts.

Thanks dude that would be amazing
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Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2013, 12:32:29 pm »
I've also joined my local BSAC
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2013, 04:40:03 pm »
Maybe it's now time to think about approaching the CDG Derbyshire Section, if you want to get involved with cave diving projects as a helper. Your own club (the Orpheus) has several experienced members who are, or have been, DS members. They can probably point you in the right direction. Or contact the DS Secretary with a view to turning up at a meeting, even if only to say "Hello" and get to know a few folk. (The website will have the necessary contact details.)

Offline mulucaver

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2013, 08:43:14 pm »
Ewan, I used to be in the Derbyshire section of CDG. Before that I was a qualified BSAC diver, in fact I was a founder member od the Buxton Branch of BSAC.
I don't dive now but I've still got most of my gear. if any of it is any use to you come and see me. I live in Chapel.
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Offline ah147

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2013, 12:46:08 am »
Mulu, you don't have a 12L twinset perchance do you?

Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2013, 09:38:48 am »
Ewan, I used to be in the Derbyshire section of CDG. Before that I was a qualified BSAC diver, in fact I was a founder member od the Buxton Branch of BSAC.
I don't dive now but I've still got most of my gear. if any of it is any use to you come and see me. I live in Chapel.
that would be ace
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Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2014, 07:49:45 am »
Hi all

Did my first side mount dive (twin 12L ally) had about 60min in the pool at ponds forge last night.

Hard to kit up for the first time but felt a lot less lumbered down with kit mind you I had no KG's, Dry suit, hood, gloves so that may be the reason.

Got a 10L steel and some Regs that are in ok order think with 2 new first stages and 3 new tubes I can get a working set of side mount regs going. 

Yours
Ewan
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Offline Gareth Davies

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2014, 07:16:04 am »
Hi Ewan,

There's a CDG training camp being hosted by the Welsh Section at Penwyllt (HQ of SWCC) in the Swansea Valley, over the w/e of 14th and 15th June 2014.

If you're interested in meeting more CDG divers and trainees and having a weekend of skill development etc. See the CDG forum for more details and booking information.

Gareth Davies.
P.S I'm there 13th - 16th to help with training, advice and examinations or just fun trips.

Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2014, 09:31:18 pm »
I asked to go but sadly was told I was to late to book a place it would be to hard to sort


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Offline EwanCameron

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Re: Getting started
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2014, 04:16:49 pm »
Thanks for all the very positive support

I've now completed a basic mine/cave diving course and and being coached by members of the UK diving community

Thanks
Ewan


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