Learning to cave dive (and later becoming a cave diving instructor) has been among the most challenging and rewarding things I have done. You will never regret starting to cave dive, although your partner and bank balance may sometimes argue otherwise 😉
It is not my intention to go into every facet or detail of cave diving here, but I will try and provide you with a general overview. Based on my experience, both as a student and an instructor, the good the bad and the ugly.
You have probably seen a load of really cool pictures and videos on social media, and I even have some of mine on this post for you. And yes, of course, they look great. However, right from the start, you should know that it’s not all crystal clear and warm cenotes with stunning formations. Often the water is already low on visibility and easily silted out. It can also be frigid, making for quite a demanding environment.
Cave diving is quite a leap from recreational diving. As such, the length of the journey you take will always be dependant on your starting point. Different equipment and techniques are required, and your basic diving skills should already be second nature. You should, as a minimum, have some entry-level technical diver training/experience before you start.
As a cave diver, you will get the opportunity to explore these unique environments in the underground world. It is a fantastic experience! From the well-lit cavern areas through to narrow chambers, jagged walls with different colours and textures through to large decorated halls full of formations. There’s something new to see on almost every dive.
If a problem occurs, it has to be solved in-water by the diver or dive team. Issues can range from reduced to zero visibility through to entanglements or equipment failures. To compound this, often such complications can vastly increase the time and gas volume required to return safely to the surface. As a result, increased redundancy and contingency planning is something you will become acutely aware off.
Perhaps you are now thinking this doesn’t sound like much fun, or maybe this is not for me. But wait for a second, as although it may seem scary at first, it is not! You will mitigate a majority of the risk and can dive in relative safety by; ensuring you are well trained, remain physically and mentally fit, stay within your limits and stick to the rules.