As a new cave diver, you will most likely lack a library of information and resources. Here I have gathered a few useful resources, that will hopefully be of help to you on your cave diver learning journey.
Books and Print Media
Books – My Top 3
In the age of the internet, it’s easy to overlook some of the other more traditional formats. So I am going to start with those first.
If you are a millennial (or younger), your probably thinking along the lines of a kindle or ebook. But no, I am referring to good old fashioned style print. Here is a list of books I think you may find useful
Classic Dark Site Diving – By Martin Farr
This book documents many of the most popular cavern and cave diving sites in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe. It provides relevant site information, logistics, locations and pictures. Only available in print it can be ordered direct from Farrworld or Amazon.
The Essentials of Cave Diving – By Jill Heinerth
This one is more a general information guidebook. It provides a good reference point and is a well written and enjoyable read. As a new or seasoned cave diver its one to put on your reading list. Also available from Amazon.
Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint for Survival – By Sheck Exley
Written by a pioneer of cave diving, this one is an oldie but still a goodie. There is some quite dated content, and you need to be aware of how things have progressed. However, the principles and intent still ring true. And it is available free of charge on the NSSCDS website. (And yes I realise it’s in pdf, but that is only because it is no longer available in print.)
One of the obvious but often overlooked resources is the manuals supplied by the various agencies. As a TDI centre, we first and foremost advocate the TDI manuals. But also recommend a few others as useful resources.
TDI Diving in Overhead Environments Manual
Don’t forget the importance and value of your agency manuals, they are a great source to reference during and after your course. Supplied in an online learning format with our courses, the manuals can be purchased in print format either direct from TDI or from us on request. The cost is €40 EUR.
The Cave Diving Group Manual (UK)
The manual from the UK CDG, covering UK sump diving and side mount techniques. If you dive in the UK this is really useful information. It will also help you to see the advantages of unique configurations for specific environments. Can be purchased from the CDG website for £20 GBP.
Personal Topo Folder
As a cave diver, you will be fully aware of the value of cave topography. For non-cave diver’s topographies are essentially plan and profile maps of the cave system. They are extremely useful for dive planning and pre-dive briefings.
It is really useful to have a personal folder with printed versions of these topographies as part of your cave diving kit. Yes, they are available online. But at many of the remote sites, there is no data service on your phones. There are various sources for topography but I will cover those sources a little later in this post.
I’ve already mentioned the need for printed topographies. But where can you find them? There are a few websites run by other cave divers where they can be found.
Right Here – www.learntocavedive.com
We have our own resources section here which contains a small collection of topography documents. You can find out more by visiting our resources section.
Plongée Sout – www.plongeesout.com
A French site focussed on listing information and topography for the caves throughout France and the French colonial islands. It is very old and some of the information and pictures are a little dated. It still offers a valuable resource and has topography for nearly all of the caves listed.
The Cueva Del Agua Project – http://cuevadelagua.es/
As the name suggests this site is all about one very special cave, located in the Cartagena region of southern Spain. If you have never dived here it really should be on your bucket list. The site gives history, project updates, photo/videos and of course typography. The information on this system is vast and the topography available is regularly updated and provides great detail.
Social Media & Groups
There are so many social media business pages, public & private groups, Instagram profiles or twitter feeds it would be impossible to list them all here. What I have done is try to consolidate some of the more specific ones I have found useful over time.
Lot Cave Conditions – Facebook Private Group
This group is a great little resource for anyone diving in the Lot region in France (a magical place). Here you will see posts from an active community of divers reporting the current conditions through photo, video and text updates. Also, Oli often posts the Vis Board with current conditions for the most popular dives listed.
Caves & Cave diving – Facebook Public Group
A general page where people share information on cave sites (wet & dry). It’s great for generating future ideas and plans and seeing what others are up to and where you may want to add to your travel list.
It’s hard to list these items individually but there is numerous online video posted by channels and individual users alike. Here you just need to get onto the popular video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo.
Have we missed something?
Let us know
If you know of and feel we have missed any other useful resources, please feel free to comment below and we can always look to add this information to the above post…
About the author : Matt Brooker
Recreational, Technical & Cave Diving Instructor @LearnToCaveDive.com and @UberScuba.eu Primarily focussed on teaching the TDI range of courses.
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