Starting out questions

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Starting out questions

Postby Oddball » Mar 1, 2013 3:53 pm

Seems that after living In TAG and being blessed with so many caves at my disposal, I am going to take a job around Mobile, al. I know caves still exist around but most are diving caves.
So my question is how much of a effort or e.xpense is it to start cave diving? Cave diving has always been something I would love to do. I just always figured that it would be something that I wouldn't ever have a chance to get involved in.
My background is nothing inregards with doing anything underwater except me and a friend doing depth dives at a hole we know of.
Any advice would be helpful!
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Re: Starting out questions

Postby FW » Mar 1, 2013 5:22 pm

There aren't any cave dives near Mobile. The closest would be in Florida. While there are some small ones near Defuniak Springs, FL, the closest good ones are near Marianna, FL..

If you are still interested, take an Open Water SCUBA class, There should be dive shops all along the coast. Once you get comfortable in the water, go to http://www.nsscds.org, and find the instructor list under Training. There are 4 levels of training. Cavern in the first level, and you learn to safely go in a cave, but remain in sight of the entrance. If that doesn't scare you off, then you can take the next three levels, and get progressively farther at each level. FWIW, there are a lot of unexplored cave diving sites in N Alabama. I personally have 50 unchecked leads.

The cavediving forum here isn't used much. If you want to try a more active cavediving forum, try http://www.cavediver.net You should be able to get some good advice oh how to pick an instructor. I will tell you now that if cavediving is what you plan to do, just rent gear for your Open Water class. Almost none of the gear you use there will be useful for cavediving. If I were just starting out, I would try to find an instructor that teaches Open Water sidemount, That course is taught using cavediving gear. Feel free to PM me for advice.
Any opinions are personal.
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Re: Starting out questions

Postby harrym » Apr 7, 2013 8:39 am

Oddball wrote:...So my question is how much of a effort or expense is it to start cave diving?...


Not to dissuade you, but... Getting into cave diving requires a very significant investment in equipment and time.

If you live near water and there are facilities for scuba, then the task is a bit easier.

First step is to get open water (OW) scuba certified. The current scuba industry is geared towards getting as many people certified as possible in the shortest time possible. This produces a lot of scuba divers who are barely functional underwater, and is not the path that you want to take. Spent the time and money to get a good instructor and a solid basic foundation in open-water scuba.

Then go diving. A lot. A minimum of 100 dives is suggested, but 200 would be better. It's not the total number of dives that matters, but also the frequency. You should be diving at least 10 times per month, and you should get the 100 dives in less than one year. That should get you to the minimum proficiency required to start cave diving.

Cave diving is also done in stages - first there is cavern training, the progresive stages of cave training.

All in all - plan to spent a couple of years and at least a few thousand dollars.
Harry Marinakis
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IUS Commission on Volcanic Caves
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Re: Starting out questions

Postby wendy » Apr 14, 2013 8:36 am

Since you are already a 'dry caver' there are dry caves you can still go to. There are many 'dry' caves in south Georgia and north Florida.
"Blessed are they who learn from their mistakes. For they shall make, if not necessarily fewer of them, different and more interesting ones."

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Re: Starting out questions

Postby FW » Apr 14, 2013 12:28 pm

wendy wrote:Since you are already a 'dry caver' there are dry caves you can still go to. There are many 'dry' caves in south Georgia and north Florida.

Hello Wendy, long time, no see :)
Any opinions are personal.
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Re: Starting out questions

Postby trogman » Apr 15, 2013 12:32 pm

wendy wrote:Since you are already a 'dry caver' there are dry caves you can still go to. There are many 'dry' caves in south Georgia and north Florida.


There are also a lot of dry caves in south AL, a little ways north of there anyway. A quick search of the ACS turned up 81 entrances in Clarke County. A fellow named Jim Selby has been turning in and mapping bunches of caves in that general area.

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Re: Starting out questions

Postby Jim Wyatt » May 16, 2013 4:44 am

FW wrote:

The cavediving forum here isn't used much. If you want to try a more active cavediving forum, try http://www.cavediver.net You should be able to get some good advice oh how to pick an instructor. I will tell you now that if cavediving is what you plan to do, just rent gear for your Open Water class. Almost none of the gear you use there will be useful for cavediving. If I were just starting out, I would try to find an instructor that teaches Open Water sidemount, That course is taught using cavediving gear. Feel free to PM me for advice.


You can also ask your questions on http://www.scubaboard.com and http://www.thedecostop.com

FW is correct about not buying open water equipment. FW's opinion on open water sidemount is his opinion. many instructors of cave diving will tell you to start out with doubles on your back.

Once you identify some instructors call them on the telephone and interview them. Look for a good fit between you and him/her.

You are welcome to call me for advice as well. 352-363-0013
Jim Wyatt
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Re: Starting out questions

Postby wyandottecaver » May 16, 2013 4:41 pm

I was just thinking ... "Hey it's Wendy!" now back to cave dying...er cave diving.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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