Discover Cavern Diving, Pattaya Thailand
Mermaid’s bring you a first once more … the “Discover Cavern Diving” program. This is a PSA (Professional Scuba Association) program that we have had clearance from PADI that this will be a pre-requisite for the PADI Cavern/Cave diving courses.
Pictured right is Cedric, a PADI Instructor Examiner (Europe) and Cavern Specialist, Mermaid’s Course Director Stephen Blumenthal and Bruce Koneff (PSA and ANDI Instructor Trainer). Cedric and Bruce teamed with Mermaid’s in our first adventure into cavern diving.
Cavern diving is very different and exciting yet potentially hazardous meaning skills learned are essential to master in order to dive safely. Cavern and Cave diving courses are long and in-depth and by teaming with Mermaid’s and PSA we have been able to offer a two day program to give a taste of the skills and knowledge required to be able to dive in a Cavern environment safely.
The next couple of pages will show John, Vicky and Stephane (Mermaid’s professional dive interns) taking the experience with Cedric and Bruce with a brief explanation of the two days’ content. Text by Bruce Ritchie (PADI OWSI and Ex-Mermaid’s intern diver).
Cavern Diver – Classroom Session:
The first part of the cavern diver course addressed the type of scuba diving that was similar to Cavern diving this was Wreck, Ice, Lava Tubes and various forms of sea and fresh water cave diving. All have their over-head environments that make mastery of dive skills required essential.
Cedric gave a presentation on the aspects of cave diving and potential problems that can happen such as inexperienced people entering cavern systems etc and not being properly prepared. Open Water divers or even instructors or technical divers can have accidents even resulting in death without the proper training and equipment for this type of environment – the training is essential.
Cavern Diving Equipment:
For the discover Cavern program very little new equipment is required. An experienced diver can enter the program with the regular scuba diving equipment. Regular dive equipment is fine but does need to be streamlined as outlined in the program. Additional diver equipment such as a torch (x 2) and a reel is mandatory equipment to take part in cavern program.
- It is easy to lose visibility very quickly in an enclosed environment if the bottom or sides are disturbed. A correct fining technique to reduce this to as little as possible or none is essential. Different fin kick styles from the norm are adopted creating less downward motion such as the frog kick. This was elaborated upon.
- Buoyancy techniques were also discussed as not disturbing the bottom or the top of a cavern is paramount to ensuring visibility.
- Trim and weight distribution was also a factor as to ensure that correct finning techniques and body position maintain visibility and efficiency in the water.
- Equipment Streamlining ensuring that gauges and hoses are tucked away securely is essential in a cavern/cave/wreck environment.
- Checking equipment prior to diving more so than on any recreational dive is essential.
Bruce and Cedric made practical application demonstrations on the boat for the equipment configurations.
Underwater communication is limited as we know so in a low visibility situation hand signals may not work so line signals were taught. A constant body contact with the buddy whilst never letting go of the line technique was taught.
Emergency situations in relation to losing the line were discussed. General problems that can occur during a dive such as low on air and the unlikely event of no air were covered – these bring their own problems as there may be no direct access to the surface.
The rear of the shop is ideal for “dry training” of concepts such as reel work or compass work. Bruce and Cedric conducted several skills training and scenarios. The primary reels and a finger reels were discussed and practiced with.
The primary reel is tied off outside the cavern so that you reel right back to outside the cavern and back to the exit! It is then tied off at several intervals using a technique which indicates which direction that you are taking if the cavern goes to the left or right. As you progress through the cavern directional markers are placed to indicate the way out the reel is always laid so you can get out not reel in!
The directional markers are laid so that they point out of the cavern, if there were other divers in a cavern system Bruce said that he marks his own with his initial as it could get confusing coming across other directional markers.
Use of the finger reel was taught. This is a handy little device allowing you to leave the main reel by tying off of it with the finger reel. If you needed to look for a buddy or search a new area you can easily tie off whilst never losing contact with your main reel line and ultimately, your way out.
Mermaids offer a whole range of PADI Specialties as below:
Night Diver, Drift Diver, Search & Recovery, Advanced Search & Recovery, DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle – great fun), Underwater Naturalist Diver, Shipwreck Diver, Deep Diver, Navigation Diver, Photography Diver, Videography Diver, Multi-level Diver, Cave diving, Equipment Specialist, Underwater Digital Photography Divers Course, Peak Performance Buoyancy Diver, NITROX Diver, Dry Suit Diver Course (Currently under revision but will be offered in the future), Twin tank / PADI Side Mount Course – Mermaids Dive Pattaya Thailand now have over 20 PADI specialty courses to offer.
Mermaids Pattaya, Thailand offer a full range of PADI Specialty courses on your schedule – allow Mermaids 1-2 days and we can operate any PADI Specialties that you require.