2. Being an ‘Advanced’, ‘Rescue’ diver or an ‘Instructor’ does not even BEGIN to prepare you for the most basic cave diving.
As I gained more experience as an open water diver, I discovered that I too was finding it more difficult to resist the urge to peek around inside the caverns at places like Vortex or Morrison springs.
As I started flirting with the idea of becoming (in my mind) a ‘amateur cave diver’, I started to stumble across news reports online. Although the names and places varied, the story was always the same: a scuba diver died inside an underwater cave.
The news media always referred to the deceased as an “experienced” or “advanced” scuba diver. Interviews with the survivors always referred to them as being “very safe” divers.
As I’d read through the accident report discussions on Scuba Board and other dive forums, a different story came to light: in virtually all of these cases, it was discovered that the deceased had no training as a cave diver.
Cave divers would occasionally explain what caused the accidents to the rest of the participants in the discussion and it always boiled down to the deceased violating one of the cardinal rules that are taught to those that seek cave training.
As I read more and more of these cases I realized that, even though these accidents were difficult to understand for most scuba divers (including instructors), the cause and effect seemed quite obvious to the experienced, trained cave diver. Often times I’d witness internet arguments flame up due to this difference of perspective: the non-cave divers arguing with the cave people.
It reminded of something that happen when I was a kid: My mom refused to let me play with my toys in the street. From my perspective, the middle of the street was a lovely place for a five-year old boy to play. When she refused to let me stay out there, I thought she was just mean and annoying. As it turned out, Mom was right: I learned to see things differently as I (somehow) survived childhood and learned about things like physics and car accidents.
Playing in the street is a bad idea, y’all.