Day 8 Cave Diver Course.
Location: Buton Tengah, Muna island.
Cave: Goa Teluk Lasongko
Dive time: 154 minutes
Cumulated Dive time: 1178 min
Jumping in a dive seems a non-sense but when it comes to cave diving it refers to the act of jumping from a guideline to another. For several reasons explorers can decide to disconnect two lines instead of creating a T junction. It can be to protect a sensitive part of the cave from general public or to not create confusion on the mainline for entry level cave divers. When a diver wants to venture on that secondary line, he will have to temporarily connect them (to maintain a continuous guideline to the surface) by doing what we call a jump.
A jump has to be easy to spot, easy to follow and not create any confusion for other divers venturing in the cave. It is personal and cannot be shared amongst team. Meaning that if you want to jump on this secondary line, your team has to install its own jump even though one may already be present.
The jump line should be also easily identifiable to be able to be followed with no doubt in case of a zero-visibility exit. Several jumps can be attached to a line that would lead to different directions, you need to be sure to follow yours, like 100% sure.
Jumps are the second component of navigation in underwater caves along with T Junction. And it has to follow the same rules. Be simple, easy, and recognizable by the team, even when you can’t see sh*t.
There are as much ways of creating a jump between two lines that there are divers. And every single jump is different, according to the line and the cave configuration. During the theory part we reviewed as much scenarios as possible in order to get the students ready to venture in any underwater cave in the world, whatever the protocols used locally. Different configuration gives different way of jumping: from the end of a line to the middle of another, from middle to end, from end to end or middle to middle. Each one of them having specific way of doing it.
As I said in the previous days, navigation protocols vary a lot from one region to another, so I try to give the students the knowledge and insight to develop a protocol that would fit anywhere in the world and to be able to understand and read what other people are doing.
In order to practice on land before hitting the water, I installed a few line on the terrace of the hotel we’re staying in. The students had the instruction to simulate and perform the jumps, including the proper communication, the line laying, the markings etc. Those land drills can be extremely valuable because I can correct the students on the fly by talking through there mistakes, something not really doable underwater.
After trying a few times each kind of jump, we sat for the briefing and dive planning. As we’re heading to the Full Cave level, the planning increase in complexity and communication requirement. The students have to plan the dive and dive the plan properly.
Here were the different steps I asked them to do:
- Connect to the main line.
- Take the first jump to the left (Middle to end).
- Follow the line.
- Pass the first T junction
- Reaching the second T junction, turn around.
- Retrieve the jump.
- Continue on the mainline inside the cave.
- Take the second jump to the left (Middle to End).
- Follow the line until reaching the T junction.
- Take right on the T junction.
- Switch position.
- Take the third jump to the left (middle to end).
- Go to end of line and turn around
- Retrieve the jump.
- Continue on main line.
- Take the fourth jump to the left (middle to end).
- Go to the end of line and turn around.
- Retrieve the jump.
- Continue to the main line until reached the second jump again.
We just performed a circuit, which means coming back to a certain point without having to turn around (more on that in a further lesson). When the circuit was completed, we then came back from where we came and cleaned up every navigation marker used on the way in.
Most dive we do in caves are not that complex (and they don’t have to be). You can keep it simple for you whole cave diving life without putting yourself through those navigation decision. Staying on the main line can be sufficient for you, and you’ll still enjoy incredible caves all around the world.
But Full Cave level is about having the capacity and the mindset to plan those dives and execute them.
Keeping the awareness about the plan and the navigation requires a lot of brain work. It keeps you in a constant tension. Focusing on a plan and on navigation does not mean that you have to forget about the essentials: line, buoyancy, trim, position etc. Students has the tendency of forgetting those when they start to do complicated things. And that’s where problems start to arise.
With this course they have the possibility to learn how to maintain full awareness while doing mistakes in a controlled environment and under supervision of a professional. Those mistakes are recorded, reviewed and debriefed. This is what training is about, learning from your mistake and be a better diver by the day.
Post Scriptum: Oh yes, we also learned how to drag an unconscious diver out of the cave, and believe me that’s not an easy task. Managing your buoyancy, his buoyancy, avoid his body and equipment to get entangled, keep an eye on the line and try not to destroy the caves. Many things to think about and not so much time and space to do so. I let you reflect on how would you do if it were you ?
If you missed it you can read Day 4’s report here:: https://www.sulawesidivetrek.com/index.php/2022/05/01/day-7-into-the-cave-diver-course-navigation-and-restriction/
List of all IANTD Courses, visit the IANTD Website : https://iantd.com/index.php/en-us/courses/iantd-ice-cave-mine-wreck-diving/