When you head out into the ocean and you dive under the water, the world changes. The quietness and the way you feel underwater makes you think you are in space, rather than earth. In cave diving, things are no different. With an estimated 2.71 million people diving in America alone, the popularity of cave diving has grown steadily over the last couple of years.
Are you interested in cave diving? Read on below to learn everything you need to know about cave diving and explore the beauty that the world has to offer.
Learn To Cave Dive: The Certification
Before you set off, you will need to undergo quite a good amount of training. The dangers of cave diving are quite obvious and so it is important to ensure you get trained and qualify in the following areas:
- First off you will need to complete an advanced open water one diving course, which lets you dive to 130 feet
- You will then need to take a specialist cave diving course, which helps you learn about cave structures and what to do and not to do for certain situations which may arise while cave diving
- And finally, you will need to take a course on night diving, where your visibility is significantly reduced
As with any diving course or certification, it’s important that you get certified at the best possible level that you can. When an activity comes with a certain level of danger, your certifications are what will keep you level-headed and knowing how to deal with all scenarios.
How To Prepare For Cave Training
Before you go on your cave training specialist course, there are a couple of things you can master that will help you breeze through the course. Mastering these situations below will help you prepare:
- Master your gas and air consumption, try to bring your heart rate as low as possible to consume the least amount of air, practice being precise with all your movements.
- Learn the appropriate kicking styles for every situation you will find yourself in.
- Use the right equipment and have the correct light sources
- Master buoyancy control
Not only is cave diving considered an extreme sport but it also comes with a certain level of technical know-how, there’s some science mixed in with physical requirements, so be prepared for that.
Types Of Caves
Now, you’ve just qualified and are rearing to go on your first cave diving excursion. Before you go, you will need to know the types of caves you can dive in.
A lava tube cave is a type of cave formed by when a volcano erupts and the hot molten lava hits the ocean, is rapidly cooled and hardened. Inside the lava still moves which forms a tube. The best and most notorious lava tubes are found in Australia, Japan, Italy, and Hawaii.
Ice caves have the ability to stay frozen and cool while temperatures above the water remain in the sixties. Scientists are not sure exactly how these caves remain frozen but a few theories do exist.
Some of the best underwater photography has taken place in ice caves and for any cave diver, it is a must to do dive into one.
A blue hole is more of a large sinkhole or cavern in the sea bed than an actual cave. Formed as rocks begin to erode and collapse, blue holes are truly magic and even though it’s not considered cave diving, a dive in one is recommended.
Waves crashing against the base of a cliff can sometimes form a cave. Sea caves form in a crack on the cliff or where the rock is softer. Not very deep or very long, sea caves have their own appeal.
Diving Equipment You’ll Need
The type of equipment you will need in cave diving varies from the standard equipment used in open water diving. At a minimum, you will need:
- 7mm full-length wet-suit and hood with thigh pockets
- A mask with black silicone skirts and a compact backup mask.
- Powerful flat-bladed paddle fins
- A dive computer and depth gauge
- Two 13liter/85 cubic-foot side mount or back mount cylinders
- Two first stage regulators for your primary cylinders
- Two meters/seven-foot hose
- A hand mount,2000 lumens, or more LED light
- Two LED backup lights
- Two safety reels with a total of 45m/150ft or more line between them
- Two-line cutters
- Surface marker buoy
The total cost of all this equipment could range from $7,500 to $12,500, depending on lots of variables. Most equipment can be rented, which will soften the initial start-up cost blow but will add up quickly.
A Couple Of Safety Tips
Cave diving is dangerous and people do put their life on the line every time they enter an underwater cave, but these few tips will ensure that you are safe and can enjoy the dive to its fullest:
- Always use a continuous guideline
- Save two-thirds of your air supply for returning to the surface
- Carry at least three lights during the dive
- Limit dive depth to the appropriate gas being breathed
- Know your limits as a diver
Remember, although it may not seem like it, cave diving is an extreme sport, and safety does need to be an absolute top priority.
Where Are the Best Cave Diving Locations?
You’ve started cave diving, taken the plunge, but are you not sure where to go? These locations below, are some of the best locations to not only dive in but have numerous activities for the whole family to enjoy.
- Bens Cave- Gran Bahama
- Blue Hole-Belize
- Indian Springs-Florida USA
- Lanai Cathedral- Hawaii
- Bayahibe Caves- Dominician Replubic
- Song Hong Caves-Thailand
- Chandelier cave- Palau
- Orda cave- Russia
Diving Right In!
An activity this dangerous isn’t for the faint-hearted and not everybody will be able to cope with this strenuous hobby. Cave diving is scuba diving’s scarier, older sister!
But if you are sure you have what it takes or have a need to explore the unknown, then book your training course today and see what the underwater world has to offer.