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caroln
05-29-2008, 15:14
I recently did some cave training in Florida. One of the things that concerned me was that since I live 900 miles from cave country, how would I maintain the skills, and mostly how would I continue to progress as a cave diver. My last trip down, it had been a month since my previous trip, and my first dive I felt pretty awkward and rusty, even though I'd been diving at home in the meantime.

I've committed to making a trip to somewhere I can dive in caves at least once a month (oh the hardship), but I'm also trying to make sure I do everything I can to maintain and/or build on skills at home. I've switched to diving doubles on every dive (even a 13 foot deep shore dive last weekend), I work on buoyancy and trim on every dive, and I run my reel around my house at least a few times a week as well as on dives. But are there any specific things you guys do to keep those skills sharp, and keep yourselves 'in the game' so to speak when you're away from the cave environment?

karstdvr
05-30-2008, 06:19
I recently did some cave training in Florida. One of the things that concerned me was that since I live 900 miles from cave country, how would I maintain the skills, and mostly how would I continue to progress as a cave diver. My last trip down, it had been a month since my previous trip, and my first dive I felt pretty awkward and rusty, even though I'd been diving at home in the meantime.

I've committed to making a trip to somewhere I can dive in caves at least once a month (oh the hardship), but I'm also trying to make sure I do everything I can to maintain and/or build on skills at home. I've switched to diving doubles on every dive (even a 13 foot deep shore dive last weekend), I work on buoyancy and trim on every dive, and I run my reel around my house at least a few times a week as well as on dives. But are there any specific things you guys do to keep those skills sharp, and keep yourselves 'in the game' so to speak when you're away from the cave environment?

We develop muscle memory when we do a lot of a particular task,but quickly become "rusty" when we cease that activity. A presentation that Jeff Bozanic made showed that statisically that the once or twice a year cave diver doesn't get to develop the skill set to advance to some of the dives they want to attmept,this became self evident a few years ago with an accident at Madison. I think what you are doing by diving locally to maintain your skills is excellent. The one suggestion I make to people who live a long distance away and can't cave dive frequently,is to work your way back slowly. All too often we see someone who made a stage dive to "x" tunnel on their last trip,then come back 6 months later and expect to repeat that complexity of a dive. Good luck

Dive-aholic
05-30-2008, 09:07
Kelly provides excellent advice: Start back slowly every month. A month may not seem like a long time, but it's longer than you think when it comes to the skills and comfort needed with some dives.

When I lived 2000 miles from N. Florida I was only able to travel here every 3-4 months. Every couple of weeks, I would hit a local lake and "pretend" I was in a cave. I would run my primary and tie it off on rocks sitting on the bottom. I would practice my kicks, follow the line with my eyes closed, mask off, etc. I would practice bottle drops and pick ups on the fly. You get the idea. I also found a wall I could run my line along to try to simulate at least one wall in a cave.

I have definitely found that diving caves from afar and diving caves every week several times a week when you live in the area make a world of difference. My cave diving transformed and progressed so much after I moved here. And it's still continuing to evolve.

in_cavediver
05-30-2008, 11:29
As a cave diver in Indiana, I sympathize. I did my training back in 2002 and only make it down 1-3 times a year for a week.

What do I do - I first and foremost realize that as of now, there are dives that are and will be out of my league. I just can't do them. If I move to N. Florida or Mexico, that may change but living in Indiana, it won't.

Beyond that, I've not been in a 'rec' gear config since 2002 and we do the same basic protocols for all of our dives. I've spent a large amount of time on task loading and can honestly say running a reel no longer presents any mental stress to me. (it still a stressor since I am occupied doing it though). I've spent a LOT of time on the basics. It doesn't matter where you are, you still want to have the right trim, the right kick styles and the right equipment with you. We have also had some fun doing 'moonlight' night dives in OW which really helped with the confidence in very low vis, low light diving. It was great, on a fairly full moonlit night - dive without using your light (we dive quarries mostly). Its great, the other divers really think your nuts, especially if you go in with doubles and a stage or the like.

In the end though, the biggest hurdle is the mental understanding that you cannot always go where you want or 'advance' in the sport if you cannot practice it on a regular basis. I'm lucky, my wife helps me keep the dive goals in check.

TommyB
05-30-2008, 20:21
I recently did some cave training in Florida. One of the things that concerned me was that since I live 900 miles from cave country, how would I maintain the skills, and mostly how would I continue to progress as a cave diver. My last trip down, it had been a month since my previous trip, and my first dive I felt pretty awkward and rusty, even though I'd been diving at home in the meantime.

I've committed to making a trip to somewhere I can dive in caves at least once a month (oh the hardship), but I'm also trying to make sure I do everything I can to maintain and/or build on skills at home. I've switched to diving doubles on every dive (even a 13 foot deep shore dive last weekend), I work on buoyancy and trim on every dive, and I run my reel around my house at least a few times a week as well as on dives. But are there any specific things you guys do to keep those skills sharp, and keep yourselves 'in the game' so to speak when you're away from the cave environment?

Hi Caralon,

Just get down here to NFL often :)
Looking forward to seeing you in June if you make it. I replied to your PM, so cHeck your PM's for the calendar of when we are doing the caves etc.

Not sure how you keep up on "cave" skills. Thinking it would be hard to keep them current if not close to a cave diving site.

Regards,
TommyB.

LiteHedded
06-02-2008, 07:34
pack up the kids and dog and move to high springs :P

caroln
06-02-2008, 08:40
The one suggestion I make to people who live a long distance away and can't cave dive frequently,is to work your way back slowly. All too often we see someone who made a stage dive to "x" tunnel on their last trip,then come back 6 months later and expect to repeat that complexity of a dive. Good luck

I saw the truth in this statement for myself the last time I was down. I had been down in March for a week, but when I came back in April, especially the first dive, everything felt very rusty and 'foreign'. It was a valuable lesson to learn early on---when you've been away and come back, take it very conservatively, especially the first few dives. My instuctor had mentioned this too, but to see it yourself helps that lesson stick.

caroln
06-02-2008, 08:46
Beyond that, I've not been in a 'rec' gear config since 2002 and we do the same basic protocols for all of our dives. I've spent a large amount of time on task loading and can honestly say running a reel no longer presents any mental stress to me. (it still a stressor since I am occupied doing it though). I've spent a LOT of time on the basics. It doesn't matter where you are, you still want to have the right trim, the right kick styles and the right equipment with you. We have also had some fun doing 'moonlight' night dives in OW which really helped with the confidence in very low vis, low light diving. It was great, on a fairly full moonlit night - dive without using your light (we dive quarries mostly). Its great, the other divers really think your nuts, especially if you go in with doubles and a stage or the like.



That's funny---I just did that this weekend at our local quarry. I started out just using my backup light to kill the batteries since I want to put fresh ones in for my trip, but then I just shut it off and worked on maintaining my position in the water, referencing the wall using just the ambient light from other divers, etc. The night dives along the wall are about as close to faking it as you can get---unless you can visualize the inside of the school bus as an oddly decorated passage.

caroln
06-02-2008, 08:47
Hi Caralon,

Just get down here to NFL often :)
Looking forward to seeing you in June if you make it. I replied to your PM, so cHeck your PM's for the calendar of when we are doing the caves etc.

Not sure how you keep up on "cave" skills. Thinking it would be hard to keep them current if not close to a cave diving site.

Regards,
TommyB.

I sent you a PM and signed up to check out the calendar :) Working hard on the skills, now just need to build some experience :)