Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Many people have recently received courses of “cave diving” or “cave diving” and dived into the warm and clear caves in places like Mexico, Florida, Dordogne and Mallorca. These areas provide an easy cave diving, interesting and enjoyable. There are significant differences between these areas and the United Kingdom.
There are some things we want to explain to anyone planning to dive in caves in the UK. Things we think you should know …
Firstly, only a small proportion of the British Isles is composed of limestone, which form most of the caves. Therefore, there is a very limited number of places to dive in caves, of which only a handful are reasonably easy on your physical access, combined with extensive underwater passages and occasional “good” (eg more than two meters) visibility . Most of them require you to be a caver fact and law, and would need to have enough ropes and ladders, and know how to use them safely (including skills in Single Rope Techniques). As some of the caves can be more than four kilometers of the road, dozens of meters deep, with long creeping along the ground and other obstacles, you may need to assemble a team of cavers to carry your gear to the dive site. And, of course, need to know where is the entrance to the cave!
Virtually all dive sites in caves are on private land. This means that visitors must obtain permission from the owner before your visit. Some owners have installed physical barriers (eg locked doors) to prevent access, and may show those who pass their land fore the wrong side of a 12 gauge! Ever, can the owner do not worry if people visit the cave (or prefer not to know of the visits), but most of them simply like to be politely asked permission to visit the cave. Ignore this label may mean that the cave was closed permanently (guaranteeing the hostility of all the cave divers in the UK).
The only real way to find out the current access arrangements may be asking the local active members of the CDG. They may also have knowledge and experience of the meteorological effects of time in the cave in question and whether the cave will be flooded, have good diving conditions, what kind of visibility we can expect, what is the status of the guide wires, etc..
Most scans are performed by an individual or a small group of divers working together on a specific project, usually after investigating the geology, hydrology, etc.. and previous dives in place (with the important Sump Index, the journal of the CDG and publications of the clubs in caves). Divers then publish their findings in the journal of the CDG or sent to his publisher for his “secret file” (to be published at a later date or most appropriate) to share all this with the whole community of the caves. It is also hoped that a study (flat section) of any new discovery should be published in the Journal of the CDG.
The other divers etiquette dictates that no “hack” the project of someone while work continues. Therefore, it is individual responsibility to disclose that is developing a project, and also when the work is completed, tell people to “open season” back in the place in question.
For safety and convenience of others, any diver who finds a trap lines under conditions different from those previously published, must report changes to the editor for inclusion in the magazine.
Now look at the equipment and techniques. Many divers have adopted philosophies Hogarthian / Doing It Right promoted by WKPP, GUE, and so on. Without question, these principles are right for upwelling large, deep, easily accessible and open water sites in which they dive. The value of these techniques and equipment configurations is illustrated by the remarkable explorations carried out with few accidents. To quote the old adage, the proof of cheating cotton.
Unfortunately, such a configuration of equipment and techniques can not be used in British cave diving. Let us explain why …
For starters, most of the sites in the United Kingdom are inaccessible to divers who used bottles mounted on the back: very simple: do not pass through the halls of the cave. Therefore, the discussion of short and long hose or a place for the light, and so on. Does not arise. And you can leave at home the torpedoes! Here, the chordate is vital and the bottles side are de rigueur.
Although the water temperature is always cold (7 º max, 4 ° usually), wet suits are often carried in many traps. The large volume and restricted mobility of dry suits in a cave, and the likelihood of overheating and damage, precludes its use in all sites except the easiest access. The exceptions are long and deep traps, with a long way into the cave, where the usual equipment is worn cave to reach the dive site, transporting the dry suit and putting it after reaching the trap.
Rivers in the caves are often stained with peat and carrying amounts of sediment and organic matter, so the visibility of one or two meters is considered quite reasonable / normal, and three or four feet is excellent (but sadly very rare ). Larger water flows also mean more stress and strain on the lines, so a thickness of 4mm. is considered the minimum, and no wonder that of 6 mm. We have even put galvanized steel chain 1.25 cm. in a cave, and the floods just devoured the string of caves 11 mm. Consequently, thicker lines imply that the reels have to be sufficiently robust.
The beautiful aluminum spools with plastic housing you will see in many stores advertise “tek diving” will probably last about five minutes in the UK (apart from that you can not put any strings on them appropriately. The sweet, thin rope that come loaded these reels would be a threat in a sump in the UK.
In the next place in the UK, always wear a helmet! We guarantee that your head will hit the ceiling of the cave at least once during a dive, and some of the traps closer, will be constantly banging against the rock ceiling. It is also a very practical thing to mount lights on it, so you can see something (even a light brown and a line pressed against your skin) while you are negotiating with some of the traps less complacent. Usually carry two twenty-watt lights, lamps with ten degrees of opening angle, and two or more focusable flashlight batteries 6C in the hull.
The flashlights and head entail problems naked here. Most cave divers in the UK carry a minimum five different light sources on a dive, and all are mounted on the hull.
You’re probably beginning to realize why the Cave Diving Group members seem to discourage people from diving in caves in Britain. If you tell the truth, underwater caves in the UK can rarely be described as a pleasant environment. Sure you can get satisfaction for their work in a well-executed dive, but do not expect to see what you see in the pictures in magazines …
Upwelling British have a horrible reputation. In response to the British impressed by their progress and the distances explored, Olivier Isler said once: “Here in the Dordogne, the corridors are large, clean, warm water, so mamboing here is easy. But I know that in England the caves are very small, very cold water and you can not see anything. That’s very difficult and dangerous conditions. “This from a man who has broken world records in cave diving.