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Five excellent reasons to learn cavern diving

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By: Marco Valera

The majority of recreational scuba divers are not ready to be exposed to an overhead environment,  such as the cavern portion of a flooded cave. Darkness, confinement, minimum experience or worse, minimum level of training (since the open water diver certification is a prerequisite), poor buoyancy control skills, lack of a clean equipment configuration, relaying on your guide’s “trust-me-I-know” mindset can and has caused accidents with fatal results in the last couple of years.

Cavern diving is a serious activity. It is not the average recreational scuba dive. You cannot compare your cavern guide’s dive briefing with formal training provided by a Cavern Instructor. Hence, these are five excellent reasons to sign up for a Cavern specialty course through a recognized agency that has outlined and updated standards with a Quality Assurance program.

1. To develop a committed sense of conservation

Cave systems were formed over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. Their unique beauty has no comparison. These fragile environments can be destroyed forever in an instant. Even the silt laying at the bottom is part of the cavern. There is no place for “fin pivot.” So far there’s no means that can repair or replace those delicate formations. Understanding their preservation will allow future generations to study and enjoy.

Remember: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but bubbles, kill nothing but time.”

2. Master your buoyancy

In order to preserve such environments you will need to thoroughly understand how buoyancy works.   You will learn how to remain horizontal (trim) during your bottom time, all the time! There is no place for “fin pivot,” remember? Different kicking techniques will allow you to move smoothly without disturbing the surroundings. With enough time to practice you will be capable to deploy your primary reel guideline without bouncing to the bottom, reaching the ceiling, or worse getting entangled with it. Because well developed buoyancy becomes second nature, once you jump back in the ocean you’ll never be the same.

3. Mental and physical challenges

Diving into an overhead environment causes a certain level of discomfort. You will learn how to recognize and manage stress, deal with internal and external doubts and understand why massaging your ego is a negative factor. Suiting up, gearing up and walking to the entrance of the cavern will increase your level of discomfort. New pieces of equipment will demand your muscular memory. Understanding that repetition is going to lead you to mastering any skill is important. Frustration is not prohibited but you need to have what it takes to “bounce-back.”

4. Top-up your situational awareness

Situational awareness becomes a real factor. That time when you were a “passenger” in a scuba guided dive is over. You need to become proactive. Ask questions; gather information concerning the cavern dive. Implement the Accident Analysis rules to your dive plan. Understanding and sticking to those rules can save your life.

While underwater evaluate yourself: is your mind clear enough for ten more minutes into the dive? How about your body? Track your gas consumption, your bottom time, your depth. Are you navigating the guideline properly? Haloclines (almost mixture of fresh and saltwater) are a unique experience but they decrease the visibility. Where is your guide? Where are you in the group? How far is the diver behind you? Do you still see any daylight? Is there any silt-out ahead? How far are you from the guideline?

Remember this: there’s no direct access to the surface, your senses have to be sharp every second and every minute of your cavern dive in order to get back to the entrance/exit.

5. Mature as a solid reliable recreational diver

There is no “in future dives remember to do this skill this way” debriefings. It’s either, you do master the skill or retry until you are capable of executing so you can overcome a situation and get yourself out of there. Then you earn your Cavern diver certification.

Cavern training has some sort of awakening. You evolve as a scuba diver. You won’t be the same. You are going to be better. You’ll notice that once you jump back in the ocean, lake or a quarry.

Lately, if it happens that you appreciate and value the intrinsic beauty of caverns and their flooded cave systems you may have the calling to enrol in the Intro to Cave diver level, the second step into the Full Cave diver program, the elite, the astronauts of the inner space.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February

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There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit www.fishfreefebruary.com

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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