About Me

Cave and Technical Diving Instructor since 2002, Scuba Instructor since 1993, I have certified over 1000 students, more than 100 of whom have earned cave diving qualifications. Working since 1993 as a full time dive instructor in the Bahamas, Mexico and Honduras I have logged more than 5000 dives, over 1000 in caves. I currently organise and lead diving expeditions to the Bahamas and Mexico. The NACD has appointed me their Safety Officer for the Bahamas.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Basic Outline of Cave Course on G.B.I.

Grand Bahama Cave Course Outline

Day One: Meet at 8.00a.m. with all cave diving equipment.
Paperwork: registration forms, waivers, medical form, conservation form.
Theory: 1. Orientation to NACD and cave diving.
2. The Cave Environment.
3. Cave Diving Techniques.
4. Communications.
5. Accident Analysis.
6. Guidelines and Guideline techniques (Land Drills #1).
7. Dive Planning and Gas Management.
8. Equipment Set-up and Discussion.

Lunch/ Drive to Site

Dive 1: Ben’s Cavern or Owl’s Hole

Openwater skill circuit.
1. Familiarisation to Cave Gear in the water.
2. Propulsion technique practice(modified flutter, frog, and dolphin).
3. Line Following with and without visibility; sharing air; touch contact; without mask.
4. Reel use.
5. ‘S-Drill’ practice.
6. Horizontal out of air swim to donor (approx. 60 feet).
7. Gas valve management.

Dive 2:
First dive into the cave environment, introduces team to proper dive briefing, bubble check, equipment matching, ‘s-drill’, team positioning, line protocol, communication, safety/deco stop, gas valve management and post dive debriefing. These elements are an integral part of all cave dives during the course.

Day Two: 8.00a.m. start and drive to site.
Theory: 1. Emergency Procedures/ situation management.
2. Recognition of potential stressful/ emergency situations.
3. Psychological aspects of cave diving.
4. Cave Conservation.

Dive 3: Owl’s Hole (s.e. passage).
-upon turnaround, switch to back-up light while continuing to exit.
-extinguish back-ups and complete exit in touch contact.

Dive 4: Owl’s Hole (s.e. passage).
-upon turnaround, initiate share air.
-complete exit sharing air in the dark.

Lunch/ change tanks

Dive 5 & 6: Owl’s Hole (s.e. passage).
-as dive 4, with each team member alternating roles and position.

Day Three: 8.00a.m. start and drive to site.
Theory: 1. Medical aspects of diving/ DCS.
2. Dive Table Review.
3. Use and Misuse of Dive Computers.
(cavern certification could now be issued after exam).
4. Land drills #2: T’s, jumps, gaps, lost line/buddy,
line entanglement.

Dive 7: Owl’s Hole (s.w. passage).
-following rule of sixths(intro level), jump to main line from cavern line, cave dive past 2 T’s.

Dive 8: Owl’s Hole (s.e. passage).
-enter to beyond cavern zone, where each team member shall successfully perform a line entanglement drill.

Lunch/ change tanks

Dive 9: Owl’s Hole (n. passage).
-rule of sixths, Jump and T’s.
(intro certification can now be issued upon completion of exam).

Day Four: 8.00a.m. start and drive to site.
Theory: 1. Cave orientation, referencing and navigation.
2. Circuits and Traverses.

Dive 10: Mermaid’s Lair

-rule of thirds, limited deco possible.
-circuit set up dive.

Lunch/ change tanks

Dive 11: Mermaid’s Lair

-Circuit completion.

Day Five: 8.00a.m. start and drive to site.

Dive 12: Owl’s Hole (s.e. passage).

-Penetration to ‘Big Room’ and beyond, multiple T’s.
-Prep for Traverse.
-air share through restriction.

Lunch/tank change

Dive 13: Mermaid’s Lair

-traverse attempt

Day 6: 8.00a.m. start and drive to site.
Theory: 1. Stage decompression theory and procedures.
2. Inert gas narcosis and oxygen poisoning.
3. Physiology.

Dive 14: Mermaid’s Lair

-air share through ‘the kink’


Afternoon can be used for any ‘make up’ dives, to catch up on theory, and to hand out exams.

Day 7: 8.00a.m. start and drive to site.
Exam grading.

Dive’s 15 & 16
These 2 dives will be tailored to the group’s capabilities, and will be an opportunity to explore techniques designed to safely extend cave time. The objective will be to spend as much time in the cave as the group is comfortable with. By this point we should be thinking and diving like cave divers, this is your chance to really enjoy the caves and show off what you’ve learned. As always, be prepared to be tested!!

Notes: This outline can be changed for any number of reasons relating to logistics or performance of the group. I hope it will help you visualize what you can expect from the course. All candidates should have had the chance to thoroughly read the NACD Cavern/Cave Diver Workbook as a minimum before starting the course.

Ben Cook/ NACD I-137


scubasteve said...

Bahama Ben - the best instructor I have witnessed in operation ( and I've witnessed many in my 53 years ) and a true gentlemen in all ways.
Just a frustratingly good guy who can be trusted to do just the right thing always - at least when he is sober!!

Steve Robinson - Grand Bahama.

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