Posted by Jim Hoffmann on February 12, 2001 at 10:33:45:
A few years ago some friends and I took a trip to the Maya Rivera (Alumal area of Yucatan). We had all taken an Overhead Environment Class here at Scuba Toys (pool and lecture) and were doing the water work in the Cenotes .The Alumal area is dotted with Cenotes ( crystal clear ponds that are part of the extensive underwater cave
systems). We were diving in the submerged areas of the cave that are illuminated by natural sunlight, called the Cavern Zone. The Cavern Zone in many of the Cenotes are extensive and most have gallery’s of speleotherms. The vis in some of these Cenotes is
600 ft.+ and with the sun shining in on the formations of Stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, soda straws, and columns the cavern zone can be a magical place. Last year a few of us took the Intro to Cave Program . It was a challenging program
lights out drills, line drills, buddy breathing out of the cave, buddy breathing no mask out of the cave, buddy breathing no lights out of the cave, lights out off the line and much more. This was not an easy program, it really tested your comfort level in the water. I think that anyone who has taken one of these programs will never look at diving the same way again. It changes the way you look at equipment, the way I look at configuration, diving techniques, and diver training. It really makes you grow as a diver.
One of the many lesson this last class taught us was how we look at our buddy . He or she has become one of our most important piece of safety equipment; extra air supply, extra BC, extra gauges, extra lights, extra propulsion, extra pair of eyes, extra brain. I don’t think that most divers look at their buddy in that light. But, maybe they should. I don’t dive without this extra piece equipment any more, because I know that having it with me doubles my own safety as a diver.
So next time you look a your buddy, really look at them and their equipment, how does that octo breath (maybe you should buy them a G250 or a T2 for an octo ), what’s his or her air consumption like (maybe you should get them a bigger tank), what kind of shape
is he or she in ( is it time to start them on that work out program ), has your buddy taken that rescue class yet? Remember you want this piece of safety equipment working at peak performance.
I highly recommend taking classes like the OE or Cave programs they help you grow as diver. They show you what is really important in diver safety . Because if you think about it we are always diving in a overhead environment, even in 20 ft. of water at Catalina Island.
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