What is Cave Diving?
Cave driving can be as fun and exciting, if not more fun, than your typical diving expedition. Cave diving involves the use of scuba equipment (usually) in water-filled caves. This extreme sport is no walk in the park, and it is often considered a type of technical diving. There is often no free surface throughout most or the entire dive, and depending on the depth of the cave decompression techniques may be utilized. Compared to its close adventurous cousins, scuba diving and caving – cave diving is less popular. This can at least be partly explained by the specialized skill sets required, as well as the high-tech equipment that is typically needed, not to mention to inherent risk of diving without the ability to surface if crisis arises (penetration diving). For those that aren’t familiar with the term, penetration diving simply implies that in an emergency, the diver must swim the entire way back out, rather than vertically straight to the surface as you would find in scuba diving.
Is Cave Diving Dangerous?
Visibility varies depending on the cave itself, depth, or the time of day. It is not unusual for visibility to go from clearly visible to pitch black in a single cave dive. Specialized flashlights or other light sources may be needed in order to safely dive depending on desired depth.
There really is very little room for error when it comes to this kind of sport. Strictly following safety procedures is a must, and even then things can go wrong. If I’m not mistaken, I believe I recently read an article from the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, which said roughly 10 cave divers die per year. While this may seem like a small number, you must take into account how uncommon cave diving is (only a couple thousand cave divers in the world). Compare this to typical scuba diving, fatality rates fall somewhere around 1 death per 15,000. So clearly, cave diving is a bit more dangerous.
Florida Cave Diving
Some of you may not realize that Florida is one of the best places for cave diving. Most people may think of Disney world, sandy beaches, huge shopping malls, and alligators – for me, its all about the cave diving. Limestone is the foundation for the Sunshine state, which is responsible for providing us with some of the best tunnels for cavediving – miles under the ground! With proper illumination, scuba divers can swim for thousands of meters and experience something that could be argued as straight out of science fiction. Many of these caves are quite literally jaw dropping. Without a light source though, you would never even know. Seriously, you’ve never experienced darkness quite like this. But once you turn on the light, you find yourself in a beautiful work of art. Swimming through tunnels the size of a hallway and then you find yourself in a cave the size of a small building, it is an awesome experience I must say.