I would consider myself an enthusiastic rebreather diver. I also love caves. If someone can come up with a better way to combine both of these obsessions in one activity, please enlighten me. Until then, closed circuit rebreather (CCR) cave diving will continue to keep me occupied.
There are plenty of people that will tell you Florida is not the ideal locale for CCR cave diving – whether they argue it as being too shallow, or the tunnels too narrow, I can personally tell you that this is simply not true. As I’ve preached before, when it comes to cave diving, or scuba diving in general, maintaining awareness of your surroundings is crucial. With a bit of forethought, some skill, and a love for the sport, the utilization of your diving machines can be incorporated into many cave diving scenarios.
Whenever someone uses the “its too shallow” argument, I always bring up the fact that with a low set point, and adequate bail out planning leading up to the dive, you can spend the entire time floating around underwater. With proper technique, you can experience the entire cave in only one dive. Keep in mind this depends on the size and complexity of the caves and tunnels. Florida has a wide range of caves that are well suited for rebreathers.
Sure, I’ll acknowledge that the majority of dives can be accomplished with OC alone, though you have to admit that CCR is well ahead of the pack with regards to gas logistics and cave diving of extended durations. Long story short, if you already cave dive, and you are experienced with CCR diving, combine the two of them together. Have no idea where to start when it comes to rebreathers? Have a look at this. Enjoy!