Odds are, if you have been cave diving — or just following cave diving — for any length of time, you’ve come across a video showing fellow cave diving instructor Max Kuznetsov tackling among the tightest of all cave passageways, the infamous “Fluffy Bunny Tunnel.” It’s available on Vimeo and it’s a great video to share if you want to absolutely horrify your non-cave-diving friends.
There’s a popular video entitled The Five Monkeys which helps explain why so many people do things that are completely unnecessary, while having no idea why. Although not based on an actual experiment, the underlying concept has been validated by other studies. The “Five Monkeys” concept applies to diver training as well. I continue to see instructors and training agencies teach skills or require equipment items that are either completely unnecessary, or which should have been superseded long ago by updated procedures.
We’ve all seen the disclaimers: These people are trained professionals. Do not try this at home. And what do warnings such as this help guarantee? That some idiot will, indeed, try this at home. That’s why there are the Darwin Awards. Thank goodness this sort of nonsense doesn’t go on in the diving community. Or does it?
What is the best strategy for cave diving in north-central Florida on busy summer weekends? Cave explorer Win Brown may have summed it up in one word: Don’t. Seriously, if you can limit your summertime cave diving to weekdays, you’ll be happier for it. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for many people.
While filming this week’s Cave Country episode of ScubaNation, producer “Bitchin’ Mitch” Horne asked me whether it would be possible to produce an effect in which you start with a Google Earth zoom-in on a particular piece of real estate, just above an underwater cave, that have that dissolve to reveal the cave underneath.
Even though it has been around for roughly 15 years, few things in diver training remain as controversial as eLearning. Just this past year, Dive Center Business published a scathing article pinning the blame for the current decline in equipment sales — at least in part — on eLearning. Many dive retailers and instructors will tell you, at length, what they don’t like about eLearning.
I was certified through your store ten years ago. I’m leaving on a vacation next week and can’t find my certification card. Can you get me a replacement?
Does that set off alarm bells? It should, because it could easily be the sign of an accident waiting to happen. Here is just one story that illustrates what can take place when you issue replacement c-cards on a “no questions asked” basis.
At the surface, a properly weighted diver will float at eye level. This statement, or one like it, appears in virtually every diver training organization’s materials. What you won’t find agreement on is whether this is with a full lung of air or half a lung of air. It may also be unclear is whether this is done which a full tank or one that is closer to empty. It doesn’t matter. No matter what your Open Water Diver manual says, it’s probably wrong. At least much of the time. Why is that?
Most of us are aware of a trend in public education in which students are not allowed to participate in competitions or games that have clear winners and losers, or in which everyone who participates doesn’t receive some sort of trophy or medal. The rationale is that it is better to leave students totally unprepared for the realities of life than it is to bruise anyone’s fragile ego. Well, guess what? We’ve apparently reached that point in diver training as well.
What happens when the people we rely on most to provide good role models for new divers drop the ball? That’s easy. The divers get bad information and, as a result, make poor decisions. This is why being a role model is so important.