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Thread: Less is More

  1. #1

    Default Less is More

    After twenty years, I've learned that less can be more for veteran, not beginner, cave divers: shorter dives with smaller tanks and lights, skimpier suits, no knives, computers, nor even reels, can yield a more sublime, intimate experience with the cave. For example, recently dropping into the Eye and swimming through the Lips and Keyhole Bypasses followed on egress by the Catacombs with only two side-mounted LP 51 cu. ft. tanks, four small handheld LED lights, small light fins, in a shorty 3 mm wet suit, and nothing else, gave me one of my most satisfying experiences ever. I've repeated this rigging for Cow Springs and Jug Hole, granting liberation from the equipment-intensive sport that cave diving has become.

    In twenty years, I've never seen anyone in the Catacombs, let alone the two aforementioned bypasses, at the beginning of the cave. They are arguably the most beautiful tunnels in all of northern Florida, yet divers simply swim past them on their way to the farther reaches of the Devil's system, ostensibly to the "real beauty" of the cave. But, real beauty can be found in most caves near the entrance.

    It takes me 15 minutes to don my minimal, almost sorry excuse, for an exposure suit and gear, and jump into the water, while other divers in the parking lot take an hour or more to struggle into their undergarments, dry suits, re-breathers, stage bottles, oxygen tanks, scooters, cameras, etc. I keep my minimalist kit in the back of my compact car, always ready for a quickie. I dive more -- it is so satisfying.

    It is also satisfying to get to truly know the passage, like the Catacombs, you are swimming through: learning its features, turns, and chimneys without the fixed guidelines that, frankly, rob tunnels of their wild nature. Fixed guidelines, like bolted anchors on rock climbs, allow you to "tour" the route, but not really "do" it by meeting it on its own terms.

    Do Mount Everest climbers pulling on fixed ropes really climb the mountain? No, they reduce it to a tour. The same applies to cave diving: Less is More.

    Last edited by Rick Palm; 10-11-2018 at 09:49 PM. Reason: grammar
    Rick Palm, RN
    Fort White, Florida
    k1ce@arrl.net
    386-843-1273

  2. #2
    Member
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    St Pete, Fl
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    Default

    “You have fun differently than I have fun. You should experience the real fun the way I do it”.

    Cool.


  3. #3

    Default

    You do make excellent points, I too enjoy many dives in the very beginning of the cave, it is awesome to have a cave like Ginnie with so many options right at the door, the Gallery is such an amazing tunnel, with lots of really cool features and fossils...

    But I’m not sure I agree with “less is more”, if what I want is more of the enjoyment, then I don’t want my gear (or lack of) to be the controlling factor, I want the dive to end when I feel fulfilled. Back to Ginnie being cool with so many options in the front of the cave, I can stay down for 4 hours and really take my time enjoying many of the dive options in one go, and never even hit more than ~1500 penetration, definitely worth bringing my scooter for such a dive.

    I guess balance is key!
    Maybe if I lived in cc I’d be doing the same as you, not carrying so much $#€7 to water sure you’d be nice


  4. #4
    Member
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    Jun 2009
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    High Springs, FL
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    Default

    Different strokes for different folks makes the world go round.
    Personally, I find it dumb to go into a cave without a cutting device or spool, but you drive on and enjoy caves the way you want.

    I'd definitely not recommend this route for folks newer to caves though, for sure no.


  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Palm View Post

    In twenty years, I've never seen anyone in the Catacombs, let alone the two aforementioned bypasses, at the beginning of the cave. They are arguably the most beautiful tunnels in all of northern Florida, yet divers simply swim past them on their way to the farther reaches of the Devil's system, ostensibly to the "real beauty" of the cave. But, real beauty can be found in most caves near the entrance.
    I regularly go through these passages, and have been through them in pretty much every configuration (except single tank obviously). I really don't agree with you on taking less gear than recommended in every agencies standards. There is a reason we came up with these rules. Lights, cutting devices, reels etc.


  6. #6

    Default

    While I by-and-large agree that the front of any cave is just as beautiful and valuable as the back of any cave. Heck, if the Gallery of Ginnie was 3000 feet back it would probably be considered the best dive on the planet, but because it's the first 100 feet everyone motors by it without a second glance.

    However, it's important to remember the two chief demographics of the bulk of cave accidents:
    The very inexperienced who haven't yet built a dearth of knowledge from which to draw when the #### hits the fan.
    AND
    The very experienced who no longer think that the rules apply to them.


  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oya View Post
    While I by-and-large agree that the front of any cave is just as beautiful and valuable as the back of any cave. Heck, if the Gallery of Ginnie was 3000 feet back it would probably be considered the best dive on the planet, but because it's the first 100 feet everyone motors by it without a second glance.

    However, it's important to remember the two chief demographics of the bulk of cave accidents:
    The very inexperienced who haven't yet built a dearth of knowledge from which to draw when the #### hits the fan.
    AND
    The very experienced who no longer think that the rules apply to them.
    This


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cavewoman View Post
    I regularly go through these passages, and have been through them in pretty much every configuration (except single tank obviously). I really don't agree with you on taking less gear than recommended in every agencies standards. There is a reason we came up with these rules. Lights, cutting devices, reels etc.
    You know, if you are not going to carry those pesky reels, then you really don't need a cutting device, do you?

    "I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap"
    "I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet."
    "Yeah, I know I'm ugly... I said to a bartender, 'Make me a zombie.' He said 'God beat me to it."
    "I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out."
    "I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand."

    Rodney Dangerfield 10-5-2004

    "Into the blue again; in the silent water
    Under the rocks, and stones; there is water underground" Talking Heads

  9. #9

    Default

    I can see where you're coming from, but part of the fun for me is the planning and the preparation for a big dive.



 

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