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Old 4 July 2018, 12:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medic4070 View Post
I thought about posting this in the dive forum (but went to sleep instead). For our dive instructors and cave divers, what are your thoughts about trying to get a teenager marginally proficient enough to make it out of the cave? Would it be easier with an AGA vs a normal bite reg?
Diving in a cave is no more difficult than diving in a swimming pool. Breathe in, breath out, don't hold your breath, and swim. It's the environment that creates the challenges, and cave and technical training prepare you to deal with those challenges when it's dark, your primary regulator fails, your teammate has disappeared, and have lost your cave line. Pretty much when all the shit hits the fan simultaneously. I'm sure MDavid can regale you with tales of the crap scenarios they threw at him in the Cave 3 course. I've only gone through technical and wreck penetration, and it was stuff like "swap your gear while buddy breathing without a mask and dealing with a uncontrollable free flow on your primary while a fighting off a giant squid with your pencil. Don't forget about the shark that's biting your leg, either."

Very little information has been provided about the cave that would allow evaluation of the plan. The only two known factors are (a) zero visibility in some sections, (b) the presence of narrow choke points, (c) the distance to the group, and (d) that the cave is only partially flooded (which is a pretty important fact).

The good news is that the SEALs ran a cave line down to them, which means that subsequent ingresses and egresses will go faster. If they are going to swim the kids out, my next step would be to run a much larger line down the cave--like gym class rope size. I'd also be dropping stage bottles for each kid every couple hundred meters early in the op.

As for training, I have taught a number of teenagers to dive. Most of them have no problem with it. You don't need to give them the full roll. In a situation like this, you'd need to give them the basics such as regulator clearing, mask clearing, equalization, and regulator retrieval, and keep them from panicking and bouncing all over the cave. Panic is the big deal here, although after sitting in a dark cave for a couple of days they probably will have gotten over the claustrophobia of it all. It's a foregone conclusion that they're going to silt out the cave (which is probably already silted out anyway), which is half the reason I'd run a bigass line down the cave--the kids can pull themselves hand-over-hand with the rope even if it's pitch black. The second half is that the line is not as likely to get cut, and it's a big, physical, "security blanket" connection to the surface. In open water, I've seen people get freaked out, but once they latch onto the anchor line, they chill out. I ASSume that the SEALs will have a tender for each kid to guide them out and assist with bottle swaps, so a high level of training isn't needed. Do it slow and orderly, and they'll get through it.

And since you asked about FFM vs. standard regulators, I'd go with standard regs. FFM has a steeper learning curve, and they'll be swapping bottles on a 1.6 mile swim out. Whole lot easier to remove and replace a standard reg on the bottle swap.

There may be a decompression issue here, but I can't evaluate that without knowing what the water level in the cave is. The story said "partially flooded," so I ASSume that certain areas are flooded, and not that there's a stack of water 1.6 miles deep on top of them.
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