So I had enrolled in a cavern course with Artur some time ago, did an open water dive in Sandycove, laying some line, do some belays, that kind of things, but the weather didn't really work out in Doolin for a while. Finally the stars aligned for the 9th and 10th, and off we went. In the meantime, owing to a little misunderstanding, the course had become Cavern+Intro. Yeah well, I wanted to see what cave diving was like, anyway, so cool.
First overhead dive is a demonstration dive. Artur would lay a line, I would follow. Simple. We go down. And back up. "You don't have to hold the line all the time." "Ah, right." Back down. 3m. A couple of belays later, Artur turns around, "out of air". Pass primary over. Put secondary in my mouth. We start back. Cut. So it begins… A couple of extra belays, we're over a drop to 10. Rock below, rock on both sides, rock above. Really cool. I'm not a big fan of caves in the dry. Cold. Damp. Oppressive. But just floating there, motionless, (dry, warm ), it's… different. Better. Much. Anyway. We drop to the bottom. A belay there and we turn right into a passage that turns into a big room. Lit passage on the left (an exit? yup), and in front of us the mudblock Artur told me about, reaching all the way to the ceiling. We follow up a bit, then it's time to turn around. Follow the line… Down, up, left. Out.
Recalculate the sixths, let's go back in. I was a bit worried I wouldn't be too keen at this point, not being a cave person. But no. It's cool. Let's go This time I'm laying the line. In, down, left! Into Anemone Arcade. We pass Brittlestar Boulevard on the left, turn around… Lights out. I reel us back to the cavern zone, where the line goes up, check gas, then we turn north (left) and up towards the exit there. Nice to have a snoopy loop attached to the reel, that way if you can only drop it 10cm, not meters, or you can have two hands to make a belay. We don't actually go for the exit, Artur signals that I am to stop; he's going to take a look down a hole on the left, make sure it's what he thinks it is - our exit for tomorrow, as it will turn out. He comes back up after a couple of minutes. We head back.
Longer break this time. For one thing, I have to top up, I'm down to 120. Time to be told what's next, too… I am to lay line for tomorrow, and do a jump, arrow and spool, to a permanent line in Brittlestar Boulevard. Then "something will happen". Or might, you know? Right.
We're going back in the Arcade, past Brittlestar Boulevard (the permanent line is indeed there, cool), until the reel runs out, and leave it there. That's our line for tomorrow. I was kinda worried about leaving it just like that on the floor, but I was shown an advanced technique for this situation. Piling big stones on it. There, it's not going anywhere. We then turn around and I make my jump. Arrow. Spool. Attach to line. Arrow. All good. We move in for a bit, to the chamber there, then back to within a couple of meters of my spool, then… Guess what? Lights out. Hand on the line, follow, two lines, one's got an arrow on, pointing forward (thank god), follow that… A T :-) Arrow on the right… Pointing right, check, follow that, gradually I can make the outline of the exit into the main chamber, then the line going up…
After a quick UW sixth calculation - that I fucked up -, we go back down, this time to lay a line down that hole Artur went in on dive 3, Spider Crab Crawl. Down the first line, arrow up, attach second line, head towards the hole. Easy, yeah! Wrong. No snoopy loop on this reel… Dropped it a couple of times making one belay. Grrr! Anyway. Artur goes in first, very impressive head first dive, very smooth. I'm next. Not quite like Artur. More like the opposite in fact. But, okay, I'm on the bottom, no silting, not much, anyway, I got the reel, and the line is straight from my last belay to where I am. Belay here, then follow the expert. We go in a bit, make a final belay, then head back out. All set for tomorrow.
Read the rest of the report at: Full report from Introductory Cave Diving course in Ireland
|Dry frog kick demonstration|
|Cave simulation ;-)|
|Land drill: passing a belay|
|Seriously ?! Down there?!?|
You must be kidding...