Cave & Cavern Diving – What To Pay Attention

Cave & Cavern Diving1
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A truly unique experience, cave diving combines the exhilaration of scuba diving with the wonder of spelunking. Some of the strangest and most varied ecosystems on the planet can be found in both marine and cave environments. Little light, food, or oxygen are present in underwater caves. Due to these particular circumstances, they are teeming with life that humanity does not frequently observe and still does not fully comprehend.

Common Cave Diving Hazards

Cave diving is one of the more hazardous activities a scuba diver can engage in, despite its allure. It is a type of penetration diving, much like ice diving and wreck diving, and is regarded as technical diving.

Divers must be very careful with their navigation and oxygen management because there is no open surface above them. If you intend to dive in caves, you should probably use a dive light to help you navigate dimly lit areas. In case a silt-out obliterates visibility, you’ll also need a guide line for navigation. Due to the length of time that cave divers spend at depth, prepare for decompression stops as you ascend.

Naturally, the majority of those risks apply to wreck diving as well. However, cave diving has its own special challenges. It’s possible to find thousands of feet of maze-like passageways in caves, which can be challenging to navigate. Natural formations might not be as simple to decipher as the passages of a sunken ship because nature doesn’t care about what makes sense to humans.

Divers in caves might also have to watch out for falling rocks. Additionally, many caves contain currents that are stronger than you might anticipate because they are a part of springs or siphons. Depending on the cave, those currents might flow in or out. Your effort level to enter or exit will depend on this current, which will have an impact on how much gas you use.

Best Dive Sites For Cave & Cavern Diving In The World

Cenote Angelita – Tulum, Mexico

Divers are mystified by Cenote Angelita, one of the tens of thousands of cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. At a height of about 100 feet (30 meters), this mysterious, cloudy substance divides the remarkably clear fresh water from the salt water below. Most divers won’t make it all the way down to the bottom of the cavern, which drops another 200 feet (60 meters). For this dive, don’t forget to pack a camera and a flashlight!

Indian Springs – Florida, Usa

The best cave dive in North America is frequently referred to as Indian Springs, which is situated on private property just south of Tallahassee, Florida. Before reaching a T-junction, the main passage tunnel extends for 600 feet (183 meters). Divers can now choose to go downstream or upstream by turning to the left or right, respectively. The Bone Narcosis Room, the Wakulla Room, and the Power Room are a few of the cave’s interesting features. Diver propulsion vehicles work best for getting to the majority of these. The average depth of a dive in Indian Springs is between 120 and 180 feet (37 and 55 meters), which makes it both a technical dive and a cave dive.

Nereo Cave – Alghero, Sardinia

Nereo Cave, which is between 50 and 100 feet (15 and 30 meters) off the coast of Alghero, is recognized as the biggest underwater cave in the Mediterranean Sea. World-renowned cave divers come here to explore its enormous size, arches, and tunnels. The lowest entry to the cave is located at 100 feet (30 meters), where the majority of dive profiles start. Then, divers ascend through a tunnel leading to a room illuminated by natural light. You return to the cave’s exit at 60 feet (18 meters) later through a wide tunnel that is hundreds of meters long. This Sardinian dive site makes a fantastic introduction to cave diving because Nereo Cave is within recreational limits and is fairly simple to navigate.

Kilsby’s Sinkhole – Mt Gambier, South Australia

Kilsby’s Sinkhole, one of Mount Gambier’s first sinkholes to be found, has a fascinating past. In the 1950s, divers flocked to the area, frequently diving the caves with little prior experience. After a tragic double drowning, the location was turned into a weapons research facility. Later, a deal was made to restore the cave’s dive-ability between the landowners and Australia’s cave diving association. The sinkhole itself is a 213-foot (65-meter) limestone cavity filled with glistening fresh water. It offers environments that are both overhead and below overhead.

Ben’s Cave – Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama

The world’s longest system of freshwater caves is found in Lucayan National Park, which is close to Freeport, Grand Bahama. The system, which is 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) long, is home to endemic species of crustaceans, shrimp, freshwater eels, mosquito fish, and shrimp. Although there are many caves, only Ben’s Cave is accessible for scuba diving. The cave features stalactites, stalagmites, and fossilized conch shells in addition to the fascinating mixture of fresh and saltwater. Ben’s Cave is a great place for inexperienced divers to try out the world of cave diving because it is similar to the cenotes in Mexico.

Although the Lot and Dordogne regions of France are regarded as having the best cave diving in Europe, visiting just one cave is worth the trip. The Russell Emergence appears in that. The Emergence du Russell boasts a 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) loop that begins at a fork just beyond its entrance, with passages wide enough to accommodate back-mounted rigs and diver propulsion vehicles. One of the passages is 30 feet (9 meters) deep, while the other is 60 feet (18 meters) deep. The challenge draws cave diving experts from all over the world, even though the majority of divers will never finish the loop.

Orda Cave – Perm Region, Russia

The longest gypsum cave in the world and the longest cave in Russia, Orda Cave is more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) long. This cave diving paradise, which can be found in the eastern foothills of the Ural Mountains, has white walls and ever-changing scenery because gypsum dissolves quickly. The vast rooms here can be up to 250 feet (76 meters) across, and there are also many narrow passages that will put your wriggling skills to the test. Those with the necessary experience to explore the cave’s deepest levels will find that the majority of it is still unexplored.

Anhumas Abyss – Bonito, Brazil

Anhumas Abyss can be an extremely thrilling experience for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Through a tiny opening in the top of the Anhumas Abyss, 24 stories down to an underground lake, 18 to 25 people are permitted to rappel each day. This lake receives only a brief amount of sunlight each day, but the water is home to enormous schools of fish. The most beautiful area of the lake is between 50 and 80 feet (15 and 25 meters) deep, and the water is so clear that divers are invited to explore it.

El Cenote – Playa Giron, Cuba

El Cenote is a limestone formation that connects the sea with a large lake and is situated in the Zapata Marshes close to Playa Giron. The depth of El Cenote’s side fissures is at least 230 feet (70 meters), though it has not yet been fully explored. Although the entrance itself is at 66 feet (20 meters), the dive is only permitted to a depth of 100 feet (30 meters) after passing through an 800 meter-long (2600 foot) tunnel. In addition to fascinating rock formations, the cave is home to numerous coral reef fish. Overall, diving in Cuba’s El Cenote is a fantastic substitute for open water diving.

Cave Diving Dangers

Cave diving has a number of risks because of how it operates. In a typical cave diving scenario, the scuba diver will come across an overhead environment, preventing direct ascent in the event of an emergency. Strong out- or in-flowing currents, reduced visibility caused by disturbed sediment and a lack of natural light, deep diving risks at dive sites at a high depth, and these are just a few of the cave diving dangers.

Accidents and deaths while diving in caves do happen, though they are uncommon. The majority of cave diving associations contend that the vast majority of divers who have perished in a cave didn’t receive specialized instruction in cave diving. It must suffice to say that scuba divers who wish to participate in cave diving should conduct research regarding safety and certification before entering the water because there is no reliable information regarding cave diving deaths globally.

Inexperienced cave divers are advised to begin by practicing cavern diving, which is defined as diving within the range of natural light.

Cave & Cavern Diving2

Safety Essentials For Cave Diving

While cave diving does have a number of risks, those risks can be significantly diminished with the right training and safety measures. It’s not reckless to go cave diving. However, if you pursue it, it’s crucial to know what you’re doing. To help lower risk, cave divers have a checklist of necessities. The acronym TGDAL (Training, Guide, Depth, Air, Light) comes to mind. Or, as some people remember this checklist with the phrase “The Successful Divers Live Forever.”


It is necessary to obtain certification from an accredited organization before starting a cave diving program. The majority of cave diving-related accidents or fatalities are wholly avoidable and are brought on by individuals who dive into caves without the proper training or who go deeper than their level of experience really warrants.

Guide Lines

Always have a line of sight between the team leader and a point in open water outside the cave. As an additional measure of safety, you can also secure the guideline close to the cave’s entrance.

Depth Rules

Since decompression stops will likely be necessary as you ascend because cave diving frequently occurs at shallow depths. It might be simple to concentrate on navigation and forget how deep you are as you explore a cave. Be aware of your depth and be careful not to descend any further than you intended. Prepare yourself for a safe, slow ascent to compensate if you unintentionally go deeper than you intended.

Do People Frequently Get Lost In The Caves?

if you become confused about which way to go or which way out. If your light fails or you disturb the cave’s sediment, the visibility may effectively disappear. You only have a limited amount of air left, so you really only have a few minutes to solve the issue before you can’t get out of the cave.

Is There A Point At Which It Becomes Particularly Dangerous, And How Deep Is Too Deep?

Yes, but by using the right gas mixtures, you can avoid those issues. You can only dive to a depth of about 130 feet with compressed air. Trimix must be used if you plan to dive much deeper than that. Helmix is a combination of nitrogen, oxygen, and nitrous oxide. You add inert gas helium to your breathing mixture in place of less oxygen and nitrogen. You can go farther and more safely as a result.

To Be A Cave Diver, What Certification Is Required?

A few cave diving courses are available to aid you in your endeavor. Although PADI does not offer a cave diving course, Advanced Open Water Divers who are at least 18 years old can enroll in the Cavern Diver specialty course.

Four scuba dives are required for the course. In the first, you learn how to handle lines, use reels, and handle emergencies outside of caverns. Inside a cavern are where the following three dives take place. Your first dive’s lessons were put into practice by them. Additionally, they assist you in learning how to use the lights and backup breathing apparatuses that are necessary for cavern diving. You’ll discover how to maintain focus and evade silt-outs. Additionally, you’ll learn how to organize your dive, including air management, depth and distance restrictions, and planning.

The NSS-CDS offers a variety of classes, including the Basic Cave Diver and Advanced Cave Diver levels, for those interested in learning how to cave dive. They also offer courses in cartography, first aid, and cave surveying, among other things. They are one of the foremost experts on cave diving and can provide you with the specialized knowledge you need to explore caves as much as you want to safely.

You can also find cave diving classes at other organizations, such as the Intro to Cave Diver and Full Cave Diver classes

What Is The Difference Between Cave Diving And Cavern Diving?

Similar to wreck diving, there are a number of dives that are close to cave diving, each of which presents a higher level of difficulty and necessitates more equipment and training.

The initial phase involves open-water diving close to caverns. This is the point where you can see the cave while still swimming directly up to the surface to break the surface. Although not actually inside the cave, you are close by. Although there are still some risks because some cave systems can have a strong water inflow, this is usually done as part of training.

Similar to limited-penetration wreck diving is cavern diving. You make a small amount of progress inside the cave. You’re casually exploring the cave, which has a cave ceiling hanging over you. However, you should always be able to see the entrance and natural light. Cavern diving is defined by the National Speleological Society’s Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS) as any dive that is no deeper than 70 feet and takes place within 130 linear feet of the cave entrance.

When compared to cavern diving, cave diving forces one deeper into the cave. At this point, you transition from recreational to technical diving. At this point, certification, physical preparedness, and top-tier, specialized scuba equipment become absolutely essential.


Because it’s crucial, safety is a topic that comes up frequently when people discuss cave diving. People who are doing it incorrectly have taken the lead in some of the conversations surrounding cave diving. Cave diving can be both safe and enjoyable, but you must be certified and take all necessary safety measures before entering a cave.

With the right training, this shouldn’t deter you from trying cave diving. In environments that most people never see, cave divers get to play the role of explorers as they look for new life. The heroic rescues of those trapped in caves are carried out by many of them in their capacity as rescue divers.

The opportunities that cave diving offers are limitless. Any diver who is willing to take on the challenge will be rewarded with breathtaking beauty and unrivaled exploration opportunities.

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