But beneath every step of every exploration project lies the accumulated practice of countless hours spent rehearsing procedures until they become a mere tool used for a broader purpose – and each of these procedures can be broken down into simpler bits and pieces, all the way to the very basic training we all experienced when we took our first breath underwater.
When beginner divers look at the final product, it is important for them to not feel like they belong to a different underwater species, but instead to begin with the end in mind: realising that every single step was currently taken in their recreational diving practice, if done correctly, is bringing them an inch closer to the limitless adventures awaiting under the water surface, in every ocean and every cave.
If my former self, 20 years ago, had known how important each skill and nugget of knowledge would turn out to be, there is no doubt I would have paid even more attention to things that can wrongly be seen as just another checkbox necessary to gain another card.
THE OBSTACLE IS PART OF THE GOAL
When exploring, the difficulties to get to the water are very much a part of the adventure. Far from diminishing the pleasure from the dive, they increase it with the exhilarating sense of having earned it.
Sitting on a rock, enjoying the cool air of the dry cave while still drenched in sweat, I let my eyes wander through the cone of my headlight. Even if it was not for diving, this place would already be worth the trouble. Hundreds of stalactites hang from the ceiling, and a literal silver lining is adorning the side of the clear sump where calcite rafts once accumulated and left this natural, geometric cave painting. To get there, Sam and I had to walk through the jungle with our backpacks full of gear, ever grateful for Jeremiah’s and Jose Luis’ help carrying our tanks, until the hole in the forest ground leading to the cave. This hole is a karstic window, the spot where the ceiling of the cave underneath collapsed after millennia of geological wear and tear, and an entry into an underworld full of spirits in the Popol Vuh, the traditional Maya text.
Using ropes to build a pulley system, we lowered a good 200 kilograms of gear into the opening, rappelled down and penetrated further into the cave, zig-zagging between rocky slopes and rock formations that would not be disparate amidst a collection of sculptures in a Guggenheim gallery, until reaching this glasslike pool of water. We have not started the dive yet, but we are both already dripping, our hands holding on to the rough sensation of the rope, and our backs numb thanks to a prophylactic Ibuprofen-based breakfast. But all the sweat and effort necessary to get to this moment should not be considered as a price to pay for the dive, rather as an inherent part of it, which should be wanted and enjoyed just as much.
GEAR PREPARATION AND BUDDY CHECKS
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TECHNICAL DIVING TIMELINE (1660–1999)
It’s fair to say that the emergence of “technical diving” in the late 1980s, that is, the introduction of mixed gas technology, and later mixed gas rebreathers to the sport diving community, represented the culmination of hundreds of years of scientific discovery and technological development.
FLYING AFTER DIVING
From the Safety Stop
DIAGNOSING DECOMPRESSION ILLNESS
Dive Slate: Stay Safe On Board
When preparing for a dive, safety is at the top of the list – checking gear, learning potential site hazards and discussing procedures with your divemaster or buddy.
From The Medical Line: Diving After DCS
DAN medical information specaialists and researchers answer your dive medicine questions
Risk Mitigation: Hose Failure
An unexpected outcome
Cave Exploration: Beginning With The End In Mind
Building complex adventures on simple skills
Top 10 Wrecks Of Asia-Pacific
We present a curated list of the top 10 most famous wrecks found in the Asia-Pacific region, listed in no particular order
The Making Of A World Record-Breaking Diver
Descending more than 300 metres into the depths of the ocean may sound like a daunting prospect to even the most seasoned diver. But to one man, it was just another a challenge that he set for himself to see how far he was able to push the envelope.
101 Tips On Becoming A Better Tek Diver
Technical diving takes divers beyond the typical recreational scuba diving limits, opening up many new and exciting possibilities.
A Short Ride to The Middle Of Nowhere
Hagerman Pass, Co
Accessories To Climb
Overland Adventure East: Part 1
Kicking off the multi-state adventure at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park
Ready. Set. Go
We made it easy for you. We asked our travel experts where they want to go in 2020. Their answers will surprise and inspire you. Presenting 27 adventures to get you out in the world this year.
20 Trails For 2020
The new year just started and with that came resolutions galore!
11 Ways To Shake Things Up
Are you living an adventure-starved life?
Peak Of Adventure
The snow is falling and ski season is in full swing on the slopes of western North America
The New Spirit Of Exploration-Eric Larsen
Eric Larsen is one of the most decorated explorers on the planet. But his polar trips are just one part of a life dedicated to everyday adventure.
Backcountry Discovery Routes
A Decade of Adventure
Exploring The Untracked Alps
High up in the Swiss Alps just might be the best backcountry hut-to-hut trip on the planet—and one only diehard skiers know about. Until now.