I have always been interested in extremes, and I find that as I get older the more I would like to do extreme things (midlife crisis?). So with that in mind it has seemed like a natural progression to push my diving from normal recreational into the technical. When I did my sidemount speciality back in April 2013, the harness that my instructor used was a Razor. This harness was designed by Steve Bogaerts who is an expert cave diver. Obviously this has gotten my mind wondering about the possibilities of cave diving.
I moved to the Bahamas in August 2013 and started thinking about becoming cave certified. However, a chance discovery of a PADI IDC/IE at the same time as my holiday meant that I put those plans on hold. Also the difficulty of getting to Mexico to do the course with Jason Renoux meant that it was easier to just do the course at another date. Why did I think about training with Jason Renoux? I was recommended him by the staff at Divewise. He is also close friends with Steve Martin, another sidemount diver that I admire. However, the times just haven’t lined up to train with either of these individuals. Perhaps one day in the future I will train with these guys.
I remembered watching a documentary about cave diving in the Bahamas. It mentioned Bahamas Underground, which is a technical and cave diving training facility on Abaco Island. You can see the documentary here.
I contacted Brian Kakuk of Bahamas Underground and asked him if he would be able to train me. He said yes and I am now booked on a course with him in June. He is an instructor for the National Association of Cave Divers, this will be my first non-PADI diving certification. I am doing a Cavern and Intro to Cave course, these take two days each. I am really looking forward to this and to be diving the crystal caves of Abaco.
The training manuals arrived yesterday so now it is time to start studying. I am also diving exclusively in sidemount (unless I am teaching an OW course). I am hoping that I will be prepared for what will be most likely the most challenging course I have taken yet.