Category Archives: Overhead Training

Why learn to cave dive?

What should I expect during cave diver course?

When I took my decision to fly over to Mexico in late 2006, I had already in mind what was there: the cenote with their crystal clear water. At first, it was not so much the looong overhead sections that made the longest cave systems in the world. Nah! To be totally honest, I was a bit anxious, if not scared by the idea of cave diving. But I was ready to take up the challenge and learn to become a Full Cave Diver. At the time, I already knew (“thought” may be more appropriate word) that I had a ton of scuba diving experience. I had been teaching since 1996 and had couple of years before that, started my life as a PADI Tec deep diver. SO, I thought, I was bulletproof…

Let me tell you this: nothing had prepared me to what was coming! Not the 15 years of scuba diving as an instructor had prepared me for the cave diver training… 🙂 Continue reading

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Gas managment

How much gas is enough?

“OK guys and gals, the reef is right under the boat, it is 40ft/12m deep, there is a slight current coming from the North and for the more experienced, the wreck is at bearing 160. Have fun and make sure to use the descent line and come back when you have 700PSI/50BAR. Have fun!”

How much gas is enough?

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Spring back into Scuba Diving

Or how to keep your skills as fresh as the first day

For most of us, diving every day is not a possibility, although, if you really want, you can. That is, if you have a pool of water nearby.
Some of my friends enjoy diving in the cold sea of Sweden or Finland but they rather book a trip to Warmer climates such as the Red Sea or even Malta’s archipelago.

Safety drill aka S-Drill

Either way, this is an important step in the life of a scuba diver: keeping your scuba diving skills as fresh as the first day you got to learn them. Be it a simple mask clear or a more complex S-Drill. These precious skills, some call ‘survival skills’ are precious and need a constant care.

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Maximum Operating Depth (part 2)

scuba cylinders markings

As I said earlier, it is vital to analyse your diving cylinders prior to go out diving. It is so important that there is a sort of ‘accepted’ way of doing it while keeping the KISS principle. Keeping it Super Simple so easy to read and identify as to avoid any confusion.

Unless you have a Marking Identification Team like this one, be careful!! 🙂

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Delayed Surface Marker Buoys

surface marker for ocean diving

Deep sea diving or should I say open water diving? In any cases divers will need to be able to signal their position and communicate with the surface by using a surface marker buoy aka SMB, DSMB, sausage or even  a bolb!!
At a beginner’s level, surface suport is just the boat captain and maybe his crew, just waitng in the drift to see ‘where’ the client-divers are going to surface from their dive. Pretty basic you’d say…
It should be, as long as it is agreed before the dive, that an SMB must be used and the boat crew know the type and eventualy color of the surface markers in use within that group of recreational divers.

But on the other hand, we’d have the more experienced diver, possibly a technical diver, even a sidemount technical diver 😉 who absolutely need surface support for his or her safety. During your technical diving class with Essential Scuba Training, you will learn how to deploy safely an SMB.

Surface Marker

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Intro to Cave Instructor

Intro to Cave instructor Evaluation

That’s it, I’ve moved a step closer to serve you all the way to Full Cave training. It was an intense five days during which I ran a complete Intro to Cave course under the strict supervision of Instructor Trainer Fernando ‘Nando’ del Valle Prieto.

Nando is from Mexico City or DF as we say it here. He moved fifteen years ago to discover scuba diving and the advanced form of overhead diving. He’s been working at PROTEC Avdanced Training Facility for the last five years and been teaching cave for three years now. By the end of 2010 he was granted the prestigious title of IT Full Cave.

Since the start for my cross-over to IANTD, Nando and I have worked on a training plan so to speak in order to move me up the ranks as an IANTD Instructor. It is not easy task ans requires commitment and sacrifices. Training divers to go safely and enjoy the caves of the Riviera Maya is a challenging yet rewarding job.

Land Line Drill

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On the Cave Diving Instructor path

Continued Scuba Instructor Education

After being away from my Blog for so long, I thought it was time to recap with you what I’ve been up to.

After a month of December very busy guiding and teaching Essential Divers and few cavern divers, came January with it’s load of divers looking for guides to get a look into the caves of the Riviera Maya. I am fortunate enough to have a good relationship with PROTEC Advanced Training Facility in Playa del Carmen, so they never forget to call me whenever they are short of guides or instructor.

I have done, as I told you before, Full Cave and Basic Sidemount training with Steve Bogaerts but Steve not being an IT I had to go with Nando and Matt at PROTEC.

Line drill for cavern diver

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Basic Sidemount Cave Diver

A WAY TO BETTER MY SIDEMOUNT CAVE DIVING

Last week was full of celebrations! First, I logged my 100th cave dive and then I took the Basic Cave Sidemount course with Steve Bogaerts. This is the start of a new era of diving for me and for you, joining Essential Scuba Training.
I started teaching myself cave sidemount with the help of my good friend, Alan Formstone, who I actively work with surveying and preparing a map of the Tajma Ha cave system. Alan took his Basic Sidemount Course with Steve Bogaerts early 2010 and was of huge help to improve my techniques. It’s been a series of tweaks and changes since then, adjustments, replacements and a few headaches. After completing some 50 dives or so, in what my own view of cave sidemount is, I decided it was time to take training from the best sidemount instructor I know. Steve Bogaerts is the owner of Go Sidemount, and inventor of the famous sidemount Razor harness.

Basic Sidemount Cave Diver with Steve Bogaerts

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The Art of teaching scuba diving

…Or The Value of Training

Yes, teaching scuba diving is an art. I know this because I have just been taught by one of the best trainer there is in the industry at the moment. His name is Steve Bogaerts, owner of Go Sidemount in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

I decided to take my sidemount cave diver training from the Master himself! If you don’t know who I am talking about, check out Steve’s website and you will understand. His teaching method is impressive, his eye for detail is unique andhe has a way of explaining things which makes them easy to understand.  Another bonus of his sidemount cave course is that you have to dive with the harness he designed ­– the Razor harness — after many years of sidemount diving in one of the harshest environments in scuba diving.

Basic Sidemount Drill

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Overhead Diver Training

Deco Stop or physical ceiling?

When scuba diving, we are limited in how fast we can come up to the surface, due to dissolved gas in our body and sometimes, we even have to stop for few minutes, to off-gas or do a decompression stop.
The similarity with this type of technical diving and overhead diving seat in our obligation to consider a ceiling that we cannot break or go through physically.

Buoyancy then trim and finally, the frog kick!

According to our dear online encyclopedia, there are four types of overhead diving: cave diving, deep, ice or wreck diving.
Due to its very demanding environment, cave diving is probably the most challenging forme of technical diving, along with deep trimix exploration dives. Continue reading


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