Doc Amores

Doc Amores- An Explorer

Dr. Alfonso Y.  Amores

Dr. Alfonso Y. Amores

Dr. Alfonso “Docboy” Amores was supposedly a retired micro-surgeon and reconstructive surgery specialist when he came back to his home country after more than 20 years of living and working in the U.S.A. But he was not the kind of man who would be happy to whittle away his years in a rocking chair while watching the seasons pass.

He instead chose to do cave diving explorations.

Unable to get satisfaction from breathing air or gas from a standard scuba set-up, he embarked to get educated in the use of a Closed-Circuit Rebreather (CCR). His weapon of choice was the Evolution CCR which he trained up to Trimix-level and of which he qualified as an IANTD Evolution CCR- Recreational Instructor.

In 2011 he made a dive with his unit to 100m/ 330ft.

Quite a feat considering he was already 65 years old at that time.

His efforts to go beyond certain barriers (like age) made people truly believe that he could do anything. Aside from being an extreme diver, he piloted his own plane (including a sea plane), skied on challenging ski slopes, organized noble medical missions, performed free surgery to indigents, educated children the value of the coral reefs and created marine sanctuaries. Yes, he could do anything he set his mind on.

We will not dwell on how we lost him. We will instead remember a man who cared a lot for his family and for his fellowmen. We will remember a man who made sure he lived life to the fullest!

The video below is a compilation of the dives we made in the Enchanted River on June 2011. We were denied entry by the cave at that time, but we were able to document a phenomenon previously unnoticed.

Verily, when certain doors are shut, other doors open to wonderful discoveries.

You will always live in our hearts, Doc!

NEW FCD MEMBERS

By Doc Amores

The FCD Cave Diving Training Batch 2 is composed of Dean Apistar, Ferdinand “Bong” Edralin and Mark Berame. Dean is an avid diver and a marine biologist; Bong is a seasoned topside photographer for the Freeman Newspaper (Cebu) and an avid underwater photographer; and Mark is a divemaster by profession, freelancing in many dive outfits here in Cebu.

The group went through the very intensive FCD pool and cave sessions. Over the last 3 weeks, all 3 of them has fulfilled the “Final Dive” in Pawod, a voyage to the bottom of the well, completing the group’s Basic Cave Course.

I now proudly present them for acceptance to the Filipino Cave Divers.

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(Dean, Mark and Bong are now required to contact FCD Bernil for their short bio)

End of Report

KANTOLOI TWIN CENOTES OF PILAR, SIARGAO ISLAND

Report by: FCD Doc Amores

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Fig 1. This twin cenotes is named after Bartolome “Toloi” Daclan, caver extraordinaire and natural naturalist of Siargao Island. Toloi is instrumental in FCD’s Del Carmen and surrounding areas discoveries.

April 2, 2014, Day 2 of FCD’s Del Carmen Expedition I, is a milestone. In the afternoon of this date, we discovered the first of many cenotes in the Del Carmen and surrounding areas. The Kantoloi Twin Cenotes, right off the concreted road that goes from Del Carmen to Pilar, the neighboring municipality, is a gem of a place in so many ways. At entrance into the area, one is greeted by an awe-inspiring scene of a head spring that forms into a small river that appears to have carved a gorge out of the limestone, and disappears through twin entrances into a subterranean river (think Palawan Underground River).

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Fig 2. The gorge and spring at Kantoloi Twin Cenotes

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Fig 3. The twin entrances to the underground river (foreground, Kap Randy top Kagawad of Barangay Tuboran, the heart of the Del Carmen Cenotes)

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Fig 4. The underground river exits into the main river of Pilar more than 500 meters from the cenotes.

The run from the spring out into the Pilar river on surface craft (inner tube, short kayak, etc) can be an ecotourism adventure. This will need to be explored further following thorough exploration of the underground river – of course with the blessings and guidance of Hon. Lucio Gonzales, Mayor of Pilar.

The underwater cave diving potential of Kantoloi Twin Cenotes is enormously promising as well. There are 2 entrances in the area, possibly leading to 2 different cavities although physically right next to each other. The sump entrance was an eye-opening pleasant surprise to the team when the first foray did 73 meters of penetration. This was pushed  a day later to 120 meters. The head spring of the small river leading to the gorge surprisingly revealed  a 1.5 x 1.5 meter entrance leading to a cavity that seems to divert away from the sump cavity next door (Fig 2 above). This lone dive was only a solo, limited penetration look-see. The substrate at the entrance and on to the cavity was hard limestone rock formations, a bit of a contrast to the sump side next door.

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Fig 5. The sump entrance to Kantoloi Twin Cenotes at the epic discovery dive

More dives need to be done to develop Kantoloi Twin Cenotes into a cave diving destination. No doubt after further pushes, compass bearing determinations and photographic documentation the “Twins” will end up a popular destination. This will be on the top list of FCD’s Siargao Expedition II tentatively scheduled to run between the second week of June to the second week of July.

Acknowledgement: All photos were ripped from Lyndon Cubillan’s videos.

Report by:

Dr. Alfonso Y.  Amores

Dr. Alfonso Y. Amores

 

THE INNER SANCTUM OF DEL CARMEN

leadpic

The crown jewel of the FCD Siargao Expedition of April 2014 is the discovery of The Inner Sanctum of Del Carmen. It is a forbidden cave in the foothills near the center of Barangay Tuboran, Del Carmen, Siargao Island. Reportedly nobody has gone inside the cave before this expedition because of the unworldly inhabitants inside – a story handed down for generations. Figure 1 below shows the V-shaped crack on the ground that leads down to a landing about 4 meters below.

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Fig 1. The V-shaped crack undoubtedly was formed from a violent earth movement thousands, maybe millions of years ago.

Access to the bottom of the first part of the cave was made possible by bamboo ladders constructed on the spot from bamboos and trees chopped down in the area.

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Fig 2. The very efficient Kap Randy and his crew constructing a ladder faster than we could say “PLDT lineman ladder”.

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Fig 3. The ladder to the left is ladder #2 beyond which the rest of the way to the sump is by rappelling.

As one can see, half of the fun is getting down to water’s edge. Beyond this, this discovery dive was nothing less than spectacular. As far as the team can recall from all the excitement, the diagram below depicts Del Carmen’s Inner Sanctum (after 1 dive).

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Fig 4. Baby’s veil are water roots decorating the entrance to The Abyss, a huge chimney that drops straight down to points unknown. At about 27 meters, Milowka’s restriction, a narrow diagonal crack that leads to passageways and chambers of unknown dimension and extent, was encountered.

The dive is depicted in Figure 5 below on the team’s Petrel computer log.

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Exploration of this exciting underwater cave has just started. Undoubtedly, this will end up as one of the must-do dive destinations in the world.

Acknowledgement:

The FCD Siargao Expedition Team of April 2014: Doc Amores, Lyndon Cubillan, Ferdinand Edralin, Jaime Ballori Lapac, Larry Williams (Associate member), and especially FCD Jake Miranda for lending us his compressor

Hon Mayor Alfredo Matugas Coro II of Del Carmen, Hon Barangay Captain Marlon Matugas Coro of Tuboran, Vice Mayor Andie Tan of Del Carmen, the Cubillan clan of Del Carmen, Kagawad Kap Randy of Tuboran, caver-extraordinaire Bartolome “Toloi” Daclan, and the good people of Del Carmen.

Report by:

Dr. Alfonso Y.  Amores

Dr. Alfonso Y. Amores

 

THE DEL CARMEN CENOTE #1 – A CLASSIC UNDERGROUND RIVER SINKHOLE

The Del Carmen Cenote #1

By: Dr. Alfonso Y. Amores, FCD

The Del Carmen Cenote #1 is among the epic finds of FCD underwater cave explorations. It is located in Barangay Quezon of Del Carmen, Siargao Island right on the border with Barangay Tuboran, the heart of Del Carmen’s maze of underwater caves. Figure 1 below shows the roughly rectangular cenote.

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Fig 1. The Del Carmen Cenote #1 depicting its Northeast and Southwest end.

Cenote (pronounced sen-o-teh) is an American Indian word which means “the underworld dwellers’s window to the outside world”. The word is now commonly used in the cave diving world, referring initially to the sinkholes of the underwater caves of the Yucatan Peninsula in Northern Mexico where cave diving is popular. Physically, it is a collapse of the roof of a body of water underground.

Figure 1 below represents a classic formation of a sinkhole in an underwater cave with a flow.

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Fig 2. A classic formation of an underground river sinkhole

The Del Carmen Cenote #1 located in the municipality of Del Carmen, Siargao Island represents a classic underwater river sinkhole. Our FCD team dived the area on April 3, 2014.

Figures 3-5 below show the dives in the roughly rectangular sinkhole as depicted in the tide chart of Pilar, Siargao Island.

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Fig 3. Dive at the northeast end revealing a siphon end (significant in-current) of the sinkhole

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Fig 4. Dive at the southwest end approximately 15 minutes after surfacing from the dive in Fig 1 revealing the spring side

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Fig 5. Four (4) hours after the dive in Fig 3, the same south end now becomes a siphon as the seawater recession (ebb tide) subsided pushing the flow back into the southwest opening.

As noted in Figures 4-5 above, the openings reverse roles – siphon to spring to siphon – depending upon the tide.

This makes Del Carmen Cenote #1 one unique cave diving destination. Not many places in the world are like this. The cenote is a 24/7 dive site, with many different options for diving depending on the purpose of the dive, using either opening. At proper tide timing this can either be a no-current dive or a spring dive with significant flow for pull-and-glide dive propulsion exercises.

Del Carmen Cenote #1 will end up a favorite dive site in Asia…if not, the world.

Acknowledgement:

FCD Siargao Expedition Members: Doc Amores, Lyndon Cubilan, Jaime Ballori Lapac, Ferdinand Edralin, Jake Miranda, Larry Williams (Associate member).

Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II, Tuboran Barangay Captain Marlon M. Coro, Cel Carmen Vice Mayor Andie Tan, the Cubilan Clan of Del Carmen, Tuboran Kagawad “Kap” Randy, caver-extraordinaire Bartolome “Toloi” Daclan, and the hospitable community of Del Carmen.

Report by:

Dr. Alfonso Y.  Amores

Dr. Alfonso Y. Amores

 

REPUBLIC ACT 9072

REPUBLIC ACT 9072

AN ACT TO MANAGE AND PROTECT CAVES AND CAVE RESOURCES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:philippine flag

SECTION 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act.”

SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State to conserve, protect and manage caves and cave resources as part of the country’s natural wealth. Towards this end, the State shall strengthen cooperation and exchange of information between governmental authorities and people who utilize caves and cave resources for scientific, educational, recreational, tourism and other purposes.

SECTION 3. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

a) “Cave” means any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess or system of interconnected passages beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge and which is large enough to permit an individual to enter, whether or not the entrance, located either in private or public land, is naturally formed or man-made. It shall include any natural pit, sinkhole or other feature, which is an extension of the entrance. The term also includes cave resources therein, but not any vug, mine tunnel, aqueduct or other man-made excavation.

b) “Cave resources” includes any material or substance occurring naturally in caves, such as animal life, plant life, including paleontological and archaelogical deposits, cultural artifacts or products of human activities, sediments, minerals, speleogems and speleothems.

c) “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

d) “Speleogem” means relief features on the walls, ceilings and floor of any cave or lava tube which are part of the surrounding bedrock, including but not limited to anastomoses, scallops,meander niches, petromorphs and rock pendants in solution caves and similar features unique to volcanic caves.

e) “Speleothem” means any natural mineral formation or deposit occurring in a cave or lava tube, including but not limited to any stalactite, stalagmite, helictite, cave flower, flowstone, concretion, drapery, rimstone or formation of clay or mud.

f) “Significant Cave” refers to a cave which contains materials possesses features that have archaeological, cultural, ecological, historical or scientific value as determined by the DENR in coordination with the scientific community and the academe.

SECTION 4. Implementing Agency. – The DENR shall be the lead agency tasked to implement the provisions of this Act in coordination with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the National Museum, the National Historical Institute and concerned local government units(LGUs) for specific caves, except that in the Province of Palawan, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development shall be the lead implementing agency pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act.

SECTION 5. Powers and Functions of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). -In the implementation of this Act, the DENR shall exercise the following powers and functions:

a)            Formulate, develop and implement a national program for the management, protection and conservation of caves and cave resources;

b)            Disseminate information and conduct educational campaign on the need to conserve, protect and manage our caves and cave resources;

c)            Issue permits for the collection and removal of guano and other cave resources which shall be determined in coordination with the DOT, National Museum, concerned LGUs, the scientific community and the academe, with regard to specific caves taking into consideration bio-diversity as well as the aesthetic and archaeological value of the cave. Provided, that the permittee shall be required to post a bond to ensure compliance with the provisions of nay permit. Provided further, that any permit issued under this Section shall be revoked by the Secretary when the permittee violates any provision of this Act or fails to comply with any other condition upon which the permit was issued. Provided furthermore, that the Secretary cannot issue permits for the removal of stalactites and stalagmites and when it is established that the removal of the resources will adversely affect the value of a significant cave. Provided, finally, that caves located within a protected area shall be subject to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.

d)            Call on any local government unit, bureau, agency, state university or college and other instrumentalities of the government for assistance as the need arises in the discharge of its functions;

e)            Enter into a memorandum of agreement with any local government unit (LGU) for the preservation, development and management of cave or caves located in their respective territorial jurisdiction;

f)             Tap the cooperation of people’s and non-governmental organizations as active partners in the conservation and protection of our caves an cave resources; and

g)            Exercise other powers and perform other functions as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this Act.

SECTION 6. Information Concerning the Nature and Location of Significant Caves. – Information concerning the nature an specific location of a potentially significant cave shall not be made available to the public within one (1) year after its discovery by the DENR, during which time the DENR in coordination with the DOT, the National Museum, the National Historical Institute, concerned LGUs, the scientific community and the academe shall assess its archaeological, cultural, ecological, historical and scientific value, unless a written request is made and the Secretary determines that diclosure of such information will further the purpose of this Act and will not create a substantial risk of harm, theft or destruction on such cave.

The written request shall contain, among other, the following:

a)            a description of the geographic site for which the information is sought;

b)          an explanation of the purpose for which the information is sought; and c) an assurance or undertaking satisfactory to the Secretary that adequate measures are to be taken to protect the confidentiality of such information and to ensure the protection of the cave from destruction by vandalism and unauthorized use.

SECTION 7. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be considered prohibited acts:

a)            Knowingly destroying, disturbing, defacing, marring, altering, removing, or harming the speleogem or speleothem of any cave or altering the free movement of any animal or plant life into or out of any cave;

b)            Gathering, collecting, possessing, consuming, selling, bartering or exchanging or offering for sale without authority any, cave resources; and

c)            Counselling, procuring, soliciting or employing any other person to violate any provision of this Section.

SECTION 8. Penalties. – Any person found guilty of any of the offenses enumerated under Section 7 hereof shall be punished by imprisonment from two (2) years to six (6) years or a fine ranging from Twenty thousand pesos (PhP 20,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP 500,000.00) or both at the discretion of the court. Provided, that the person furnishing the capital to accomplish the acts punishable herein shall be punished by imprisonment from six (6) years and one (1) day to eight (8) years or by a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP 500,000.00) to one (1) million pesos (PhP 1,000,000.00) or both at the discretion of the Court. Provided further, that if the area requires rehabilitation or restoration as determined by the Court, the defender shall also be required to restore the same, whenever practicable, or compensate for the damage. Provided, finally, that if the offender is a government employee, he or she likewise be removed from office.

SECTION 9. – Administrative Confiscation and Conveyance. – The Secretary shall order the confiscation in favor of the government of the cave resources gathered, collected, removed, possessed or sold including the conveyance and equipment used in violation of section 7 hereof.

SECTION 10. Fees. – Any money collected by the DENR as permit fees for collection and removal of cave resources, as a result of the forfeiture of a bond or other security by a permittee who does not comply with the requirements of such permit issued under this Act or by way of fines for violation of this Act shall be remitted to the National Treasury.

SECTION 11. Implementing Rule and Regulation. – The DENR shall, within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, issue rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions hereof.

SECTION 12. Appropriations. – The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act of the year following its enactment into law and hereafter.

SECTION 13. Separability Clause. – If any provision of this Act is subsequently declared unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.

SECTION 14. Repealing Clause. – Presidential Decree No. 1726 – A is hereby modified. Treasure hunting in caves shall be governed by the provisions of this Act.

Except Presidential Decree No. 412 and Republic Act No. 4846, all other laws, decrees, orders and regulations, or parts thereof, which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

SECTION 15. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

Approved.

(SGD) AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL JR.

President of the Senate

(SGD) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

This Act which is a consolidation of House Bill No. 7275 and Senate Bill No. 1956 was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on February 8, 2001 and February 5, 2001, respectively.

(SGD LUTGARDO B. BARBO

Secretary of the Senate

(SGD) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO

Secretary General, House of Representatives

Approved: April 08, 2001

(SGD)GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO

President of the Philippines

A D-I-Y METHOD TO DEBRIS-PROOF YOUR BCD’S DUMP VALVE

By FCD Andy Berame

A near fatal incident occurred when we were diving sidemount inside HERUC (Hinatuan Enchanted River Underwater Cave), when a small fragment of debris jammed Docboy Amores’ dump valve causing his BCD to free flow. Doc had to crawl his way out of the cave and do a wall climbing routine during our ascent and gradual decompression procedure.

For convenience, we sport our Hollis SMS100 inflator hose on a bottom to top configuration where the pull-to-dump valve is positioned over the left shoulder of the BCD. On this configuration, when diving in an overhead environment, the dump valve is exposed and vulnerable to specks of debris and loose particles dislodged from the ceiling by air bubbles in open circuit diving. With the valve exposed and unshielded, debris may find its way in and jam the valve lid, as it did in the case of Doc’s BCD at HERUC.

Finding the bottom to top inflator hose configuration more convenient, I had to stick to it, so I devised this D-I-Y (do-it-yourself) method to shield my BCD’s dump valve from debris.

debris proofing

Article by:

Andy Berame

Andy Berame

A Beauty Born of Mother Nature’s Rage

hinatuan fault
There she is… an earthquake long ago created Hinatuan Enchanted River Underwater Cave.

A beauty born of Mother Nature’s rage. Like Tinago River north of her (exiting at Portlamon), she lies on a fault line. In fact two lines terminate at her spring. That’s the reason for the sharp and almost vertical cut on her limestone walls.

vietnam-hang-son-doongShe shares the same history with the world’s largest cave-Hang Son Doong in Vietnam. Both of them lie on fault lines. While Hinatuan Enchanted River Underwater Cave is not as cavernous, she is a deep blue door to the underworld-still a miraculous and unique creation.

You were spot-on FCD Geologist Desuo Alejan! Ferdinand Barrios of Hinatuan LGU confirmed this.

Article by:

Jake Miranda

Jake Miranda

FCD attends the 18th National Cave Committee Meet

With our gracious host, Dr. Mundita Sison Lim, Director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).

With our gracious host, Dr. Mundita Sison Lim, Director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).

During the 18th National Cave Committee (NCC) meeting chaired by Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) held last February 23, 2014, at the National Museum in Tagbilaran, Bohol, the Filipino Cave Divers (FCD) presented the completed penetrations of underwater caves inside Lake Bababu in Dinagat Islands, Hinatuan Enchanted River, Pamuntuanan and Campamento-Lanuza (all in Surigao del Sur), and Pawod and Casili Spring in Cebu.

FCD co-founders Dr. Alfonso Amores and Jake Miranda both pointed out that some of the country’s once impenetrable caves can now be explored and their distances and ranges extended past the water barriers.

NCC Chair and BMB Director Mundita Sison-Lim said, “With cave diving expertise now locally available, we have a partner in FCD to finally explore the numerous freshwater and sea caves in the different parts of the country. Previously we had to rely on foreign expertise. This partnership boosts our local capability to conduct studies on cave geology and biodiversity inside the underwater caves.”

Since freshwater and sea caves in the Philippines are currently not recognized, their identification and classification is crucial to bringing them under government protection.

A memorandum of agreement will be signed between the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and FCD to fast-track protocols in cave diving exploration all across the country.

Article by:

Jake Miranda

Jake Miranda

Thank God All Divers Live LONG!

Thank God All Divers Live LONG!

by FCD Jake Miranda

Cave diving pioneers began using the TGDAL acronym as an easy but important reminder for new and experienced cave divers to prepare for cave dives. Sheck Exley in 1977 espoused the use of guidelines, rule of thirds for air consumption and depth limits. Wes Skiles in 1984 added emphasis on staged training and use of three lights. Exley and Skiles are credited to have inspired divers to come up with TGADL or for easier mnemonic, “Thank God All Divers Live”.

Sheck Exley

Sheck Exley

SHECK EXLEY

TGADL actually means Training, Guidelines, Air, Depth and Lights. These five rules are enumerated by Sheck Exley in his 1979 book “Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint for Survival”:

1. Training – Have the training necessary to do the dive.

2. Guideline – Always have a continuous guideline to the surface or to open water; a guideline or safety line always needs to be placed before venturing into new space.

3.  Air – Divide your air by thirds; one for penetration, the next one for exit, and the third one for emergencies.  Always reserve 3rds of your gas supply for emergencies; additional air supplies and turnaround times need to be observed as well.

4. Depth – Obey depth limits imposed by gasses, deco, training, etc.; the depth dived can be fatal if not managed properly.

5. Light – The diver needs at least three lights. Aside from your main light, always have at least two backup sources of light.

TGADL ADDITIONS

In more than three decades of exploration and record-breaking cave dives since the landmark book, divers around the world have added several more dimensions to the acronym.

Training – It comes in four steps. Cavern, Intro to Cave, Full Cave and Technical Cave.

Guideline – If a line is already established, a diver must still carry a minimum of a main exploration reel, and two jump reels.

Air – For a dive in an explored cave, the rule of thirds will suffice. For an exploration dive in a new cave, the rule of fourths is observed.

Depth – The maximum recreational limit for ordinary air dives at 40 meters is observed. If and when this depth limit is broken, a diver has to account for additional air requirements and the proper air mixes to reduce the risk of narcosis and oxygen toxicity.

Light – The diver must also calculate the lumens and burn time of his three lights.

JEFFREY BOZANIC

Noted cave diver Jeffrey Bozanic in his 2008 presentation, “Accident Analysis in the New Millennium,” noted that even with this acronym, trained cave divers were having fatal incidents or accidents inside caves. TGADL was not enough to remind divers about the risks of cave diving. Bozanic found additional risks in the aspects of:

Jeffrey Bozanic

Jeffrey Bozanic

  • Inappropriate gas mixtures both in preparation and switching,
  • Aggressive and careless use of new technology,
  • Inherent medical problems,
  • Poor equipment maintenance,
  • Solo diving,
  • No skill maintenance, practice, skills upgrade or lack of experience.

Here, the TGADL gets a facelift.

1. Training – It comes in four steps. Cavern, Intro to Cave, Full Cave & Technical Cave.

  • Bozanic-Skills maintenance is required as complacency kills.
  • Bozanic-Solo diving is discouraged as this accounts for a percentage of new fatalities.
  • Bozanic-The diver must be physical fit and should not have pre-dive medical conditions that increase his risk of dying during a cave dive.

2. Guideline – If a line is already established, a dive must still carry a minimum of a main exploration reel, and two jump reels.

3.  Air – For a dive in an explored cave, the rule of thirds will suffice. For an exploration dive in a new cave, the rule of fourths is observed.

4. Depth – The maximum recreational limit for ordinary air dives at 40 meters is observed. If and when this depth limit is broken, a diver has to account for additional air requirements and the proper air mixes to reduce the risk of narcosis and oxygen toxicity. Bozanic-more divers were using different gas mixes and staging bottles. Improper staging and mislabeled bottles coupled with task loading ultimately led to cave divers making final mistakes.

5. Lights – The diver must also calculate the lumens and burn time of his three lights. Bozanic-Aside from intimately knowing the capabilities of the three lights, a cave diver must properly understand and manage new equipment and periodically maintain all these equipment.

By this new decade, we have enough reminders about the cave diver and his equipment to reduce and safely manage the risks of cave diving.

But one can ask where the reminder about the cave itself is? While the new and improved TGADL may suffice to remind cave divers of probable accidents or incidents, it is the cave itself that contributes much of the risk– it is the cave that separates cave diving from open water technical diving.

The cave itself is simply forgotten in this acronym.

Much like wreck caving, there needs to be ample data collection on the cave, its history, ownership and even historical and cultural heritage.

FILIPINO CAVE DIVERS

flag Filipino Cave Divers, based in the Philippines, adds one more letter to this acronym. Thank God All Divers Live Long. L (ong) stands for Local. That is local knowledge of the cave which includes cave geologic characteristics and composition, water flow, depths, chambers, established lines, and important data from previous expeditions.

This new letter in the acronym is added to reflect the need for the cave diver to properly study the cave and prepare for his dive inside its environment. Each cave is different and presents unique challenges to the cave diver.

1.            Cave Characteristics-One should know cave geologic characteristics and composition, tidal influences, haloclines and thermoclines, water direction with respect to speed, laminar or turbulent flow, average and maximum depths of the chambers, and unexplored spaces.

2.            Cave Guide-This letter also presses on the cave diver to seek a local cave diver or one with prior experience in the cave to act as his guide especially in the former’s first venture into a cave. It could be best to trace the last cave diver to have ventured inside the cave and get an update.

3.            Cave Ownership-It also includes the essence of community preparation, which is information-sharing to the non-cave diving public and obtaining permission from the landowner where the cave is located. Each cave dive opens the underwater cave to the world, or brings the world inside the cave.

This new “letter” brings to fore the importance of the cave and the community it belongs to. Thus for each and every cave dive, the experience is not just personal for the cave diver but becomes transcendental for the community as well.

Safe cave dives in 2014 and onwards! Thank God All Divers Live Long!

Credits:

1.            “Accident Analysis in the New Millennium,” Jeffrey Bozanic, 2008.

2.            “Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint for Survival,” Sheck Exley, 2008.

3.            Lake Bababu Underwater Cave articles, http://www.filipinocavedivers.com.

4.            Hinatuan Enchanted River Underwater Cave articles, http://www.filipinocavedivers.com.

Written by:

Jake Miranda

Jake Miranda