A disturbing situation at the Pawod Underwater Cave System (PUCS) was encountered today by an FCD Member. As per the report, the Member was aghast to know that the 3 divers (as shown in the photo) were diving the cave in recreational diving configuration; each person was diving with only 1 back-mounted scuba tank and using small underwater lights. They also did not use a standard cave line and instead utilized a thin rope that they tied from the surface.
The divers were confronted by the FCD Member and through their discussion, the following points were noted:
1. The female (foreigner) leading the dive claimed to be a cave diver and a scuba instructor;
2. Her two other male companions (1 Filipino, 1 foreigner) are Divemasters only;
3. They were all from a dive shop operating in Mactan;
4. It was their first time to dive the Pawod Cave;
5. They were not (thankfully) able to enter the cave system since they couldn’t find the entrance to the cave;
6. They wanted to explore the site after reading about it on the internet.
The life-threatening dangers related to bringing untrained divers into a dark, confined, overhead environment was enumerated and elaborated by the FCD Member to the “scuba instructor”. Additionally, the following scenarios that may occur should an accident happen in Pawod was explained to the erring divers:
1. The closure of the area to all other divers;
2. The loss of tourism potentials due to the closure;
3. The negative impact to the cave system as a tourist destination and the stigma that will be received by the country’s diving industry.
The Member has also verbally reported the incident for follow-up to the Lapu-Lapu City’s Disaster Risk Reduction & Management (DRRM) Office which is incidentally chaired by the FCD Vice-President, Andy Berame.
We, the Filipino Cave Divers (FCD) strongly urge all divers to act with prudence and to avoid diving in areas where one is not yet trained to dive into.
There is nothing inside the cave worth dying for.