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2018-02-17T17:09:20+00:00

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Joining + gear advice?  

 

(@plummet)
Member
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 3
28/10/2018 5:49 am  

About me: Currently living in northern California. Have dual US/UK citizenship. I work in software. I'd love to eventually snag some remote work, move over, try some UK dry caving, and train with the CDG (maybe the Welsh section). I've wanted to do that for years. My subterranean experience currently consists of trips to the Paris catacombs (not the tourist part) and other urban stuff, plus some SRT practice. I have a PADI open water cert, with only a couple post-cert dives under my belt. I'm far more interested in being underground than underwater if I had to pick. What some other people find claustrophobia inducing, I find fun - the crawlier and longer the better. I like the sound of the CDG because it seems to be for cavers who dive, rather than divers who cave, and its mentorship style process sounds better than a quick pay-for-your-card program. Do I need any tech diving certs to begin with the CDG?

In the meantime, I might be able to do some more basic open water diving out here. After I got my cert, I didn't do much more diving because I decided the gear wasn't in my budget at the time. This was partially self-imposed because I decided I'd rather save up for a dry suit than buy a wet suit. Training was done in 7mm wet suit with 7mm hooded vests (so 14mm over the torso) and I was still FREEZING. Also, a p-valve sounds glorious!

But I see the UK Seaskin dry suit brand is affordable. Especially with post-Brexit exchange rate (oof, sorry) and no need to pay VAT if it's shipped here. Can anyone recommend for or against them? And what options would be best if I'd like to cave dive in the future? I'm looking at the Seaskin Nova with dry zip cover, Light Monkey non-balanced p-valve, Orust Silflex neck seal, simple warm neck, Kubi cuff system with Silflex cuffs, move dump (DIR), compressed neoprene socks (probably gonna wear Converse trainers over them), Kevlar knee pads and all other PU reinforcements (knee/bum/elbow/crotch/back/shoulder), fully telescopic torso, wide braces, no logos or reflective tape, braces pocket, and two large zipped forward-facing pockets.

I already have some regs that I got a Black Friday deal on two years ago but have never used. The brand is Deep 6. I liked that they encourage DIY maintenance (I'm the type of person that changes my car's brake pads myself). I have a DIN first stage and two second stages, but the second stages aren't reversible.

I'm particularly perplexed about what to do for the BCD. Get a back plate, wing, and DIR harness and dive backmount single tank for now? Get another first stage and a sidemount BCD? Not many people dive sidemount out here ( https://www.scubaboard.com/community/threads/norcal-sidemount.543229/ ) and I feel I'd get weird looks or scolded by the dive shop especially as a beginner choosing to buck conventional wisdom or start with something more complicated, but I'd also like to get used to the set-up I'd rather be diving. ūüėČ Plus I like the idea of being more self-reliant. I've only done a couple dives with friends and already lost a bit of faith in the buddy system (got seasick underwater and started vomiting while buddy swam blithely off). And if sidemount, which wing? I like minimalist. The DECO one looks good ( https://www.diveequipmentco.com/bcd-s/sidemount.html ), but I've been told it wouldn't provide enough redundant lift to compensate for a flooded dry suit when diving in cold saltwater and weighted with steel tanks ( https://www.scubaboard.com/community/threads/minimalist-sidemount-setup-in-cold-saltwater.543232). Maybe I could DIY something similar but with larger capacity ( https://www.scubaboard.com/community/threads/diy-wing-tutorial-very-picture-heavy.548895/ )? I've seen references to a DIY solution on here called the Scoff Bag - any more details, and would it be any good for open water? The 2008 CDG Manual (now probably a bit out of date) mentions "In some cases divers have added an independent air cell to a suit with its own inflation and dump valve to provide redundant buoyancy. This is a custom feature and not all suit suppliers will provide it." Seaskins are all custom so I could probably ask for that, but would it even be a good idea? I might gain simplicity but lose modularity. And I have not been able to find ANYTHING online about anyone doing such a thing.

Finally, as a bit of an afterthought, any reason not to go with the cheapest dive computer I can find (Mares Puck Pro) to start with? I was also thinking about maybe just diving tables for a little while because again, I'm just that kind of person (er, budget conscious but paranoid).

So! Apologies for this lengthy tract and many questions, and I appreciate all helpful commentary.

P.S. I'm sorry about our president. (Mandatory legal footnote on all international correspondence.)

Edited: 2 months  ago

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(@john-cordingley)
Member
Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 169
29/10/2018 7:21 am  

For information about joining, go to the contact area in the main menu and send a message to the Secretary of the Welsh Section. They can send you some standard advice and information.

Regarding equipment - and how to configure it, this may depend on where you plan to dive and even which particular sites. Advice about this is often better discussed in person, once you're in touch with the relevant Section you want to join. 

Joining the Group is a more of a process than an event; it's better to get to know people a bit first - because you'll need to persuade a couple of members to sign your form and invest time as your mentors. This may sound a bit offputting but the main reason is your safety. Cave diving is potentially hazardous and the CDG's approach has proved to be the most reliable (for British conditions) over the long term (i.e. since it formed in 1946). 

If you make contact directly - and you're clearly serious about joining, I think you'll find members helpful.

(BTW, it helps to use your true name rather than a pseudonym.)

I'm not in the Welsh Section, so I can't help you further. But I wish you the best of luck.

John


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(@andrew-ward)
Member
Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 35
29/10/2018 10:00 am  

Also feel free to contact me and I can give the limited benefit of my experience. There is also a Welsh section member living in the USA.

Andrew

Edited: 1 month  ago

National Training Officer
http://a-m-ward.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.lot46.com


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(@forrest-wilson)
Member
Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 11
29/10/2018 10:23 am  

Hello,

I am a Welsh section member living in the US. I am also vice chairman of the NSS Cave Diving Section. If you need any help/advice, feel free to contact me at 16FW@bellsouth.net. I am a "dry" caver, as well as a sump diver.

I dive in Florida  a lot, if you are ever over that way, let me know.

I have a SeaSkin drysuit, and I like it a lot.

Edited: 1 month  ago

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(@plummet)
Member
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 3
02/11/2018 4:50 am  

Thanks for the replies!

John: I wouldn't necessarily be restricted to Wales. It's interesting what you say about the different gear required for different sections - I hadn't realized cave diving would be so varied within the UK. Is there a quick overview anywhere of the regional differences?

Andrew: What's the best way to contact you?

Forrest: I've e-mailed you.


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(@john-cordingley)
Member
Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 169
02/11/2018 7:43 am  

I meant site specific gear configuration requirements rather than different gear for different UK areas. Local knowledge is very important for this, which is why there's no substitute for chatting it through with people who are actively diving specific sites.

The CDG is set up as a number of regional "Sections" - your best bet is to decide where you're more likely to want to go cave diving then get in touch with that Section Secretary for further advice. 

As suggested above, if you let folk know your name, it'd help members of any Section you approach to become familiar with you. Without knowing your full background, the best advice I can give you is to get some solid caving experience first (I think they call it "spelunking" in the U.S.).


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(@andrew-ward)
Member
Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 35
02/11/2018 11:17 am  

wardgpz at tiscali.co.uk

National Training Officer
http://a-m-ward.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.lot46.com


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(@plummet)
Member
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 3
02/11/2018 6:39 pm  

Thanks John! I prefer privacy on principle, and have given up social media. I'm happy to give my name in private e-mails, but I'd rather not be Googleable by just anyone - for example, my employer, who might not be pleased that I'm looking for different work or considering relocating.

I was under the impression that "spelunking" is considered a pejorative by some, but it doesn't bother me.

Andrew: I'll send you an e-mail.


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A read-only archive of old forum posts can be viewed here

Diary Dates

311, 2018

The next Somerset Section meeting date will be held on Saturday November 3rd, 2018  @6.30pm at the Wessex Cave Club, Upper Pitts, Eastwater Lane, Priddy, WELLS, Somerset, BA5 3AX

906, 2018

The next Northern Section meeting will be held on Saturday 9th June, 2018 at the Top Club, Ingleton at 7:30pm.

106, 2018

The 2018 CDG Training Camp will take place over the weekend of 1st to 3rd of June, 2018, based at the SWCC, Penywllt. Further details to follow.

2804, 2018

This year's AGM and dinner will take place on Saturday 28 April 2018 at Knight Stainforth Hall Caravan and Camping Park, Knight Stainforth Hall, Little Stainforth, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 0DP

1003, 2018

The next meeting of the Derbyshire Section will take place on Saturday 10th March, 2018 @8pm at the TSG.

106, 2017

Newsletter copy dates for 2018 are as follows: 1st June 1st Sept 1st Dec

  
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