Do you take cave diving too seriously?

My friend, Rich Courtney is one heck of a cave diver, an OK instructor ;-)   and an all around great guy to know. After my most recent dive with Rich I got out of the water and couldn’t quit smiling. He wrote this back in September of 2004 and gave me permission to post it here. I think you can substitute ANY type of diving for cave diving in this. Enjoy.

Visit Rich’s Website and Blog for more wisdom.

Richard Black

Do you take cave diving too seriously?

Well do you? This came to mind when I was reading the latest comments and feedback about the dual fatality at Eagles Nest. After reading all the feedback off of that, there were a couple of sentences that really got me thinking, one of which was it taking a week or more to plan for a deep dive at Eagles Nest and the other being that people don’t take cave diving seriously enough.

Having been lucky enough to live close to and work in cave country for the last few months I’d love to talk about this……

Do I take cave diving seriously? Hell no!! Do I practice it in a serious manner? Hell yes!! Having done a couple of hundred cave dives since moving down here, it’s my not so humble opinion that people take cave diving way too seriously, and forget how kick ass it is.
The best cave diver in the world is the one that’s having the most fun…period! How you find your fun, be it laying line, pushing “doable” holes, or a no-vis sidemount “f%&@ yeah ’cause I’m gonna break out into some passage”, or a swim to Olsen is entirely up to you, but make sure you’re having a good time doin’ it!!

While we spend our days arguing about gear configuration, agencies, what brand to use, how to route your hoses, are you DIR or not etc the fact is that we have the underwater equivalent of Nirvana in our back yards…..yes, no matter what agency you’re certified by, I know that we’ve all felt that same awe and reverence swimming through these cathedrals…….or rabbit holes, lol

Cave diving is a sport and I quote the OED “an interesting diversion” or Websters ” a particular game or physical activity with set rules ” but the point is that it’s an option, you don’t have to do it!! Yes fun is optional….

I dive solo 60% of the time and when I hear someone say you can’t, or it’s rule blah blah, I just start laughing. Yeah, I’ve had an o-ring extrude 2000+ back in Ginnie, lost a mask strap etc and you know what….you deal or you die…..but I digress. I can’t tell people how to cave dive and I would never presume to, all I can do is dive with them and have fun!

As for deep cave dive planning, eg: Eagles or Diepolder, why in the hell would you need to plan it a week ahead of time?…it’s not that hard to do, just a simple matter of mixing the right gas, cutting the right tables, having your regular dive buddy/team present and diving it!! (Hey Ralphie, if you’re reading this I got some 14/50 cranked …just wish the deep was doable!!

Everything on the internet is just so blown out of proportion…well so and so said..if you read it on the Deco Stop…….My regular buddy had to pull a body out of the cave a while back, so I show up and he’s bummed out and all I could say was “let’s cave dive, it’ll settle you down”…we had a kickass race to the Hinkel (which he won!) and life is good

Don’t really know where I’m going with this except to tell people that if you’re qualified to do it…great….now have fun!! Take it seriously or don’t but either way it’s your choice……

Safe diving,


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