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My Slacking Ways

My Slacking WaysMy apologies for some issues that have surface on the site lately:
  • Can't Send Message
  • Can't View Static Image for a System
  • Mapping Engine is not working
The first was an issue with moving the server and has been fixed (Home -> Contact)
The second and third were issues with Google and how they handle calls. I have fixed that as well. To view, visit Lineater and click the map

I hope everyone enjoys the fixes. And please keep making condition reports. Someone posted on for the Nest yesterday.

I am also going to resurect the flow meter for Weeki Wachee (just for fun) as it affects the current exploration at Twin Dees as well.

NOAA ChartsAs always, if you have an idea for something, please feel free to let me know. Someone wanted to see NOAA charts on overall map and I was able to add those -- pretty neat actually.As always, if you have an idea for something, please feel free to let me know. Someone wanted to see NOAA charts on overall map and I was able to add those -- pretty neat actually.

Viewing Various Maps for a Cave System

Cave Atlas Visual MappingA very powerful but little known and rarely used feature of Cave Atlas is visual mapping.

On each system page, there is a "Locations & Specifics" tab. In the Locations & Specifics" section, you can click on the map to see an interactive map of the area around the system you are looking at. This interactive map is integrated with Google Maps and also provides 3 other map options -- Topographic Maps, the USGS National Map and Open Street Maps (OSM).

Previously, I had overlays that showed the surface location of cave passages. I have removed that for now in hopes of finding a better method of creating those map overlays.

I hope that you find this tool useful during research.  If you would like to see other features added, please feel free to e-mail me or contact me via Twitter.

The Rules of Cave Diving

Most (all should) cave divers subscribe to the following 5 basic rules of accident analysis that were first published in Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint for Survival by Sheck Exley.  But how did these rules come to be?
Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint for Survival
  • Be Trained for Cave Diving, and Remain Within the Limits of Your Trainin
  • Maintain a Continuous Guideline to the Cave Exit
  • Keep Two Thirds of Your Starting Gas Volume in Reserve to Exit the Cave
  • Remain Within the Safest Possible Operating Limits for Your Breathing Media
  • Use Three Sources of Light

Sheck conducted a careful study of cave diving fatalities from the 1960s and 1970s and he discovered that, in almost every instance of a cave diver death, the death could be attributed to one of 3 reasons.

A short while after Sheck's study, Wes Skiles, who was serving as the Training Chairman of the National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS), also conducted a study.  Wes's study agreed with Sheck's but added two more factors that, while not directly responsible, contributed greatly to cave diving fatalities.

These two studies were combined to create the 5 rules of accident analysis. Today, these rules are taught in every cave diver training course. In addition to the 5 rules of accident analysis, some cave divers add there own personal rules -- here are a few of mine:
  • You panic, you die!
  • Any diver can call the dive at any time for any reason; no questions asked
  • Three gear "problems" pre-dive; call the dive
  • The cave isn't going anywhere; better to come back when you feel good about the dive
  • Do not chase goals

To me, times are changing in the cave diving community. The "Golden Age of Exploration" has come and passed and the "Golden Age of Cave Training" is whimpering out. Over the past decade, cave diving has seemed to become simply a "rite of passage" for those that viewed cave training as simply another SCUBA diving certification card. The steady decline in membership of the National Association for Cave Diving (NACD) and the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society would tend to support my opinion; these agency's membership numbers peaked between 2007 - 2009.

Hopefully, the future of cave diving holds great promise and great discovery.  I look forward to talking about exploration to those that are in it for the curiosity of the unknown vs. extolling the "sage advice" passed down from yet another cave instructor.  As my personal mantra states, "if you don't go; you won't know".

I am interested in hearing what other cave divers rules are; please feel free to e-mail me or contact me via Twitter.