|Posted by oceanzone on May 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM|
Cave diving is a mystery waiting to be uncovered. Yes we know what is in a cave on the Earth’s surface but, a cave underwater is probably a whole lot more. Although a lot of people are into scuba diving these days, not many are trained to be a cave diver. It takes grace on your kicks, perfect buoyancy and fluidity of knowledge and skills.
In the Philippines, there are a lot of caves. Most of these caves are unexplored because they are located under a private land owners’ sector. Last year, May 2014, we went to Cebu to meet up with a friend and dive the Pawod Cave discovered in 2001 by Doc Alfonso Boy Amores.
I was much honored to be with 3 UTD Instructors in the Philippines, Juan Naval, Maike Espiritu and Igor Subora. On the first day, we catch up Maike, who is Cebu based over a sumptuous meal in a pizza parlor nearby a dive shop. With a full stomach, our cave diving training begun with the introduction of theory and skills. We were taught how to read the cave arrows, knots, placement of the spools and so on. It is extremely different because caves can be enormous on space or tight to squeeze in. Our training was the latter. I was excited and learned so much from my usual recreational underwater exploration. The second part of the training was the simulation. I had to carry not only 3 spool, but 4. Juan made a course using the spool tying it from pole to pole and put arrows as soon as we were ready. We simulated like it was murky and a truly zero visibility environment, so we wore our masks the opposite was of normally wearing it and started. One hand on the diver and the other on the rope. Rope is a diver’s lifeline in cave diving, so never let go! Igor led the first simulation and I did the second time. It was sooooo cool and it added up to my excitement. Over dinner, we planned our first cave diving to Pawod Cave for the next morning.
We head to Pawod Cave at 9am transported by our super cool tiny jeepney and geared up as soon as we arrived. The water was murky because the locals were enjoying a swim on the surface before we came. The entrance was dark and intimidating for first timers but as we went along, it became more mesmerizing each time. It was so interesting that you just want to go on every channel you see, but we weren’t allowed as yet. We ended the first dive and the three went ahead for the second one. It was truly something that I will forever remember and would love to do again. What an experience!