One of the goals for any trained cave diver is to find a new cave system to explore, the feeling to be there as the first human is like to discover a new Everest and climb it all in one breath. Cave Diving exploration…..
Planning and training are essential parts of such a difficult and technical section of cave diving.
You will need to be trained in climbing ( not all the entrances are easy to reach), multistage and decompression diving, deep diving, survey diving, advanced side mount diving and no mount diving.
Be prepared physically and mentally :
long walks in the jungle carrying a lot of heavy equipment can be impossible if you are not fit enough.
Cave diving in new caves can put you in very hard task loading dive, no visibility can be expected, even for long periods, you need to lie new line in the system, then you need to survey it, your mind has to be well trained to avoid put you in danger all time.
Here in the Riviera Maya we still have a lot of caves to discover, we only need time to go to the jungle and work for it.
New discovery is done in a different time, you need to find the new place as the first part of the plan.
Way to do that are, talking with Landowners (they know their lands), walk around in the jungle ( not safe) or take a small Plane and fly over taking GPS references at the interesting places.
Cave Diving exploration, Once identified the possible cave to go you will need to find the owner and ask for permission to go there if he says yes the planning will start.
Reach some places can be difficult and sometimes you will need to cut the thick jungle to open a decent path to walk in, then you will need to carry equipment there, for the first time can be used very light
One, just to see the cave potential, small cylinders, primary and back up lights, fins, and mask, a big Primary reel.
A short drive will be done in all the directions to find a way to go, if you got it, will be time to come back with more equipment to continue the survey. Essential is to mark the place with GPS coordinates to know where you are and make a precise map.
Now we have something to work on, the real diving plan can start, we need Sherpa to go there? Maybe mules? The path can be cleaned enough to pass through with a truck? How many cylinders are we gonna need? How many cave divers?
Once you answer realistically to all those questions you can start your first real dive at the cave.
Normally a team of two cave diver is good to start, with a set of double cylinders each ( better if inside mount ), they can work together or in different ways, one in upstream and the other in downstream ( be more conservative), starting to lie down line with proper tie-offs and markers, if they are lucky they can both finish an exploration reel of knotted line ( each 10ft/3m), at that point the real survey start, with slates you need to mark at each tie off (called station) Azimuth, depth, and distance , once on the surface will need to copy all the data on a proper survey page, avoiding to lose all the work done.
As much as the system grows during the next dives, as much is complicated to make a proper cave diving plan, Cave Diving exploration team or divers will need more cylinders, deco stops can be involved, passing into major restrictions, deep places can be reached than gas switches must be expected, sideways passages will be visited before to continue on the mainline and amazes of cave can be grown.
The possibility to find connections with other caves is very high here in the Riviera Maya, leading a team of cave divers that love to discover new places to continue the survey for long periods of time, putting down miles and miles of new cave line per year.
The curiosity of the unknown guides them along with dirt places, long walks, task loading dives, complex navigation, and danger just to have the personal reward to have been in symbiosis with the magic of nature, that magic you can only find in cave diving.