Technical Diving Internship – part 1 – Full Cave Diver
What an exciting first two weeks of my technical diving internship with Blue Label Diving!
After a crash course in dive theory, instructor Ben Reymenants, full cave CCR student Chris Sammut and I headed to the caves of southern Thailand for some tech diving. On the itinerary: the unique and diverse cave systems of Song Hong, Sra Keow, and Klang Cave.
We arrived at Buri Lamplai resort – a beautiful bungalow village just a few hours from Blue Label Diving in Phuket – feeling excited and ready for some serious diving. After practicing line skills and discussing cave, technical, and closed circuit rebreather (CCR) diving theory, we headed to Song Hong for our first dives.
The entrance to the Song Hong cave system is humble – not more than a small lake next to a Buddhist temple. It wasn’t until we were geared up and under the water that Chris and I, who had never dived in caves before, realized how vast the underwater networks can be. Not to mention stunning!
Ben provided fantastic instruction – I never felt excessively unsafe or task loaded throughout the dives. I think it’s safe to say that Chris and I both exited the water with a new appreciation for cave diving and the divers who explore these amazing underwater passages.
The next week was filled with similar experiences. We became familiar with our equipment, the process of planning and executing cave dives, and the practice of essential skills for this type of diving. Though we began with relatively easy, entry level dives in open caverns with good visibility, Chris and progressed rapidly enough to perform and enjoy more difficult dives throughout our courses. After several dives in Song Hong, we moved to Sra Keow (the deepest cave in Asia) where the silt challenged all we had learned.
We ended the week of diving in Klang Cave. There is a dry cave that attracts tourists, but for the three of us it was all about the underwater world hidden within these ancient passages. Klang cave combined silty passages with open rooms, narrow turns, and beautiful rock structures and was a great way to test our skills. Ben even let Chris and I dive as a buddy pair for our last dive (a different experience than diving with an instructor).
After the week came to a close, Chris and I both achieved our technical diving training goals. He earned a full cave CCR certification and I earned sidemount as well as full cave diver.
I can’t wait to head back to the caves for more exciting diving. It’s been a great first few weeks of my technical diving internship. Thanks Chris Sammut, Ben Reymenants, and Blue Label Diving for a fantastic experience!