You also dive in caves. How is this different from diving in the open sea?
Water-filled caves are a fantastic world for well-trained divers, and are probably amongst of the last white spots on our map of the world. We have charted the entire surface of the moon, but only a minute percentage of the caves that lie directly beneath our feet. From narrow, mud-caked pipes, through labyrinthine ramified, winding tunnels, right through to huge caverns that are full of stalactites and stalagmites, caves are magical places on our earth that you can only reach if you dare to enter.
This central fascination also explains the difference to diving in the open sea: there’s no direct route to the surface, and often only one exit back to daylight. Any problems or incidents that arise have to be solved underground, under the cave ceiling. Something that at first glance appears to be extremely dangerous and scary to some people, is just one more reason for well-trained cave divers to be extra careful. Much more importance is attached to the equipment, to team skills and to an appreciation of diving when diving in caves to ensure that we have a solution to as many problems as possible when preparing for the dive and during the assessment of the risks. When diving in caves, we use at least two completely autonomous breathing systems, we mix the right breathing gases and keep a strict eye on our gas consumption, we are guided by a line, the communication between the divers is very deliberate and we take a lot of time to discuss the dive in great detail in advance. I would even go so far as to say that the risk of making a mistake and having an accident is greater on holiday during a spontaneous, so-called “fun dive” on a coral reef than during a carefully planned dive with the proper equipment in underwater caves that stretch for kilometres.