Nov 112013
The rEvo and the camera part I

There’s a varying range of opinions on the compatibility of underwater photography and diving closed circuit. I know photographers who say they’d never dive a rebreather because the camera takes all of their attention. And I know rebreather divers where the last thing they want is another complicated device they have to swim around with. For me I average about 100 dives a year and in the four years since I’ve had my camera rig less than 5% of those dives have involved leaving the camera behind. So the question isn’t whether it’s going to work, it’s more about how I can make it work. The cave diving I do already demands a split focus. Caves require situational awareness, and [read more…]

Nov 042013
Choosing the rEvo

When I bought my current dSLR, I knew I was choosing an underwater camera rig over a rebreather. I could barely afford one expensive toy let alone two. At the time it was absolutely the right choice. The camera has lasted me four years so far, and I hope to get at least another two out of it. Despite the release of a new model I’m still more than happy with the shots I can get out of it. Since investing in my camera set-up, I’ve had a huge amount of fun taking photos, learning and improving my skills. This didn’t mean I forgot about the rebreather though… For me the rebreather advantage is significantly in the ability to use [read more…]

Oct 282013
Exploration part 2

Running your own line is a lot more fun than following someone else’s, even though we knew this part of the cave has been visited 15 years before. We swam on through the second sump with the tunnel gradually becoming both wider and taller. After a few hundred metres the passage appeared to end in a flat wall. After checking each side I spotted air above and scooted up between the wall and ceiling to surface in the second air bell. This one was a lot more diver friendly with a few big rocks sticking out of the water, but deep enough to swim from one side to the other fully kitted up. The air seemed fine and there were [read more…]

Oct 212013
Exploration: the real thing

Right, enough of the local stuff and back to the story! Following my muddy little grovel on our second day, we followed a tip from the local guy and went walkabout to look at a few laundry spots in the area. Just down the road and around the corner we discovered another huge doline with pools at both ends and a young woman having a wash in one of them (fully clothed!). After a quick free dive with mask and torch Stefan pronounced it good and we returned that afternoon with dive gear. Having spent the day tramping through the bush, clambering around other holes and evaluating prospects we didn’t have too much time left, so Stefan dropped in with [read more…]

Oct 142013

I’m going to have to interrupt my recounting of our Indonesia adventures (Part 1 and Part 2 so far) to bring you up to date on this weekend in Elk River. We had an epic 17 hour trip underground to achieve the stated mission of extending the line in sump 9. My last trip into Elk was back in June, when I extended invitations to a couple of interstate visitors only to be rained out by over 200mm of water the week before. The rising waters through the early parts of the cave caused us the rethink the trip at sump 1. Not wanting to repeat that disappointment I suggested postponing future push trips until the worst of winter was over. In July [read more…]

Oct 072013
Exploration through mud

After a very nice, if slightly short dive through Kristal Cave on the first day, we were looking forward to getting into the caves and potential caves. The information we had from 1998 suggested there was about 500m of passage with two air chambers, all through crystal clear water following an entrance restriction. However, when Donovan returned 2 years ago to dive the cave he found the entrance pool full of mud and aborted the dive. On closer inspection it was still full of mud. The upside of this is that the local people have stopped drawing their drinking water from the cave and as such had no objections to us muddying it up even further. There was also no [read more…]