Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Keeping an open mind about gear configuration

Photo Georges Gawinowski

The basics of a good foundation are inherent to the quality of the material or tools that are used in the building of that foundation. Gear configuration is one of the tools that will shape a cave diver career. Gear configuration is an essential topic. This is basic for all cave training. “Gear configuration is an important factor. Remember your training. Look around and ask other divers why they use a specific type of equipment or configuration. Be open-minded”. We need the best possible tools to do the perfect job. If I visualize a cave diver in the 80’s the gear set was limited to the basics. The equipment is probably safer today but divers in the past paid more attention on what they had, and I am sure it was taking long hours to get the best on their gear configuration set up. The main recommendations for a good gear configuration are redundancy, streamlining, accessibility and comfort. So let’s go back to the minimum gear requirements for Cavern diving, Intro-Cave to cave diving and Cave DivingOriginal Article was published in the Volume 40 Oct/Nov/Dec/ 2013 Underwater Speleology The journal of the cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society NSS/CDS

 Georges Gawinowski NSS/CDS Instructor
IANTD SE Training Director

Friday, August 29, 2014

Congratulations to new certified students!

I sincerely would like to congratulate my new certified students who worked hard for their certifications.

They were well prepared to discover new challenge encounters that are part of new courses; cave diving and closed circuit Megalodon rebreather are not easy courses regardless the diver or instructor level we are at.

At WDT Dive I do not take the easiest route to certify people. Like most of my fellow cave diver instructors, I want to make sure that the new certified diver understands the reality about becoming a new cave diver certified.
Alex Gilson (CMAS instructor certified, GUE diver and IANTD Trimix diver) and Rick Thomas (former commercial diver, GUE diver and IANTD Trimix diver) showed both a great attitude and developed great cave diving skills during the course. 18 dives and long hours of training, combined with mental and physical and underwater skills made them certified has NSS/CDS and IANTD full cave divers.

Evgeny Komko became a Megalodon rebreather Instructor, what a dedication from somebody who decided to travel all the way from Ukraine to get his training. Evgeny is already a CCR Inspiration mixed gas diving Instructor up to 100 meters (330 fsw), a NSS/CDS cave diver and a CCR diver on different units such as Megalodon and JJ. It was nice to have him at our WDT dive facility for a week of training and hours in-water time practicing. I am pleased to announce that we registered a new IANTD CCR Megalodon Instructor in Ukraine.

After 8 days of training with Kenny Kipper, a number of dives, in water training practice, Kenny earned his CCR Megalodon diver certification. Kenny is a NSS/CDS cave diver, a TDI decompression procedures diver and TDI Advanced Nitrox diver. He is our new CCR Megalodon diver certified.

Congratulations to all of you and Thank You again for choosing me as your diving instructor.

Georges Gawinowski
IANTD USA South East Training Director 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Mastering Buoyancy In cave diving

Mastering buoyancy in cave diving is like having a cup of iced tea in a hot summer day, it is so sweet!
Whether we are a cavern or experienced cave diver buoyancy and swimming techniques have to be mastered. Controlled buoyancy is critical to avoid silting out passages which results in the inability for the diver to freely navigate back out of the cave due to being blinded by percolates along the exit tunnel. Remember that we are not in our environment when cave diving and we should pay attention to minimize the negative impact we could have on our surroundings, on our buddies, others teams and; the cave will appreciate it!
Mastering buoyancy will help us also to:
·      Reduce gas consumption,
·      Reduce the risk of over exhaustion,
·      Reduce the risk of loss of visibility,
·      Reduce the risks of decompression sickness,
·      Reduce the risk of aeroembolism,
·      Reduce the risk of O2 toxicity.

Personal evaluation phase:
When you see a cave diver in the ocean you notice a perfect trim and buoyancy, easy to recognize.
In a cave system things can change dramatically because of human errors. All of us can make mistakes often when our buoyancy is not what it should be. Every time we are diving in a cave we need 100% awareness and focus on our buoyancy while keeping the dive and our buddy in mind.  For instance, during the dive we may be thinking about something else such as tasks on the dive, our equipment or a physical un-comfort, or be preoccupied by something we have in mind and lose our cave and buoyancy awareness. We know we make a mistake when it’s already done. The ideal would be to see, anticipate, the mistake before it happens. I mean to be aware of any changes in our breathing, posture or swimming pattern and depth changes.
One of the best ways I have found to evaluate my buoyancy is simply by practicing in an open water area such as a spring, quarries or in the ocean. My technique is comprised of the following steps:
·      Lay down a line at the bottom,
·      Swim on top of that line the body centered in the middle on the line,
·      Swim using 90 degrees turn, then 120 and 180 turn without any changes in posture.
·     Practice for 30 minutes or more and see if the technique remains persistent and constant.

Once you are comfortable with that technique go practice on your cave dive with one mission in mind: to keep a perfect trim at all times, to choose the correct tie off and line placement, to jump without moving any silt after your passage.
Each time you notice something is wrong whether it be with you or your buddy just call that dive, surface and discuss about the mistakes that were made and find solutions on how to improve the technique in order to avoid the mistake next time.
Georges Gawinowski
IANTD USA SE Training Director
Picture Above: Georges Gawinowski at Eagles Nest Cave, Florida

 Parts of This Article was published on the "Journal of the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society." "Skills, Tips and Techniques by Georges Gawinowski Volume 40 Number 3. July/August/September 2013

Wednesday, April 09, 2014



Georges Gawinowski, WDT dive, and Steve Schafer, Lake Mead Technical Diversare organizing an IANTD Expedition Trimix Course the week after Dema 2014.

November 23rd through 28th, 2014

Objective: The knowledge and skills taught in this program are more than adequate to qualify divers to perform Trimix Dives outside of training up to 400 fsw (120 msw). 

Where:  Lake Mead NV, home of  the famous Hoover Dam, a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the Arizona and Nevada. Old building structures, construction tools have been left in the diving area with lots of new discoveries to be made. Bypass tunnels may be reachable now with lower lake levels.

Prerequisites:  Dedicated CCR Trimix Megalodon Certified Divers ONLY. Must have at least 300 dives of which 100 are Trimix dives.

How to Register: Limited Spots
Send an email with a copy of your CCR Megalodon Certification, CCR Trimix Certifications, and proof of number of dives.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

WDT Dive program for February 2014

Please find the course schedule for February 2014  at WDT dive Facility.

Upcoming Courses and Events @ WDTDIVE

February 5 to February 7

 Location: North Florida WDT Dive.

February 15 to February 21

Location: North Florida WDT Dive.

 February 22 to February 27

February 28 to March 2

Location: North Florida WDT Dive.

Georges Gawinowski IANTD R Training director