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What is the thing with cave diving?

Have you ever thought that you will never EVER enter one of those small, creepy places that is dark, cold and filled with water? - It must be only suicidal or crazy people that is risking their lives to go cave diving!

Has it ever occurred to you that horse back riding is one of the most deadly sports that exist? Often our fear is not rational, but directly related to what we have knowledge about. One of the reasons why people fear cave diving is that it is still a fairly unknown sport.


We often fear what we do not understand

Jani Santala has been diving since 1988. He is a Technical diving instructor trainer and has dived more caves than most. "Cave diving is more like meditation than any other sport I have ever practiced", Jani says happily. He compares it to doing other sports. When driving enduro bikes it is all about speed, action and maintaining control on the edge of your limits. In diving it is completely different. You get into the peaceful state of bliss during the dive. The feeling when the dive starts - that first splash of cold water in the face sets of the primal response system, and the body is in dive mode.




The unique way of experiencing nature

Most people will never understand how it feels to enter the realm of the mountains in a weightless state. Many will say that this is the closest you will get to being in outer space, without leaving the planet. The dive gear can be compared to wearing a space suit. When all is balanced just right and the equipment is in place - that is when the adventure starts. You might belive that it is a feeling of adrenaline that is rushing through my body that is the pull-factor, but then you are utterly mistaking. It is a sense of calm that embraces me when my head is disappearing under the surface, and the underworld is allowing me to enter. The view from within the mountain is magical. As you enter the darkness you flick your primary light on, and you don't know what you will discover this time. Even after more than 1000 dives in the Plura cave system I still find new features that amazes me.


Cave divers entering the Plura cave system
Entering the realm of the mountain. Photo: Pekka Tuuri

Community

The community is essential in cave diving. As a fresh diver that wants to take the leap and test cave diving for the first time there is always a lot of thoughts and concerns. In cave diving we always dive in teams for redundancy and reducing risk. There is a strong cave diving community, and I have always found that there is help and support if needed.


Like when we got married in 2019 at the Chapel 500 meter into the Plura cave system. It was an amazing day with cave diving friends from 11 countries. Together we managed to set a new world record. Without all the amazing volunteers from the diving community it would not have been possible.




Now I try to help others that are in the starting phase of technical diving or just entering the cave diving community. I give guidance on where it is clever to start, equipment and training recommendations. It is also possible to get specific individual training on request. It is all about making a strong and safe diving community where people are having fun and taking responsibility.


Amazing dive sites around the world

One of the truly great things about cave diving is all the places it leads you to. During my 17 years of cave diving it has lead me to some of the most remote and some of the most interesting places on earth. This is the places that you most likely never would visit if it wasn't for the caves.



By the foot of the Southern Ural in Russia you find an amazing gypsum cave called Orda. In Southern France there is a wide range of diveable caves of different shapes and sizes. In great combination with idyllic countryside, old castles, good wine and great diving. Wherever cave diving takes you it gives you a unique and honest meeting with the locals. Most of the caves are located 'off the beaten path', so if you need any tips for your next trip: - Don't hesitate to send a message, we are happy to help!

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