When you become an instructor of any sport, it is quite likely that you have a very wide knowledge about it, and you have been practising it for a while, maybe super focused on it, so you’ve been very far away from the situation of when you had to learn everything, and you don’t even know the vocabulary.
All the basic things become so normal for you, that you tend to forget how does it feel to be “new” into something again, and how was when you didn’t know absolutely anything. To be honest, I barely remember my feelings when I first arrived to a scuba dive center (I do remember very well the underwater part), but only the basic parts like “What is a regulator?” can be very intimidating for someone that is new.
To be able to teach these type of things, in a sensible manner, you need to put yourself on your student’s place, and really think thorough how it is to not knowing even the words, and being overwhelmed for all the amount of stuff that is new.
So there I was, into something that I actually have been wanting to do it for a long time, but never found the time: Speleology, and as I’m being lucky, the weekend after I went to the first meeting, they had a training session that I could join: yay!!!
I borrowed from them a full spell bag of material, from which I could only recognise a harness and a helmet, and a couple of carabiners, but everything was quite new to me.
I woke up at 8 AM on the coldest weekend of the year, to go to the coldest area in Spain at that moment, it was already 09:15 AM and it was still -3.5ºC, perfect for being hanging out on a bridge, but I will anticipate this, I was actually warm there 🙂
First, a coffee on the local bar, and head down to the site: Mondéjar Bridge, which is now equipped thanks to Castilla la Mancha local group as a vertical progression school for Speleology, with the anchor points, and all the instructions that someone may need.
I still didn’t catch the name of those anchors, but apparently some are better than others, as it happens with tie-offs in cave diving, but I’ll get there eventually. During the whole day I couldn’t stop my mind going through the similarities between both sports, it doesn’t need to be cave, but also diving in general.
I didn’t know how to make the knots, how to name them, how to name the ropes, and as you can see, I still don’t know 🙂, how to name the carabiners or even how to pack stuff. As a diving instructor, I am so used to have things as granted, and vocabulary or basic knowledge that has been there for a while, so we, humans, tend to assume that it is “common knowledge” and everybody knows. Who wouldn’t know that a spool is used to make jumps in caves?! 🙂
My head couldn’t stop matching all the techniques that we use diving (teaching) to this sport: so when I tell to my students: look at that awesome fish! looked a lot similar when my buddy on Saturday was telling me: this is the green way for one of the Tagus affluents 🙂 🙂
I still think that caves are the safest place in the world.
And there are more similarities that you may think:
We all follow protocols
Tidy up the ropes (line) before continuing, always
Keep always safety in mind – protocols
Don’t miss the line! Always two points of contact – protocols
Do always a buddy check – GUE EDGE (maybe now GSE EDGE, Global Speleo Explorers)
Double enders and carabiners tend fly away