Caving may be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Whether you find it so or not, do
ensure you make preparations for a caving exploration. If you do not, it can
turn out to be a very horrifying experience.
Here are some tips on cave
exploration and finding your way out should you get lost. You should not go
exploring caves without knowing your exact way in and out. Getting lost in a
cave is a very dangerous situation that can resemble your worst nightmare.
If you do plan to enter a cave, make sure that people outside know you are
entering the cave, what time you will be back and when they should start
calling for help if anything should happen.
Make sure you have flashlights and spare batteries before entering a
cave. At every turn or corner place a marker on the floor indicating the
direction you took. Always bring along a reliable guide. Many of Malaysia's
caves are unmapped and no one should explore a cave on his or her own.
Groups of four or six would be ideal.
Limit your time in a cave to a maximum of eight hours. More than that and
you will get very tired and be less alert. Since you have an idea of how
much time to be inside, you can plan on how much lighting you will need. One
kilogram of carbide will give enough illumination for approximately six to
eight hours. You should always carry back-up torches and extra batteries. If
you are one of those with a weak heart condition or suffering from
claustrophobia, you should limit yourself to just show caves.
Caving helmets are designed in such a way that primary lights can be
secured to them. It might be a good idea to bring along a drysuit which is
made for cave dives or in cold water. The suit itself is made of a laminated
waterproof material, with watertight latex seals at the neck and wrists.
Pockets on either side can carry safety equipment. Most cavers put a back-up
light on their helmet. This way, if a primary light fails, one can still
keep hands free. Another back-up light is also put into a pack. The cave
diving rule of `Three Lights' makes a lot of sense for it is dangerous to be
in a cave without a light source.
Rope is needed for hand lines and vertical drops. For these, always
consider the condition and storage methods of any rope before using it as a
safety device. Rope protectors should be used as a cushion between rope and
any surface which might abrade it. Use a rope bag that is designed to
protect the rope in transit and in storage.
Although some operators offer cave diving, it is a highly specialized
sport and should only be undertaken by experienced divers and cavers. So if
you intend to do cave diving, you might prefer a compact mask. Most divers
carry at least one depth gauge and timer. These allow the diver to calculate
what decompression stops to make when ascending at the end of the dive.
Alternatively, all of these functions may be combined in a dive computer
which you can bring along easily. It indicates depth, time and the required