Sami Paakkarinen - July 2014

Norway, Scooter 101, Filming & Small Scale Exploration

Every year I travel to the Mo I Rana area in Norway. In fact, last year I spend 10 weeks there teaching cave classes and running various expeditions; but why do I go there? Well, it’s a huge karstic area filled with caves of which over 800 have been mapped since 1900. Many of them have diving potential.

This year’s main trip started in July, and I already had 4 weeks of cave training lined up. Everything from CCR to OC classes as well as 3 cave DPV courses. We also squeezed in some time for filming and a small scale exploration. It was going to be a packed few weeks!

Cave DPV is one of the most challenging courses. You’ve got to master all the cave and equipment skills before even thinking of adding a DPV. A DPV in the cave is a useful tool. In the best of situations, it opens up a ton of new diving possibilities; but in the worst of situations, a DPV can get you in trouble very quickly. To ensure my students minimize the risk of getting into a bad situation I start each class with a bit of theory and then a lot scooter maintenance. Even if my students have a lot of experience in open water scooter diving, we spend a day in open water going through all of the skills needed in the cave: handling, starting, stopping, all the methods of towing, etc. Over the next two days, we practice the skills in an overhead environment. The Plura Cave System is an exceptionally good place for training as there are long penetrations, lots of depth changes, and some narrow passages. All in all, the students did quite well!I finally had a bit of a break from teaching when the rest of the Divers of the Dark arrived at Plura. We spend half a week filming. In fact, the film will hopefully be coming out this year!

Every year around the week of August 11th, there is the gathering of the Norwegian Cave Diving Society, Norsk Grottedykkerforbund in Plura. Unfortunately, this year I had to leave right as the week was starting; but I did get to speak with my friends about the exciting projects they are planning. One project is being headed by Raymond Nielsen. They are trying to push Setegrotta Cave.