Friday, March 02, 2007

The Darkness Beckons

As a general rule, I am not a fan of people who post YouTube videos on their blogs. There is little originality, or imagination involved in showing that you can find video clips of people's pets doing odd things, or finding nice performances. I have never posted a YouTube video clip before, but for once, as you will see below, I am going to make an exception.

I must confess to having an unusual interest, namely caves. I simply adore going down holes in the ground. Natural cave systems are one of nature's most amazing and fragile phenomena. Of course, living in Louisiana the opportunities for caving are somewhat (to put it mildly!) limited. Thus, I was digging around on YouTube for cave footage, when I came across an amazing bit of film.

I am not a cave diver, although, at times, my brother has been. He has had his share of close calls. I believe that he has now decided to give cave diving a miss from now on. I have always restricted myself to dry (well, vaguely dry) cave systems. However, my brother has trained with some of the best cave divers in the world.

There is one cave diver I particularly admire, not least, because he has trained my brother. This is a fellow called Martyn Farr. The images on his site are a treat.

One of Farr's great contributions to caving was to write the book The Darkness Beckons. This is a history of cave diving and the development of the activity. My copy of this book is one of my proudest possessions, as it has a handwritten dedication to me and is signed by Farr. This guy is a true hero! I strongly recommend this book to anyone. It is a great read.

Anyhow, the long and the short of it is that cave diving is an extremely dangerous activity. Whilst I was digging around YouTube, I came across a video that illustrates this very clearly.

The video was made by a fellow called David Shaw. A highly experienced and regarded cave diver. It documents his attempt to recover the body of another diver, Deon Dreyer, from a deep water hole. It is a harrowing video, as Shaw did not survive the dive.

The video is very dark, but very real. It is also quite long. Watch it, only if you are interested (N.B. You will probably need JavaScript enabled, for it to run properly).

Let us hope that Dave Shaw and Deon Dreyer have found their way to a better place where they can cave dive without the need of tanks. Despite this video, for me, the darkness still beckons, but only if it is dry.

The CP


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