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#454246 - 12/28/12 08:29 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Giant Cave exploration with Belize Diving Services

One main history on Caye Caulker is its cave system which is located under our houses. There have been many stories with this cave starting with 2 persons dying in there up to how far the cave system goes and where it connects among other stories. The entrance of the cave system is located on the west side of the island called by some Tarpon View where tarpons have their home. I was told by some one that Belize Diving Services was exploring the cave beneath us and mentioned how far they got. I, as a diver was interested but would be too chicken to even try such a dive.

Belize Diving Services has been exploring the cave beneath the island and have done about 15 exploration dives and surveying about 3000 feet of old guideline and cleaning some old existing line traps. The team for this exploration consists of Chip Petersen owner of Belize Diving Services, Marty O’Farrell who has had over 25 years of diving experience and also lives in Belize, Robbie Schmittner of Tulum Mexico, Henning Lucht who is a German Cave Explorer, Alexandra and Thorsten Kampe, both Exploration Divers. They had also contacted the founder of Belize Diving Services, Paul Heinerth who was the first to dive in the Giant Cave in 1979.

The idea behind this exploration is to clean up the work which past divers have done before proceeding into the mapping process so they can conduct scientific research so as to make the cave safer for future explorations to come. Keep in mind that the ones who die while diving in caves are the more competent divers such as instructors and those with experiences in the diving world. You do need to have a great deal of cave diving experience to be able to dive in the Giant Cave.

As this project is being underway, the team asks to try and help keep people out of the cave area as it can disrupt the project. Anyone interested in the exploration or would like to know more about the Giant Cave can contact Belize Diving Services.

Please note that no tours are being done in the cave.

Caye Caulker Chronicles


#454306 - 12/29/12 11:49 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,094
Danny2 Offline
.
Danny2  Offline
Thanks, very interesting.

#459334 - 03/03/13 08:13 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

The O'Farrell self portrait

Self portrait photo (by Marty O'Farrell) taken with the GoPro at the end of Giant Cave dive yesterday- The entrance to the cave system is about 30 feet behind me. I am on my knees just next to the mangroves. A couple hundred feet to my right is Belize Diving Services. It would be a complete understatement to say that Chip and I are thrilled at our new found playground right here in our back yard!!


#459516 - 03/05/13 11:04 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 329
Tom Offline
.
Tom  Offline
What a fantastic posting with fabulous video. I really enjoyed all of the comments they were so enlightening and informational.
I agree with one thing inparticular and that is this is not for a novice diver.
Would love to hear and see more about this huge cave at CC. I assume that the roof of the cave varies in thickness. can anyone make a drawing of how CC and the cave are situated? That would be a good visual, especially for those who may have only been there a few times and not real sure of all the places mentioned in the comments.
Great job!
Kat

#459935 - 03/11/13 06:50 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Southern Passage Giant Cave Jan 2013


Well this is a bit of a work in progress on the lighting. We might need to revisit the jet pack concept. But cave in this area is much more clear and ornate. — with Chip Petersen, Carrie Greene O'Farrell and Living Reef Belize at Belize Diving Services.

Caye Caulker could possibly be sitting on the largest marine cave in the world. The entrance of the cave system is located on the west side of the island called Tarpon View, by some, where tarpons inhabit. The cave was first explored back in 1981 when the first owners of Belize Dive Services Paul Heinerth (to this day an International cave diving pioneer and author of many books on the subject) and Chuck Hattel dug into the cave.

Belize Dive Services was bought by Chip Petersen in 2009 and in November 2012 he and Bill Oestreich ‘Bert’ (both recognized Cave Dive Instructors) entered the cave once more. Chip’s real dream in purchasing BDS was to follow the footsteps of his predecessors and access the cave system to allow Belize to realize the potentials of this natural beauty; so when his mentor Bert turned up on Caye Caulker, he seized the opportunity.


To date, Chip, Bill and Marty O’Farell from San Pedro (all qualified and heavily experienced Cave Divers) have been re-tracing steps. Chip has been given approvals and in particular the permit by the Department of Archeology and the Environment for surveying, mapping and scientific research in the caves of Belize. Together they have been making accurate surveys through computer technology and thus far verifying and giving greater accuracy to the original data.


Chip, together with the Village Council Chairman Alberto Villenueva, has pushed for the area between and including Tarpon View and the caves as a mini reserve to be co-managed by the Village Council and the Deptartment of Archaeology.


Chip is anxious that Belizeans get involved in the cave but stresses the dangers for those diving the cave. All divers must go through a 15-day course to learn the specifics and skills of cave diving before accessing the it. Safety concerns are essential for those without the capacity to use the specialized equipment and techniques.

For this reason the Belize Cave Diving Society has been established to promote safe and responsible cave diving in Belize. Rules for guiding will be based on established methods used worldwide and a Cave Management Protocol created for all cave divers. For more information please look on Facebook for updates on information as and when they have it!

The well regarded National Geographic will take their time to explore the Giant Cave in 2014, along with the elite in the dive world, lead by James Petersen or ‘Chip’ from Belize Dive Service and his team of researchers!!


Entrance of the Giant Cave on Tarpon View in Caye Caulker (where tarpons have their home)


#459947 - 03/11/13 11:14 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,391
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Incredible


Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com
#459950 - 03/11/13 12:21 PM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,441
ScubaLdy Offline
.
ScubaLdy  Offline
Awesome. beautiful and scary as all get out! I don't see any lines.
Good steady hands on the camera. I can just imagine the silt that could be kick up.


Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles
#460049 - 03/12/13 04:52 PM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 17
Chris7 Offline
.
Chris7  Offline
Oh how pretty! And so much better viz!Wow. Now this part looks more like a Tulum-quality cave! Glad to see you got more than one flashlight smile.Re-double-dundancy in action.

#460281 - 03/15/13 08:55 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Caye Caulker’s cave is possibly the largest in the world!!!

Caye Caulker could possibly be sitting on the LARGEST MARINE CAVE IN THE WORLD!!! It’s a big statement but something that the well regarded National Geographic will take their time to explore in 2014, along with the elite in the dive world, lead by James Petersen or ‘Chip’ from Belize Dive Service and his team of researchers!!

Although many of us have been unwittingly sitting on this cave for most of our lives, the recent developments for the cave will prove monumental for the Caye – the increase in visibility on the dive map as experts and tourists alike will flock to see this unique natural beauty. Not forgetting the impact this will have on the earth science world (biologists, hydrologists, archaeologists etc) as this cave acts as a time capsule preserving life forms and conditions of a more ancient earth. And finally giving Caye Caulker global recognition for a truly magnificent natural marine creation as unparalleled as say Niagra Falls or the Grand Canyon!!

The story so far is this … the cave was first explored back in 1981 when the first owners of Belize Dive Services Paul Heinerth (to this day an International cave diving pioneer and author of many books on the subject) and Chuck Hattel dug into the cave. Frank Bountain took over the shop shortly after and amounted over 500 dives in the cave itself – thus becoming the person who has dove the cave most to this date. These pioneers amassed significant initial information that included basic mapping and even documented research.

Frank left Belize Dive Services in 1995 and from then there was no active diving undertaken in the cave until November 2012 when Chip Petersen and Bill Oestreich ‘Bert’ – both recognized Cave Dive Instructors entered the cave once more. Chip and Dani Petersen bought Belize Dive Services back in 2009 and have already been contributing to the longevity of our marine environment by funding the Belize Shark Project. Chip’s real dream in purchasing BDS was to follow the footsteps of his predecessors and access the cave system to allow Belize to realize the potentials of this natural beauty so when his mentor, Bert, turned up on Caye Caulker he seized the opportunity.

So to date, Chip, Bill and Marty O’Farell from San Pedro (all qualified and heavily experienced Cave Divers) have been re-tracing steps. Chip has been given approvals and in particular the Permit by the Department of Archeology and the Environment the for surveying, mapping and scientific research in the caves of Belize. Together they have been making accurate surveys through computer technology and thus far verifying and giving greater accuracy to the original data.

In the years and months to come the cave will attract the elite in the dive world to come and see for themselves this natural treasure of Belize (and indeed Caye Caulker!!). From a commercial perspective, Chip together with the Village Council Chairman Alberto Villenueva, has pushed for the area between and including Tarpon View and the caves as a mini reserve – co-managed by the Village Council and the Dept of Archaeology. Their aim is that a significant proportion of the profit of the reserve lies firmly in the hands of Caye Caulker and not, like the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve or even the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, monies are used elsewhere by the Government!! This means that the money goes back into the community that it serves ie Caye Caulker!!

Chip is anxious that Belizeans get involved in the cave but stresses the dangers for those diving the cave. All divers must go through a 15 day course to learn the specifics and skills of Cave Diving before accessing the cave. Safety concerns are essential for those without the capacity to use the specialized equipment and techniques. Experienced divers are the most frequent divers to lose their life in cave diving – this was illustrated by 2 lives being lost in this same cave back in 80′s – this is a situation which Chip very much wishes to avoid!!

For this reason the Belize Cave Diving Society has been established to promote safe and responsible cave diving in Belize. Rules for guiding will be based on established methods used worldwide and a Cave Management Protocol created for all cave divers. For more information please look on Facebook for updates on information as and when they have it!

This news of our hidden gem underneath Caye Caulker is indeed welcome news to all that care for her and indeed Belize – that which we know already and the possibilities are enormous and truthfully beyond what we can imagine at this point. It is causing a great deal of excitement for those connected with it and we applaud all those who have actively taken their part in making this dream become a reality!!

Raggamuffin Tours


#472283 - 09/11/13 05:44 AM Re: VIDEO: Giant Cave Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline


Swim Thru Giant Cave, Caye Caulker, Belize.

Some of you may be spooked by the clouds of hydrogen sulphide, low visibility and general darkness of this video clip. But there is little to compare to the euphoria of floating through a cavern full of stalagmites, stalactites and huge rock formations the size of buildings, knowing that you have the training, dive experience, equipment, and partners to feel totally confident that you will see sunlight again.

Exploration must be a primal drive in mankind, the need to discover part of our human DNA, the drive to feel new experiences, to chase an adrenaline rush, characteristics that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Why else would any sane person strap on 3 steel canisters pressurized to 3300 psi of 32% oxygen and 68% nitrogen, dive 130 feet to enter an environment without light or access to the surface, carry multiple regulators, multiple lights, multiple everything in the hope of finding ... what?

Why cave dive? I guess that question belongs side "Why climb Everest?", "Why cross Baffin Island?", "Why sail across the Atlantic?", "Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?". Because We can. Because it's there. Because it is a small part of being - and feeling - human ... Happy 10th Belize.


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