Do you have deep dark thoughts? Do you wish to explore greater depths, or underground caverns and caves? I offer technical and cavern/cave training at all levels, including instructor.
Why should you take a course with me?
My philosophy on technical training is simple: I do not sell c-cards and I am not here to sell you the next course. But here’s the deal, I want you to be the best diver that you can be and my promise to you is that I am committed to providing you with the most comprehensive and complete course that I can possibly teach, with thorough feedback throughout to allow you to improve and achieve your goals. My courses run longer, and my students spend more time in the water, but this provides for a better learning experience.
This means that I provide training for people that are looking for advanced knowledge and skills, but you will do the work necessary to earn certification.
It’s the difference between a nice meal at a fancy restaurant versus Taco Bell (no offense to Taco Bell fans).
My training philosophy
I believe firmly in the principle of guided self-discovery.
Guided self-discovery means that I will not haze you, I will not shout at you, and I will not throw in unnecessary drills, but I will let you make your own mistakes and offer constructive feedback to help you avoid those mistakes in the future.
At the end of the day, I want you to understand the “why’s” so that you will be a thinking diver capable of solving real world problems on your own.
I can be reached by phone at 352.870.5367 or email at ken at sallot dot org.
I have put together a document outlining the expectations I have of all of my students, regardless of the course. You may view it here.
I offer the following Cave courses through NAUI, NSS-CDS, IANTD, and TDI:
|Course||Duration / Dives||Fee||Pre-req|
|Cave 1||5 days / 10 dives||$1000||AOW, 25 dives, Nitrox and either Sidemount or Intro to Tech|
|Cave 2 (Full Cave + Stage Diver)||5 days / 11 dives||$1000||Cave 1 + 25 cave dives|
|CCR Cave||8 days / 600 minutes||$2000||CCR “Mod 1/Deco” with 35 hours|
|CCR Cave Crossover||4 days / 300 minutes||$1000||OC Full Cave + “Mod 1/Deco” with 35 hours|
|Advanced Cave:Stage Diving||2 days / 3 dives||$400||Full Cave (note Cave 2 provides stage)|
|Advanced Cave:DPV||3 days / 4 dives||$600||Cave 2 + 50 cave dives or Full Cave + Stage + 50 cave dives|
I also offer the following Technical courses through NAUI, IANTD and TDI:
|Intro to Tech (“Doubles Primer”)||3 days / 4 dives||$600||AOW + 25 dives|
|Sidemount||3 days / 4 dives||$600||AOW + 25 dives|
|Technical Decompression Diver (AKA Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures) + Helitrox||5 days / 7 dives||$1000||Intro to Tech or Cave 1|
|Normoxic Trimix (OC)||4 days / 6 dives||$1000||AN/DP + 15 decompression dives|
|Hypoxic Trimix (OC)||5 days / 5 dives||$1250||Normoxic Trimix + 15 Normoxic Dives|
|Fathom or SF2 “Mod 1” (140′, limited deco)||6 days / 600 minutes||$2000||AN/DP|
|CCR Crossover (Fathom or SF2)||3 days / 300 minutes||$1000||Mod 1 on another unit plus recent experience|
|CCR Normoxic Trimix aka “MOD2” (SF2/Fathom)||5 days / 8 dives (360 minutes)||$1500||MOD 1 + 50 hours|
|CCR Full Trimix aka “MOD3” (SF2/Fathom)||6 days / 7 dives (420 minutes)||$1800||MOD 2 + 100 hours|
Course fees are per person and are based on two divers in the course. Fees are based on completing the course in the minimum number of days. Signing up for a course does not guarantee certification within the minimum number of days and unfortunately, some divers may need an extra day or two to complete a course; those extra days are billed at my daily rate. In some cases you may be asked to come back after a period of self-study/self-practice to complete a course, but we will work out a self-study routine for you to help you achieve success.
Details: I hate having to say this, but a 50% deposit is due upon scheduling a course with full payment due by the beginning of the course. The deposit is refundable up to 30 days prior to the start of the course. Fees are for instruction only, and do not include certification processing fees (if earned), your fills, your entrance fees, or your books. Trimix courses will have an additional charge for helium.
Course Description: Cavern
Historically, Cavern was the first step in learning to cave dive and many people took the course in doubles or side-mount. Effective November, 2018, I will only teach Cavern as a recreational safety course for single tank divers and people that wish to take Cavern in doubles or side-mount will instead need to sign up for Cave 1.
Cavern is not a cave diving course, but it is a very challenging recreational course that takes the open water diver and introduces them to the concepts and techniques used in overhead diving. The skills we will focus on include buoyancy control and fin techniques in order to not disturb silt, team concepts and team awareness, working with a reel, and stress management.
This course can only be taken in recreational single tank configuration, with minor adjustments (7′ hose, backup lights, etc).
The course is typically taught over 2.5 days, with the first afternoon being lecture and an equipment workshop. On day two we typically spend a full day at Ginnie Springs, learning how to run a reel on land before going into the water for at least three or four dives. On the final day we normally will go to Peacock Springs for two additional cavern dives before reviewing the final.
Please note, this course does not count towards Cave 1.
Course fee is $500.
Course Description: Cave 1
Cave 1 is the most intense course that I teach because it takes the open water diver with some technical diving background and introduces them to the concepts and techniques used in cave diving. The skills we will focus on include introduction to the cave environment, buoyancy control and fin techniques in order to not disturb silt, team concepts and team awareness, working with a reel, and stress management. This course must be taken in either side-mount or doubles, single tank diving is not allowed in Cave 1.
The course is typically taught over five days, with the first day being lecture, land drills and an equipment workshop. On day two we typically spend a full day at Ginnie Springs, learning how to run a reel on land before going into the water for at least three dives. We will then move on to other sites for the remainder of the course.
Course fee is $1000.
Course Description: Technical Decompression Diver (AKA AN/DP + Helitrox)
Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures (with optional Helitrox) is a course that exposes divers to decompression methods and techniques. Graduates of this course are allowed to use oxygen rich mixtures up to 100% in order to conduct decompression dives and helium mixtures to off-set narcosis. This course is taught completely in open-water locations, typically Blue Grotto, Troy Springs, and Hudson Grotto, with a final dive day in the ocean.
During the course you will work with decompression cylinders and stage bottles, lift bags and/or surface marker buoys, and other equipment. The typical schedule includes one full day of lecture followed by three full days of diving. The last day of diving will include two decompression dives at depths of approximately 130′.
Please note: Because of the risk of injury from either breathing oxygen rich gases deeper than their MOD, or decompression illness due to violating a physiological ceiling, I place heavy emphasis on proper buoyancy control and trim in this course. Because at least one of our decompression dives will be while simulating a “blue water” environment without any natural references, if you are unable to demonstrate proper buoyancy control by the third day, you will not be allowed to participate in the decompression dives.
Because I believe firmly in diver safety, I am now including CPR, 1st Aid, AED and Oxygen provider training and certification as part of the Technical Decompression Diver program for those that lack the training.
Pre-reqs to enroll in this course are either Intro to Cave OR Intro to Tech and a phone consultation.
Course fee is $1000.
About my diving and teaching background
My first decompression dive was when I was 13 back in 1982 off the coast of Roatan Honduras. I was an idiot on that dive and did pretty much everything wrong. My first cave dive was in 1994, and once again, I did a lot of things wrong, but I was smart enough to get some training. I completed “full cave” in February 1995 with a person that was one of the most respected cave instructors in the area. My first trimix dive was also in 1995. Since the mid-90s I have been involved with exploration projects off and on, and have done several “pinnacle” dives in support of research and exploration.
I have been a scuba instructor since 1995, first with the YMCA then with NAUI, TDI, IANTD and the NSS-CDS. I taught scuba at the University of Florida for close to ten years before heading out on my own. My time at the University of Florida reinforced to me that more complete and thorough courses produce safer divers. I am also an instructor trainer and can help instructors become technical/cave instructors.
When I am not teaching, you will usually find me out diving for fun, or helping a research/exploration group out. My idea of fun includes scootering a mile or two back in Manatee, going for a four to six hour dive at Eagles Nest, guiding a group of former students at Jug Hole Cavern, or going to the Cayman Islands for some wall diving.
Upcoming Course Schedule
Interested in taking a class, but don’t see it scheduled? Contact me to see if we can schedule one together. I can be reached by phone at 352.870.5367 or email at ken at sallot dot org.