In this video CAVES technical instructor Francesco Sauro explains the importance of an appropriate training for safe and efficient progression through caves, as orientation and exploration techniques, as well as for using of cave tools and ropes through specific principles and safety procedures.
CAVES stands for Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills. The two-week course prepares astronauts to work safely and effectively in multicultural teams in an environment where safety is critical – in caves.
Cave exploration requires long training and years of experience. However, caving techniques are founded on simple procedures and restricted rules that can be applied in every situation. During CAVES, the cavenauts have a limited amount of time, only five days, to learn how to read the cave environment and how to efficiently and safely move around using specific tools. This process of learning requires facing a series of obstacles and applying techniques explained in the classroom with practical examples.
Cavenauts experience water progression in the Sa Oche cave, while the Tiscali cave offers their first tight squeeze and finding their way back to the entrance. A maze-like cave such as Sos Jocos is used to learn the orientation and exploration principle. One day of training on the cliffs of the Corrojos Canyon is enough to efficiently learn the safety rules and techniques of rope climbing and descending.
Through this intensive training in the first week of the course, the astronauts are ready to face the six day mission in Sa Grutta. All this learning is at the basis the most exciting part of the course: the discovery and exploration of the underground world.