Daniel Mitchell, Australia
IANTD Advanced Nitrox Diver and CDAA Cave Diver
800+ logged dives prior to IANTD Full Cave Certification April 2015
April 2014 : 17 days of guided cave dives in back-mount, several dives with stage tanks also.
April 2015 : 17 days of instruction TDI Full Cave + Sidemount Cave + Stage Cave Diver.
In April 2014 myself and my buddy Josh Shipp enjoyed 3 weeks guided cave diving with Alain, and saw some of Mexico's most beautiful cave systems, and learned a great deal along the way. At that stage, as reasonably experienced tech and wreck divers, but relatively novice cave divers, we chose to revisit Mexico in April 2015 for further instruction with Alain.
We did our research and chose Alain over many other instructors, for good reason. He is extremely methodical and systematic, and is a proven cave diver - both as an explorer and instructor.
Alain was very helpful to assist pre-trip with advice on travel, accommodation and dive equipment. Alain went to the trouble to organize some excellent accommodation for us, and provided an excellent pick up and drop off service to make logistics easy.
Alain fitted and adjusted our Razor harnesses, saving us many hours of fine adjustments. On both trips, Alain was very helpful in tweaking all our equipment for safety and streamline, and ease of use.
On the dive sites, Alain provided very thorough dive briefs. His intimate knowledge of each dive site (there are so many) gave us the information to plan our own dives very well and made each dive a great success, with many challenges along the way. During each dive, whether site seeing or dive training, Alain was a powerful observer and a great communicator. He gave us plenty of space on each dive, but was always there for assistance is needed, and to light up points of interest along the way.
The training for IANTD Full Cave and TDI Cave Sidemount and Stage Sidemount was very enjoyable, but certainly was not easily achieved - he made us earn each certification! When you complete training with Alain, he works very hard on ensuring the fundamentals of buoyancy, trim and orientation are well understood and practiced, before proceeding further to more advanced skills. In learning the more advanced skills, he breaks each skill down into small pieces, and ensures you know and understand each small step and then how they fit together. In his famous phrase: slow is smooth, smooth is fast, Alain has tought us to slow right down, make careful and decisive movements, and ensure that each step is done correctly and precisely before moving onto the next .
Alain's meticulous attention to detail and observation skills certainly shine through at each dive de-brief. The de-briefings were where we learned the most. Understanding the strengths and shortcomings of every aspect of each dive has taught us so much - we learn by doing!
Overall, Alain is a wonderful instructor: he is so deeply passionate about cave diving and wants his students to achieve their absolute best. He ensures not only that you can perform the required skills, but that you have a strong understanding of what you're doing, in every aspect of your equipment, your diving skills and cave diver training. I strongly recommend Alain to all Cave Divers that want to excel in Cave Diving.”