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Diving

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Dive Gear - ’aint it brilliant!

Go on touch me...

Gear; You either rent it (the sensible option for those who dive on holiday only, but don’t look at me for sense, I like buying stuff) or buy it. There are so many clever technical looking things (inevitably in technical black or chrome it seems) you can get badly into debt buying for your overly expensive hobby.

This page lists my ever growing list of dive related stuff, and my thoughts on it, both good and bad. It’s a shame that most dive shops don’t come with pools where you could try out all this stuff before spending your wages on it! Then again perhaps that is a very stupid idea, I really would put my credit cards into melt-down if I got to use the shiny things in the shop, that would make them far to hard to resist :-)


Bag

Beaver Sports Logo

Beaver mesh bag Beaver bag, simple mesh to drain and dry all your diving crud.

Norther Diver divepack luggage Oh and as a dive show impulse buy I bought a big hard-as-nails custom designed dive luggage from Northern Diver’s stand. This case has many pockets and handles (although one keeps coming off when over enthusiastic porters try and jerk lift a bag with 30Kg of stuff in it by a single plastic handle - I may just leave it off) wheels and a pull out handle, it’s hard on 5 of the 6 sides and fits all my luggage and dive stuff with ease. Downside? Occasionally they make me check it in at the oversize luggage queue. Neat buy.


BCD

Suunto Logo

Suunto Equilite 1000 BCD I own a Suunto Equilite 1000 BCD, it’s my latest new diving toy.

It fitted excellently, had shed loads of lift, more than enough d-rings to clip your crap to, and the auto-inflator was tuned well for buoyancy control (for me at least).

What pissed me off was that on this jacket’s second dive, at the end of my descent, (well on the way down) the whole deflator button and all the associated plumbing ejected itself from the power inflator when I attempted to put a little air in.

On a good note the dive shop where I purchased the BCD have been very helpful in happily arranging for me to come and get a replacement and handle the return to Suunto. well done Above and Below :-)

Well time has passed and the jacket (complete with totally new inflator unit) has worked flawlessly since, so I have to chalk up the initial failure to bad luck and possibly damage in transit.

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Booties

generic neoprene booties image I have a non descript, un-branded 3mm neoprene booties with side zip and waffle type rubberised soles and heels. Oddly I had to buy these two shoe sizes smaller than normal (for shoes) to get a pair that felt correct. I wonder if thats a product of the brand or booties in general. I Guess I’ll find out when these ones break and I replace them.

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Computer

Uwatec

Aladin Pro Uwatec Aladin Pro, Audio alarms, full deco information and a download option. Uwatec would have you buy their memo-mouse at great expense but you can build your own interface very simply (if you can solder) for a couple of quid.

Have a look in my on-line dive log for examples of the dive profiles downloaded from my Aladin.

I palmed the old Aladin of on Suzie and got my self a shiny new blue one that does Nitrox but is otherwise more or less identical in function. Good additions to the old design being a built in scratch cover, and built in back light. Nice.

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Console

Apeks Logo

3 guage console A Three gauge console from Apeks, SPG, Depth and Compass. With contents, depth gauges and an oil filled lateral view compass with luminous face and directional bezel. Housed in strong rubber casing. Swivel HP hose.

mini guage Of course the down side of having such a solid and handy console it it weighs a lot (well about 1.5 to 2 Kg, but that is a hell of a lot when trying to pack your clothes AND your dive kit into a measly 20Kg airline baggage allowance). So I have got myself a nice tiny (and light) miniature contents gauge and put that on for holidays, that way I can bring some clothes with me when I go abroad!

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Exposure Suit

Scobapro

Scobapro S-TEK full body semi dry 3mm wetsuit Scubapro 3mm neoprene full body back zipped. Picture the left hand suit with someone short and much wider in it and that’s my wetsuit.

Apparently this is SCUBAPRO’s premiere wetsuit line which incorporates technical water entry restriction features that combine to provide superior warmth and flexibility under almost any conditions. It also has a layer of Titanium Metalite insulation to reflect body heat back to the diver. A double skin seal flap behind the back zipper minimizes water intrusion.

My 3mm full body S-TEK has a quoted TPF of 26, so using the (horribly imperial) formula of coldest temperature = 98 - "total TPF" This suit is supposedly hunky dory at temperatures down to 70F. In sensible units that’s 21C. Now I’ve used this suit in 22.7C (Sharm, Red Sea December) and that’s a little optimistic on it’s own. Add a hood and gloves and you will be just fine.

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Fins

Mares

my Mares Volo fins Volo fins, these are either the absolute "Mutts nuts" or total pants depending on your approach to these things. I (shock horror) fall into the mutts nuts camp. These fins (so say Mares) provide 30% more thrust than blades of the same size without the strange hinge bits. They are a huge improvement over my old full foot (and much shorter) Seemann Sub fins. But then they did cost about 5 times more!

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Gloves

generic gloves image

I have a set of Oceanic 3mm neoprene and Kevlar gloves (a free gift for subscribing to Diver magazine).

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Hood

Beaver Sports Logo

hood, mines more black less yellow! I have a Beaver 3mm hood which is just fine for the Red Sea during the winter. Mind you it kept filling with air, so I had to stab it repeatedly at the crown so it would not happen again (and no I wasn’t wearing it at the time!)

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Knife

Beaver Sports Logo

Beaver discovery knife Beaver discovery, SS, plain, serrated edges, line cutter and a screwdriver tip. I have managed to loose one of these during a dive, despite it being impossible to remove when on the surface without prodding the release button on the holder. No matter how much silicone grease I put on it, it always gets rust spots after dives, but its small, sharp and cheap.

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Lights

Underwater Kinetics Logo

UK Lights An Underwater Kinetics C4 light. Pistol grip, not too big, but not too small, just right to put some colour back into your fish!

Sadly the torch flooded on my last Dahab night dive, and the batter acid thus released did a very thorough job of dissolving the reflector mirror coating. so that went in the bin. I might just go for one of those new fangled high intensity LED torches next time...

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Mask

Procean

Mask Procean PRO Series 1 in fluorescent green. Very old hat now, the web site www.procean.nl only contains mask references for the PRO X series!. Still it fits, and will do me well until it perishes

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Regulators

Mares

Abyss and MR22 (Year 2000 model) WOB diagram Nikos octopus I own a very lovely Mares MR22 with Abyss 2nd stage (The year 2000 model, 300 bar titanium DIN). This regulator scored remarkably well in DIVER magazine’s comparative regulator tests. It’s a balanced diaphragm first stage with DFC, and all metal second stage with VAD and a super flow 1/2" hose.

My octopus is a Mares Nikos, a techno-polymer second stage with clever venturi self-tuning thingy (apparently!)

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Snorkel

generic snorkel image

AQA - or that’s what the logo looks like!. A cheap valve free fluorescent green thing with a nice soft silicone mouthpiece. It works and has no clever bits to break, what more could you want from a snorkel?

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Tank

Well I now have a tank, 15L of 200 bar steel, that’s a few years out of hydro, with an old J type valve, frankly I am unsure if I should bother getting it up to scratch. A new tank with DIN that at 12L and 232 or 300 bar can be purchased for about £100, and I think a new valve and hydro is going to cost about £60.

Having used both aluminium and steel tanks I personally prefer the steel tanks, you need less weight on your belt, and they don’t go positively buoyant when you’re low on air. Besides those 11L Aluminium ones are so long they bang on your arse when diving!

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Weights

6Kg of lead with a steel 12L, 8Kg with an 11Kg Aluminium 10L. I have a bunch of lead at home, what else can you say about lead, its hardly inspiring!

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All this information about diving is NOT a substitute for proper training.
Do not use this web site’s information as a substitute for training, you will get yourself, or others killed or injured.
If you want to learn to dive do so via a recognised agency and a qualified instructor.