Dive Gear

From December 2013

Various gear upgrades took place over 2013. This is the current setup.

Regulator: Mares Prestige 12 (MR12T first stage with Prestige 12 second stage) with Mares Octopus Rebel alternate second stage This is a fine regulator, though it seems to cost a lot to service Mares regs. It will probably be the next component to be upgraded.
SPG: Cressi mini SPG Does the job.
BCD: Halcyon Infinity This is a beautiful BC that makes it much easier to achieve good trim in the water. With my very buoyant exposure suit, I usually use 6 lb of lead weight in the quick-dump weight pockets (3 lb in each), along with a 6-lb steel backplate and a 6-lb lead weight integrated into the single tank adaptor. Contrary to what some people think, this is equivalent to about 16-17 lb of lead, since the steel backplate is not as dense as lead (~8 g/cm^3 vs. ~11 g/cm^3; it’s your average density that counts, not your weight). This is probably slightly too much with a 12-litre steel cylinder, and slightly too little with an aluminium cylinder.
Computer: Suunto Mosquito This is a fine computer, but I’d rather one with a bigger screen and larger digits underwater.
Mask: Hollis M-1 Very nice, low volume, frameless, single-lens mask.
Wetsuit: Seatec Viper Semi-dry I got this from Sydney-based Seatec. It’s made-to-measure, so it fits perfectly. It has a roll-neck and a thigh-pocket. I find it pretty much perfect for Sydney diving, though it is quite a buoyant suit and it takes a relatively long time to dry.
Fins: Scubapro Jetfins with Halcyon spring straps. Great control and power when you need it.
Boots: Typhoon Surfmaster with zip. After 139 dives, they show pretty much no signs of wear at all.
Gloves: Cressi 3~mm gloves. Appropriate for Sydney conditions.
Torch: Barbolight U04 Fine little torch. Barbolight were a spanish company that have since gone out of business.

Until December 2013

Regulator: Mares Prestige 12 (MR12T first stage with Prestige 12 second stage). Bought this one mainly because it was on sale at scubastore.com. Pretty happy with it so far. The first stage would be better if the low-pressure ports were more suitably positioned to avoid straining the hoses. The best arrangement that I’ve found still involves the BCD hose sticking almost straight up so there’s quite a bend in it when it is attached to the BCD. I think the newer version of this reg has more sensibly positioned ports on the first stage. I’ve been very happy with the second stage. If I was buying again, I probably would have looked into getting a nitrox-capable one, but maybe that would have been out of my price range anyway.
Alternate second stage: Mares Octopus Rebel Haven’t really used it for more than a test. No free-flow problems or anything like that.
SPG: Cressi mini SPG Before I got to use this I was worried that it rattled quite a lot out of the water- as if something inside was moving. Other SPGs do this too, I think, but not as much as this one. Anyway it has performed fine while diving.
BCD: Apollo Ocean Design Immersion (large). I was advised when buying diving gear, that the only thing not to try to save money on, is the regulator, since it is fairly critical, and also that BCDs are more or less all the same unless you’re willing to spend quite a lot. So, when I saw this one for a good price from diveimports, I snapped it up. I had to choose between medium and large. I chose large. It’s ok with the straps pulled to their shortest lengths, but medium might have been better. The BCD is a weight-integrated one, but I have not used this feature. Since buying it, I’ve added a brass clip for the SPG hose and a fluorescent rubber attachment to hold the AAS.
Computer: Suunto Mosquito It’s the only computer I’ve owned and it has been great. Having said that, I don’t much experience with any other computer to compare it to. I like that the battery is user replaceable and that Sunnto don’t charge too much for the new battery. Also, that it’s small enough to wear as a watch, so I can just leave it on the whole time when I go on a trip and it’ll take plane flights into account without me having to think about it.
Mask: Sporasub Sniper We DUSAC ocean diver students were told to get a mask that (i) fits well enough to stick to your face just using suction and no strap, (ii) has tempered glass (I think all scuba ones do), and (iii) has a clear rubber surround (as opposed to opaque) to give some hint of peripheral vision. Seems to have been fine advice.
Wetsuit: Neptune 5mm 2-piece, size 5. I got a great deal on the wetsuit, the weightbelt and an extra pair of fins on ebay- AU $60 for the lot!
Fins: Tusa Xpert zoom. Got talked by a salesman into buying these about 4 years ago, for more money than they’re worth. They’re supposed to be cool because they are of the ‘split fin’ variety and it appealed to my inner Bond (that day I also bought a ridiculous-but-cool knife that I’ve only been slightly embarrassed about since). They’re grand though- no problems.
Boots: Typhoon Surfmaster with zip. No complaints. Very good actually- I’ve had them since 2003 and after 39 dives, they show pretty much no signs of wear at all.
Gloves: Scuba Pro Hyperflex. These are a bit thick for the warmer climes that I dive in these days, but they do the job.
Weightbelt: Oceanic Comfo. I don’t think I would have ever bought anything but the most basic of weight belts if this one was not part of a package with the wetsuit from a private seller on ebay. I do like it though.
Torch: Technisub Lumen 6 I lost this on Dive #39. It was ok for a basic, cheap torch. The main thing I didn’t like about was that a refill of 6 C-size batteries cost about as much as the torch itself, and if you don’t do night dives very often, you’ve to buy a new set of batteries every time. Next time it’ll be one that takes AA batteries (I have a good few rechargeable AAs) or one with its own rechargeable battery.
Bag: Cressi Gorilla Big. simple. Not that nice to carry by hand. But good and water proof so wet gear can safely go in the car.

Leave a Reply