My Dive Gear

I have attempted to list the majority of my dive gear.  As you can see in the picture below, out laundry looks like a dive shop.

About Me
My Dive Gear
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Cocos Island
Christmas Island
Great Barrier Reef
Shellharbour NSW
Port Kembla
Jervis Bay
South West Rocks March 2007
Ningaloo May 2008
Mike Ball - Coral Sea
Lord Howe Island 2012
...what's come before
Yellowrock Drift 05-10-13
The Saga of our Plantation Shutters
Spoilsport Townsville May 2014


BCD - My first was a Seaquest Balance rear inflation - fitted to the BCD I have a small dive knife, a horn on my low pressure inflator hose, a whistle, and a safety sausage I normally carry a 2lb weight in each of the top pockets.  This BCD has the Surelock weight pockets.  I have 5lb of weight in each of the pockets for a total of 14lb.  This is with my Seatec Predator Pro semi dry suit and 12.2L steel tank.   With an alloy tank I will add a further 4lb, and with my dry suit a further 6lb.

I also own a Seaquest Pro QD Red line which I bought on e-bay in October 2007 for $465.  It is practically brand new. and serviced in Feb 07.  I have dive it twice, just to get the feel for it.  It is a jacket style and I am more used to the rear inflation.  It seems to respond more slowly to inflation or deflation than the rear inflation ones.  Never the less it is very comfortable and a joy to be in.  My partner Jenny has been using this one.

I also bought a Seaquest Black Diamond in November 2007.  It is an older style with the velcro weight pockets.  It is rear inflation, 6 D-rings, a number of other rings and attachments and 3 useful pockets.  It is able to take twins and has huge lift capacity.  I have been diving this one a bit and it is great to use, although there is a lot of material in it and I think it's not that sreamlined.

All 3 Seaquest BCDs have common parts as far as the dump valves and the inflator hose is concerned.  All are fitted with a whistle.  The Balance & Pro QD+ use the same weight pockets, which I also have a spare.

In January 2009 I took the plunge (pun intended) and bought some new technical oriented gear.  I bought a Halcyon aluminium backplate and 40lb lift wings (one single and one double) and a single tank carrier.  With trim pockets, knife and weight pockets it is a great set up.  I chose the aluminium backplate as it is lighter and I don't need a lot of extra ballast.  When set up on a single I need under 8lb with my 7mm/5mm SEATEC semi dry and Sharkskin undergarment.  When dismantled this set up takes up a fraction of the room of a normal BCD., so will be great for travelling.  In March 2009 I removed the trim pockets, finding that the better balance of the Halcyon does not need me to have any high trim weights.  When diving in the tropics in my full arm and leg sharkskin and a 95cu ft alloy tanks I need no extra weight at all.

Wetsuits- My first wet suit was an Aqualung Comfort Balance 5.5 - 5mm one piece rear zip.  I added a fly zip and pockets in November 2005.  This was my first wetsuit and by mid 2006 it was getting the worse for wear.  Also I have lost some bioprene (body weight) and it is now thin and baggy (and leaks like a sieve).

I also have a TripleX shorty  for tropical diving and a triple X vest, and several different hoods.

My most recent purchase was a Seatec Predator Pro Semi-dry, purchased in November 2006.  I had the top half custom fitted.  It has 7mm neoprene around the trunk and 5mm arms and legs.  It got a real test in December 2006 on the Tuggerah when the water hit 14 degrees -and I wasn't cold.  In July 2010 I took it back to Seatec to have the many holes fixed, new kneepads and new neck seal. 

I have a sharkskin undergarment which I wear under the wetsuit in cooler water.  It's also good for tropical diving.

Gloves & Boots - Initially I used Aquanaut 2mm gloves which are light and easy to put on and off and don't restrict movement with Kevlar.    I have used the Mares gloves which are very light and comfortable but I keep putting holes in the left middle finger.  I think this is from hanging onto rocks to steady myself for photos. Boots are Aqualung.  They have last nearly 4 years and are ready for replacement.  I had a pair of Beuchamp boots which lasted a year before the inner sole got a hole in it. In January 2009 I bought a pair of Cressi boots.  I now use Cressi gloves which I've found very good.

Regs - My main regs have been Apeks ATX200, which I bought from Plunge diving.  They are brilliant down to 62m which is the deepest that I have been, even when working hard and breathing hard.  They are of course DIN.  These are now my second set when on twins but can still be fully configured for recreational diving.  I use these with an occy when diving on a single. They are also fitted with a Suunto high pressure transmitter.

My long hose regs are Apeks XTX200s. I bought an occy with them so that I can use them for recreational diving (down to 30m or so).     I have the yoke conversion for these when necessary on trips away when I'm using hire tanks.  I use a 6' hose, I find the 7' hose is just too long. 

I've been experimenting on different twin/single set ups to determine the best/simplest way to change regs over from twins to singles.  Over time I now have my ATX set (which are my left post on twins) with a pressure transmitter, low pressure inflator and SPG and I simply have to add the occy to use with singles.

My first regs were Aqualung Titan LX with occy. They are now DIN fitting. I have a light weight adapter that converts the regs to yoke in seconds.     I've found these regs breathe really well under all conditions.  A friend of mine has the same regs and used them on the President Coolidge at 60 m with no problems at all.  They still breathed easily.  I've used these at 50m and they breathe OK at that depth. Jenny now uses these, and has dived with them also on the Coolidge to 60m.

I also have a Cressi AC2 Ellipse which I used to use on my pony and stage bottles.  These are also DIN and are oxygen cleaned. 

I've bought another Apeks XTX200 which I now use on my stage cylinder.  This set has the 2nd stage reversed so the hose comes out the left side of the second stage for a stage on the left hand side.

Cylinders - I have five Faber 12.2 litre (100 cu ft) steel cylinders with handles, mesh and valve caps.  They all have DIN K valves.  All have been oxygen cleaned as we dive on Nitrox quite often.  My partner Jenny also dives on these. As of April 2009, 2 of these have been twinned up with Halcyon header and bands.  They are numbered R1 to R4 and J1 for identification when filling.  In 2011 I bought a pair of Faber 10.5L cylinders which I now have twinned (less weight for my aging back).  I've also got an old alloy 95cu ft cylinder which I use for cleaning my gear.

I also have a 2.7L Sherwood pony bottle that is neutrally buoyant when empty and 1.3lb negative when full.  I used to carry it strapped on the right hand side of my cylinder.  It  clipped upright on a neck ring on my Faber cylinder and strapped to the main cylinder.   It sits there quite nicely.  I carry 2lb in the top left pocket of my BCD to offset it's mass. I use a simple clip lock strap to hold it secure against my main tank.  When I use it, I clip my normal occy under the normal clip on my right shoulder D ring.  This set up in now obsolete as I can sling the pony and or stage tank from my Halcyon backplate.

In March 2009 I bought a second hand Luxfer stage tank with a new DIN K valve.  It is 40cu ft and is oxygen cleaned.  It will be slung in the Halcyon method, top clipped to the left shoulder D ring and the bottom to the left waist D ring.  I can now sling my pony the same way if I choose to take it along.  This stage is typically 50% for accelerated decompression.  In 2011 I bought a second stage tank, almost brand new, also slung.

Computer - For quite a while I have been using a  Suunto Vytec DS wrist mount, with transmitter. I download my dives and maintain dive details on Suunto's dive manager database..  I back this up to another hard drive and a USB key.  I keep the USB key with my dive log. This stuff is irreplaceable so I make sure that I have it covered.  I also keep a copy at work.  I also have a Suunto Vyper wrist mounted.  The Vytec is now installed in the technical diver's preference using elastic cords.  This is certainly easier to put on.  In May 2011 I purchased a SUUNTO Helo2 and transmitter.  This computer has all the Vytec features but is also suitable for Tri-Mix diving.  A neat innovation over the VYTEC is that it records cylinder pressure real time and this is downloaded to SDM.  This is now my primary dive computer.

Compass - Suunto SK7 wrist mounted.  I mount the compass on my right arm and the computer above it.  I also have an arm slate above that.  All fit comfortably on my forearm. I have changed over to the technical set up which uses elastic strap as opposed to the watch type band.

Fins - Atomic Split Fins. I find these really good to dive with, and require little effort.  They are quite long though and heavy.  I have the spring straps which I find fantastic.  Really easy to put on and take off - no adjustment required.  In 2011 the buckles started to fail and I attempted to put a stainless screw through the post to make it stronger.  This has been partly successful but I bought a pair of Hollis jet fins which are better suited to technical diving.

Drysuit - DUI FLX 50/50.  The bottom half is crushed neoprene and the top half is trilaminate.  The 50/50 isn't too heavy and it only requires another 4-6lb compared to my wet suit.  I have a hood that goes with it.  I didn't use it in 2007.  I prefer the freedom of a semi dry.  In 2008 and 2009 I used it throughout winter and have fitted a waterproof fly zip.  In May 2010 I replaced the latex seals with neoprene ones which seal just as well, are as comfortable and much more durable.  In May 2011 I replaced the main zip as it was leaking slightly.  These are expensive to replace. I don't really like diving in it - it is like a bag - air within the suit moves around changing your buoyancy characteristics.

Mask & Snorkel - My original mask was a Technisub Look mask and Tuza snorkel.  These were what I bought when I learnt to dive in January 2004. I then had Look mask that has prescription lens in thanks to OzBob.  I broke the snorkel at Exmouth in 2007 so have a new one now.  I lost my original mask late in 2009 and in March 2010 bought a new Atomics ARC mask.  This is amazing - such great clarity with great field of vision.  This is quite expensive but well worth it if you want the best visual experience when you dive.

Dive Lights - I had a number lights.  Underwater Kinetics SL4 and C8 (this one died when the handle cracked trying to open it) and an Aquasea dive light with 35W halogen bulb and 4.5Ah battery pack.  I rhad a LED torch which has a burn time of 6hrs on 4 AAA batteries.  The light is very white and really good underwater.  I lost this third one at Christmas Island.  I also have a Pelican   and a Halcyon scout LED.  I carry the Halcyon scout on my backplate as a back up and attach the dive light canister to the waist strap of my backplate.  I have modified my camera tray and now have a bracket for my main dive light on LOC-LINE on the camera tray.  It is great for video and can give better lighting than strobes under some conditions.  I have changed the head on my canister light in early 2012. Wayne has modified an LED torch so that it is powered by my canister.  The LED is amazingly bright.

   Photography gear - Up to April 2009 I had been using  a Canon A95, 5 megapixel camera in a Canon WP-DC50 housing.  Attached to that is an INON D2000 strobe on a long  bubble arm.  For wide shots I use a sea&sea u/w wide conversion lens (16mm/f5.6).  I keep all this is a sea&sea case.  I used to use 2 wrist straps on the housing plus a clip for attachment to my BCD.  I attach the camera to the BCD on the boat, hold it as I enter the water.  Once settled in the water, I put the wrist straps on, then unclip the camera from the BCD.  This camera is still working and Jenny uses it.

I bought the INON in July 2006 and it is an excellent strobe. I have changed to the INON wide angle and macro lens which attach easily to the camera housing.

In April 2009 I purchased a second INON strobe, a new camera - Canon IXUS 980IS and housing.  I then gave my A95 in it's housing to Jenny to use.

I have purchased more LOC-LINE which is a ball and socket joint system that my strobe arms are made from.  I have now extended it from about 15 cm to 40cm.  The loc line system is very flexible as it can be bent at every joint. It also stiff enough to support the INON strobe out of the water.  I have a clip on the top of it that attaches to my camera tray for safe entry and exit.  I have made a tray from thick nylon.  This allows me to have the strobes mounted out wide , clips for both lenses and  a second strobe  on the right hand side.  I also have a clip attached to the tray that I use to secure the camera firmly to my BCD when entering and exiting. In April 2009 I bought more LOC-LINE and fitted it to the right had side of the tray for my second strobe. 

Twin strobes give so much more coverage, depth and lack of shadow and back scatter.  It is worth the expense.

In 2011 I bought on eBay a Canon G11 and Canon housing and 2 strobes, an Olympus and a Remora.  The Olympus strobe does not work with either of my Canon cameras.  I have put the G11 onto my tray with the 2 INON strobes and Jenny now uses the IXUS with the Remora.

Other odds & sods - 74m reel.  I have 2 smbs - a small Halcyon and a larger one.  Both have spools with > 40m of line on them.  The large Halcyon one as developed a leak in April 2011 where the dump valve is glued to the sausage.  I have not been able to repair this so have bought a much cheaper safety sausage.

Spares & tool kit -  I always have with me in the car or on the boat when diving.  In the kit are things like mask strap, fin strap, weight belt, mouthpiece, duct tape, zip ties, range of O rings, batteries, spanners, allen keys, and a variety of other odds and sods.  I also have in this kit my yoke adapter in case I need to use a yoke cylinder.

And a well equipped diver's first aid kit which is always in the car.

We also have an oxygen set in the boat in case there is  need.  This is kept in a water tight pelican case with emergency first aid equipment.  This is always in the boat, and checked regularly.

Boat - the new boat is a Barcrusher 530c.

It is a real beauty for diving.  It has a big open deck and walk through transom.  The half cabin is well forward and provides great shelter from sea and wind.  The gunwales are wide and easy to sit on.  She travels well in the water, cutting through rather than crashing down the waves.  At anchor she sits flat, with little roll except in big seas.



Deco bar - is a stainless steel bar with loops for ropes at each end and a loop for a cylinder in the middle.  It hangs at 5m off 2 10mm ropes attached to hooks on the stern of the boat.  If we hang a tank we use a 12.2L steel cylinder with 2 second stages.   It is easy to assemble in the boat and then drop over the side.  We charge the lines before putting it in the water, then turn the cylinder off to avoid risk of free flowing.  On very deep dives (>35m) we use a cross over from the front anchor to the deco bar.  In November 2007 Wayne made some mods to the deco bar.  He filled the bar with lead weights so now we don't have weights dangling.  We also now each have a metre length of elastic cord for attaching to the deco bar during deco stops.  The elastic takes up the jerking of the boat and makes lengthy stops more comfortable.  The bar can be hung at 2 depths - 10m and 6m and the depths can be adjusted by divers during the deco stop.  There are rings at 3m as well, for lengthy deco stops at 3m we can attach a short cord to the deco rope and to a D-ring on the BCD.

Other things - I always have a spare torch, a whistle (on the low pressure inflator hose), a knife (usually 2) , a safety sausage, identification slate, CD signaller, and at times a 30L lift bag.  I have surfaced once amongst a few large yachts.  A safety sausage comes in real handy in helping them see you.  I was only 40m from the boat and we had our flag up but that didn't stop them coming close.

The Compressor and Nitrox mix

Wayne and I bought the compressor in July 2006.  It's a Bauer Junior.  I've built a "soundproof" box to keep it in and fitted forced ventilation to keep it cooler.   It's certainly not sound less but is it fairly quiet - a lot quieter than a lawn mower.  The forced air ventilation consists of 4 x 100mm fans pushing air into the box, and a 200mm extraction fan, ducted to suck the air out.  The duct expels the hot air outside of the garage.  I have fitted a hose to the inlet of the compressor which allows the air to be drawn from the cool air at the back of the box.  The front doors are closed when the compressor is running.  The compressor takes about half an hour to fill a 12L Faber tank. 

I change the filter every 10 hours - this gives us clean air all the time.  We also have 2 G size Oxygen cylinders and a digital gauge and fill hose for partial filling for our Nitrox.  I'm typically mixing 36% in our 12L singles, 27% in our twins and 50% in our stages.  These are either done by bleeding the tanks completely, or by topping up with oxygen, then with air off the compressor.  This decision is based on the available pressure in the oxygen cylinders and the pressure in the cylinders.  With 2 oxygen cylinders we always have one that is over 100 bar.  We need this to fill the stages which for 50% need around 88 bar of O2. I aim for 240 bar pressure (cold) in our Faber cylinders.  I always test the tanks when filled and fill in details of the fill on a tag on the cylinder.  The information includes the date of the fill, test result and the MOD at 1.4 and 1.6 ppO2 for that mix. I keep a comprehensive log of all fills including compressor run hours, filter changes, what tanks were filled.  The oxygen log covers the fill of each cylinder - the pressure in each oxygen cylinder at the start and end of fills, the pressure target and actual for the O2 partial fill, the target mix and the actual mix and of course the final O2 content.

The set up has well and truly paid for itself on fill costs alone, even more if you consider the travel costs and time to and from dive shops.

In 2011 we added a NItrox stick to the setup.  This mixes O2 from the cylinders into air within the stick.  The O2 is regulated using a welding regulator with a restrictor screw threaded into the outlet nipple.  This gives precise control of the O2 flow, The stick has a series of baffles with in it to mix the gases and has an O2 sensor in the outlet.  The outlet feeds directly into the compressor.  I will mix up to 40% using the method but most of our mixes are 36%.


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This site was last updated 04/05/12