Location: BoracayDive site photos: Balinghai
Its time to evaluate my new diving equipments after 1 week use (8 days). Most of diving equipments worked well but there is also one exception. I made during 8 days 9 dives + DSD and OWD dives with a students (confined water). This past week has been interesting because I have assisted first DSD dives (Discover Scuba Diving) and OWD dives with students (assisting instructor). But lets go back to scuba gear evaluation.
Here is a my photo with all gears on.
I will give scores (1-5 stars) as following.
= Poor quality and really cannot recommend to anyone = Either quality is not good or it doesn’t work as supposed to. Cannot really recommend. = It does its job as it was made for but there is some problems to use it or lacking some improvements. I could recommend to someone with some considerations. = Pretty nice quality, works well in conditions where it was designed and I could recommend this to other divers.. = Impressing product. Quality is very good and it works very well in conditions where it was designed for. Strongly could recommend to anyone.
Here are products and scores.
WetsuiteMares Wet suite Trilastic Deluxe S4. P 11.096 (€184,93)Scores: Result: My instructor didn’t recommended Mares wetsuites but I wanted to take a risk and it really wasn’t worth of it! Wetsuite is quite easy to put on, fits well and looks pretty nice but those are only good things. What I was missing are zippers (sleeves and feet) and feeling that material is long lasting and stitches has made well. After buying that wetsuite I already noticed some strings stitching out from wetsuite and other instructor told me that she had a same wetsuite and after 3 years stitches in her sleeves were broken. After 2nd dive my fellow divers noticed that back of my wetsuite was almost a hole or something which looks like ripped. I thought that they were kidding me because it was a NEW wetsuite! But it wasn’t a joke and there was a broken part on back! I went back with my Mares wetsuite to shop and I told them what happened (no incident during a dive or contact with anything) and they promised to send it for evaluation to Manila. I waited 5 days and then I got an email message from xxxxxxx. “Hi Petri,
I have evaluate the pictures send and have check our warranty guidelines about your complain, but we are sorry to inform you that the damage is not cover for warranty coz if you can see it was a ripped whole and normally warranty covers only the suits has problem in stitches. We have a warranty guidelines that we follow for claims and you can personally check it in our store with xxxx. We can send this for repair in manila office if you like you can buy a wetsuit glue for this.
thanks & best Regards,
Also I noticed that wet suite wasn’t send to Manila as agreed earlier but only photos.
Ok. Here is a photo of broken wetsuite what they made in shop.
They denied to give me a new wet suite so I bought a glue from other shop and glued it. It looks now that it could work but I will see it tomorrow when I use it again in water. Hopefully it works! I was informed by xxxxxxxxxx by phone that If I want to complain further to Mares I need to wait until November to get any results from Mares !!! Incredible!!!
MaskMares Mask X-Vision Mid. P 4.300 (€71,60)Scores: Result: Mask is comfortable to use and you can see wide area using it. Also mask seems to fit well to my face and no major leaks during diving. How ever problem is strap which feels bit loose. When I adjust it then it works fine but when I put my mask on then sometimes strap slides off and its not anymore as tight as it should be. If I don’t hold strap while doing back roll entry to water from boat it can get off my face.
FinsMares Fins Plana Avanti X3. P 1.880 (€31.30)Scores: Result: I decided to select small size instead of regular which is made for my foot size 43 (8). It was a good decision and thanks to my instructor I was able to try same fins with a regular size and it was bit too loose for me. Fin is open model and It requires boots which is fine. Especially I like locking mechanism which is easy to use. You just need to adjust your fin straps once and afterwards you just use mechanical locking mechanism (same as in downhill skiing boots). It seems to work well so far. I use either frog kicking or flip flap kicking and it seems to work pretty well with both styles but comparing to latest models fins feels bit old fashion (heavier and not stream lined).
BootsMares Dive boots Classic S-10 (small). P 1.750 (€29,16)Scores: Result: Seems to work fine. Zippers works well, boots are easy to put on and bottom structure prevent falling on slippery stairs. What I am missing is that boots feels bit loose and could support more feet.
Marker Buoy (SMB)Marker Buoy (tube). P 1.250 (€20,83)Scores: N/A (not enough testing)Result: One instructor told me that material (plastic) is not long lasting but my instructor has used it for some time without any problems. I used it only once so I cannot give scores for now.
SnorkelMares Snorkel Hydrex Purge clear. P 1.250 (€20,83)Scores: N/A (not enough testing)Result: I have used only 3 times so I need more testing. Locking mechanism seems to work pretty well which is usually a weak part in snorkels.
BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) Aqua Lung BCD Pro QD (size medium). P 15783,24 (€263)Scores: Result: This is quite commonly used mark in dive shops in Boracay but this is bit better model. Good reasons to select this model is that its reliable, strong and its good for education purposes because students are familiar with this mark. Model has integrated weights with quick lock/ release mechanism. Only model could look more fancier and professional but this look is ok.
RegulatorApeks AT 20 Stage 3 Sets Regulator Octopus. P 11651,64 (€194,20)Scores: Result: Also commonly used mark in dive shops in Boracay. I selected this model because of reasonable price and reliability. I haven’t heard any complains about this model and it should work also in ice dives because water don’t go inside (instructor Min informed me). No problems to use it and you can adjust easily how much it provides air while breathing (resistance).
Pressure GaugeApeks Pressure Gauge Complete with Hose. P 3091,44 (€51,50)Scores: Result: I bought this model with regulator. I decided not to buy depth gauge because I check that from my Suunto D6 dive computer. I selected this model because its simple and it seems to work well. This is also commonly used here in dive shops so good for educational purposes as well.
Dive computerSuunto D6 (metal and plastic strap)Scores: Result: Suunto is a finnish company and I have many friends there working so product is on that sense familiar for me. I bought this model because it has compass and its not as expensive as D9 which has also air pressure adapter. Now I bit regret that I didn’t buy D9 because its so convenient to get rid of all extra hoses but anyway I am happy with my D6. I have used it now 10 hours and 16 dives without problems. Also I bought PC cable and installed Suunto program to transfer log files from D6 to PC. That also seems to work well and what Is good thing that you can backup your log files to Suunto server so you don’t need to worry about loosing log books.
Torch (flashlight)Snapsights compact torch icom (4,7 watt cree ultra bright). Lifetime Led, waterproof to 400ft. P 1962,40 (€32,70)Scores: N/A (not enough testing)Result: Tested only once underwater and it worked well but I need more experience and in more demanding conditions. Torch has life lasting led and it provides light 6 hours with 3 AA batteries. Torch has a metal housing and it has 3 different functions (100% light power, 70% light power and strobe).
KnifeDeep See Knife Squeeze lock stiletto tip titanium yellow. P 1725,24 (€28,75)Scores: N/A (not enough testing)Result: I selected this model because it’s a small, light, sharp and easy to install to BCD. What I am missing in this model is that tip of knife is sharp and it cannot be used as a tool like screwdriver.
Accessories1.Spring Cot (camera attachment to BCD). P 1.050 (€17,50)Scores: Result: Dive master recommended to buy this and it was a easy decision because once when I made back roll entry to water my camera got off my wrist (strap). I was so worried about my relatively new camera. I didn’t want to be worried again so I bought this. I have used it all the time and it works well. Only what I miss is that clip is made from plastic and not metal. I will see if it lasts in longer use. 2.Dive Alert Plus Ultra-Loud Dual Function Surface Subsurface. P 5.750 (€95,80)Scores: Result: This was recommended by some divers. It has 2 modes (air/ h20) so it can be used both underwater and surface. On surface you need to be careful with it because it has so loud noice that it can cause a ear injury. Maybe I have lack of experience but i need to spend time when I want to use it underwater (finding a button). 3.String roll. P 1500 (€25)Scores: Result: Commonly used among divers. Very simple model which has no moving parts except reel which rolls around your finger. I like simple equipments because those are usually most reliable so I took this mainly for marker buoy (SMB) but it can be used in any other purposes as measuring (30m), searching, lifting etc. It has 2 ended clip and other end can be attached to your BCD rings and other end to SMB. What was a problem with reel is that there wasn’t any instructions how to use it in practise. When I got a reel I tried to figure out how to lock line that it doesn’t go out around reel. I tried rubber string etc. but it didn’t feel good. But then dive master Ben advised me to roll out some line and roll it back only to other side so that there was enough space to attach other side of clip to holes which are around reel. I have tried it only once and it worked fine. One time I needed to roll string back to reel because it was too loose. 4.New World Reef Creature of the Tropical Pacific book. P 1833,04 (€30,50)New World Reef Fish ID Tropical Pacific book. P 1909,16 (€31,80)Scores: Result: Commonly used here in Asia. Definitely one of best books for sea animal identification. First pages groups fishes to fish groups for easier identification. With these books its relatively easy to find sea animal. This book is good in common use but its not a book for sea biologists or equivalent but this is not a segment for writers.
Dive photo from Balinghai.
While I am diving in different dive sites here I try to remember some obstruct details, directions, deep/ shallow water etc. so I could guide customers in these sites. I still need more experience to be guide but I will do it.
> Also to remind readers that life is not only about diving and it shouldn’t be. We had a poker night with my diver friends Ben (his home), Mat, Emma, Bhong, Lyn and Ann.
Thank you to everybody for a great evening and especially to Ben, Mat and Emma for excellent food!!! Tuna was delicious, bread/ salad well done and rice cooked well. Thank you again guys!