Friday, August 26, 2011

Anacapa Trip August 2011

Another great trip on the Spectre! Here is some video of the diving and wildlife. More later -C

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diving in the Florida Keys

Spent the weekend diving and hunting in the Florida Keys. This being the opening of lobster season it was quite hectic but still a fun little trip. I went out with Tildens Dive Center on Marathon for a hunting trip and  reef sightseeing trip. This was a pretty nice boat of 30 feet and we had 18 people onboard.
The diving was only average due to poor viz which I'm told can change hourly. We went out to a spot near the lighthouse called lobsters reef which lived up to its name. While I was properly equipped I failed to grab a single lobster. The one I did get my hands on broke free and made for its hide. Sans Souci. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a dive only trip but my time was limited to the weekend and many of the trips were full.
 On the dive highlights included many lobster, jellies, fans, and assorted reef fish. It was rather shallow (avg was about 12ft, with visibility of about 8-10ft, improving over the course of the dive). Dive times were limited by Tildens to 55min probably because of the snorkelers. At the end of the dive I was typically on the boat with 1000 to 1400 psi which means an unrestricted would have been significantly longer. The max depth We encounters on these dives was 22ft while fighting with an unfriendly crustacean entree.
Other sights i would like to hit in this area would be the wreck of the Thunderbolt and the NOAA research center. The Wiki for the NOAA center has some great pictures and looks like it would be interesting to explore and photograph. Perhaps one day they will accept visitors. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Diving in Crystal River Florida (Kings Bay)

Spent a couple days diving in Kings bay and boating around the Crystal river area. We left from Plantation dive shop which unfortunately didn't have a DIN adapter for my reg (had to rent a reg and tank). For those who read this blog from Europe remember that American use exclusively yolk connection for the regulators!
We departed mid morning in Jon Boat to have a look around Kings bay and the Three Sister Springs. Its a very nice calm fresh water bay with several large feeder springs. There are some overhead environments and many boats so be aware and use proper technique. It was great to see a large class in progress!!! All ways nice to see new divers!
The dives I undertook were simple exploration, both short and shallow, but fun dives none the less. I was Blue crab and assorted fish, finishing the day with a manatee sighting. I imagine that when its not packed with people the Manatees would not hide as they did on our weekend visit. PADI has a nice intro to Florida diving page which I recommend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thinking About Travel Again...

Was just thinking about the warm waters off Florida and the wrecks that await. I was wondering how do you get a good picture of a huge wreck? Looking back over my photos the only good pics I have are of small wrecks... Big wrecks tend to look like "a door" or some other small detail that conveys neither the size of the wreck nor the tragedy. Here are some pictures of our trip to the Salem Express ( WIKI ). The ship is over 360ft long and carried carried automobiles in addition to passenger decks. IMHO from these pictures one doesn't really have a feeling for its size or communicate the tragic loss. Its as if there is just too much ship; which I find almost as ridiculous as saying "there's too much story to tell."

Egypt anyone?

A Couple of Pictures from Anacapa

Some incredible marine life photos this past weekend that came out pretty good. Some nice ones of a cavern on the island. Amazing clear water!

Anacapa TripJune 2011 (sea lions) Spectre

So its June and the water temperatures are rising in southern California. By mid-September the waters around the Channel islands should be in the mid 70's. I'm looking forward to diving a 3mil and without weight.

For now here is a great video from my trip this weekend out to the Spectre:
 You can book a trip on the spectre here.

Always a good time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Diving The California Channel Islands on the Spectre

Spent an awesome day Diving on the Spectre. Sea Lions, Garibaldi, and Spotted Bass on the sea floor. Lots of nice kelp and good depths for Rec diving and instruction. I have nothing but great things to say about the boat and crew. Its a long video but have a look.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Diving The California Channel Islands on the Peace

Today was an awesome day of diving on Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands. I went out with the Peace Dive Boat for a four tank dive and met some great people and crew.

We started the day at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz @ 53 ft for 42 minutes in about 10ft of visibility. There was not Kelp at this site and no fish which was disappointing. There were however all kinds of starfish, fuzzy, blue, red, yellow, long limbs short limbs... Pretty wild.

Next we moved to Anacapa to dive Goldfish Bowl. Like Scorpion this is at the base of a cliff and also around sixty feet. Here there were more fish and an area I could only describe as a mussels worst nightmare. This is an area of maybe 120 sqft covered inches deep in empty blue shells. We had a Sea lion come down to play with us near the end of the dive which was a fun end of the dive to 54ft for 43 min. 

The last dive spot of the day was Island Reef on the back of Anacapa. Visibility there was great, more than double the previous two spots. Sweet pinnacle dive with tons of life, sea lions, urchins, mollusks, and topped off by a four foot spotted shark. Because this is a pinnacle we dove the deep circuit first 52 ft for 47 min followed by a shallow circuit at 44ft for 41 min. 

Overall a very nice day of diving.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Missing the warm clear water

Egypt seems so very far away at the moment....

Review: MK17 G250V

G250V and MK 17 set:
Pros: Adjustable, Comfortable, Effortless Breathing, Nitrox Compatible to 40%, 02 Kit available
Cons: Short Hose, Odd Mouth Piece, G250V is BIG
Best: Cold Water, Manifolded Doubles, 2 HP port on opposite sides

A balanced diaphragm first stage the MK17 delivers everything I would expect from an environmentally sealed diaphragm design. Set-up properly its is easy breathing and there is no noticeable increase in work of breathing with reduced tank pressure. The DIN fitting is good quality and my only complaint would be the rubber ''dust caps'' that are provided instead of actually din caps. I don't like them but they are not enough of a bother to throw them away. The benefit of a screw-on cap would be the ability to drop the regs in the rinse tank with the rest of my gear. Instead I have to rinse and hang them up to dry.

With all the ports available on the 17 its a great candidate for doubles (my intended purpose). Tech divers route the hoses so that the first stage is horizontal and all the hoses extend from the ''bottom'' of the horizontally oriented 1st stage. I hve tried this and think its a pretty smooth setup whcih allows easy access to the knobs while preforming valve drills.

Another added benefit of the MK 17 is that you can adjust the IP from the outside. This is nice if you use the reg with various second stages (like for instance one for a deco bottle and another for rec diving). Scuba-pro makes it clear on their site that this is intended for ''Official SP Service tec use only'' 
One of the more interesting features is the High flow ports on the regs. Theses are two of the LP ports that have been enlarged to provide for better flow. Its an interesting concept that has been around for several years and is pretty successful. US divers used a similar system on their Cousteau SEA 4's that were sold in the early 90's. 

As for the G250v I am slightly disappointed. Based on its size and long history I expected a better breathing reg. I feel like there is much hype around this classic design and I understand why ScubaPro has pulled it from its lineup. (looked like it was going to SubGear, also a Johnson outdoors company) On the positive side of things I can say that the G250V does benefit from the metal barrel which seems to help with the moisture of the air but this also adds to its bulk which surprising doesn't yield benefits of bubble diffusion. A 2nd stage of this size I would expect performance like that of the Zeagle ZX, with its easy breathing and venting bubbles away from the face. 

Overall I am left with the feeling that these are nice regs. Of the two I bought one needed adjustment out of the box. Not a big deal but ScubaPro shouldn't make these kind of mistakes for the price. Otherwise diving them all winter has been uneventful and no freeze-up. 

Nice high flow reg!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some amazing wreck diving in the Red Sea. Why not come with us one of these trips?

You can read about this ship and its history on the WIKI

Cold Water Diving - Tips

When diving in adverse conditions like extreme cold its important to have proper instruction and equipment. We are happy to teach the PADI Ice Diving course and techniques to improve safety on these dives. Its a great step on your way to becoming a Master Diver or more advanced qualifications.

When I dive under the ice I make sure to have a environmentally sealed regulator and that it is properly adjusted for the diving that will be undertaken. Redundancy is a critical component of planning for these dives. There are many techniques to achieve this, personally I dive a Drysuit for redudant bouyancy and doubles for redundant air, in addition to my buddy.

Does the crystal clear water and extreme focus required to get this done safely sound appealing? Drop us a line and we can help you on your way!

San Diego CA Diving

Diving in Southern California is amazing. Here is a dive with our frieds on the Louis Ann in San Diego. This was a two wreck dive on air, diving dry, with a OxyCheq wing and DTD Backplate and DIR harness.

I highly recommend diving with the Crew of the Louis Ann.

Ice Diving In Czecho

Spent some time under the ice this week in Milicin. This site is 30 East of Prague with a Max depth of 8 meters. Just a reminder to have a line and a team in case there are any issues. Also a reminder that overhead environments are an additional hazard.

The Water temp was 2C and air temp was -3C, Blue skies ans sunny!

The dive today was conducted with double 12L on a backplate and a Halcyon wing. Regulators were Suuba Pro Mk-15's with G250 Second stages rigged in DIR fashion. Lighting was achieved with a cannister 21W HID and a hand held TUSA LED light.  Fins as allways we the ScubaPro Jet fins with spring straps.

Problems that came up on the dive was a frozen inflator the cause of which is most likely oral inflation of BCD before the dive.