Long Time.

Hello dear readers! There are apparently some of you that haven’t given up hope in light of my silence over the last few months… there seems to be an average of a whopping 3 views per day with weird spikes like 112 views on Sunday, April 7th. Perhaps that was because I was supposed to dive, but it was cancelled for weather. Regardless, thanks to the faithful, I hope to earn your readership back as I plunge forward once more.

I apologize for the silence… its been a combination of things that have kept me from updating, namely Ironman training. What’s that you ask? Just a small little race of insanity that has completely overidden my life. (you can read all about my previous IM adventure here). Due to the IM training I’ve been in the water only a handful of times this year, and I’m surely missing it. We’re 10 weeks out from the race and things are ramping up. Work has been super busy as everyone starts gearing up for their summer holidays, however this little blog, and my joy of sharing my underwater photography activities has always been in the back of my mind. I have a little catch up to play, and I hope that I can get a few posts up here over these next 10 weeks, to revive this little site and keep sharing my favorites! Here’s a little sneak peek of what’s ahead…. so for now, hello! Goodbye! I promise it won’t be so long next time.

BB-Goby

This Blue Banded Goby was hanging out at Casino Point in Catalina. I used a Sola 800 Photo light with the red light on to be able to sneak up on him. Took this on a day I was out diving solo testing three new lenses for the store. It was a perfect day, with great visibility, calm conditions and lots of little fishes for my macro tests.

Scuba Show, Super Cool.

Last Saturday I headed down to Long Beach with a group of scuba fanatic friends to take in all the glories of the annual Scuba Show. This event highlights all the different gear, clothing, accessories, travel opportunities and toys that are out in the Scuba world. Anything from cute little Scuba teddy bears to high tech rebreathers; from travel as close as Ventura to as far as Fiji. It was one giant room packed with more diving related paraphernalia than any one person should be expected to handle. Always wanting to be prepared, my friends and I arrived just after it opened at 10am. Parking was a pain but once inside it was great. We kept the game plan simple, start at one end of the show and work our way up and down the rows until we reached the other side.

This was easier said than done. We began pouring over the different gear, looking at new BCD designs, masks with silicone linings so soft it forms to your face so well (making me think my awesome slightly retro mask is in need of an upgrade), and custom wetsuits (had some great features but sadly the design left a lot to be desired). We cruised past travel booth after travel booth, entering trip raffles (sadly I’ve received no “you’re a winner” calls or emails yet) and ogling the bright and beautiful tropical locales, someday… someday. We all took a turn spinning the “wheel of fortune” for the Hermosa Inn and each won between 25-50% off a 2 night stay. We took our sweet time admiring the strobes and nice cameras at the first of several photography booths, both Carolyn and Lawrence eyeing new lights but hesitant to drop the dough right away. I managed to keep my wallet safely in my purse with the exception of a key not so necessary items. I bought a DAN mat, which is a big woven mat that works great for beach diving to lay next to your car and keep your gear from getting all dirty and gross from the parking lot. I also picked up one of those previously mentioned Scuba Teddy-Bears. C’mon, it was $4 and SOOOOO cute.

After what seemed like mere minutes we realized that we had been submerged in the show for nearly 3 hours and our stomachs were rumbling. We took a short surface interval at the Yard House with some much need food and a beer to refuel and tackle the remaining half of the show. Continuing around we looked at the great art of Wyland who was there and had just painted a wicked looking great white shark piece. We tried on some high tech full face masks that included a communications system so you could talk with your buddy. Not only were they techy and neat looking, but they came in a variety of colors so you could keep the gear color coordination going!

Caryoln and I eyed a great looking 1-2mm skin suit by Fourth Element that looked warm, comfortable and fashionable…always helpful in the world of thick wetsuits and clunky gear! We got sucked in by probably what I feel was the coolest accessory at the show, the Dive Caddy. This is no gear bag. As the rep called it, its more of a “gear wrap”. This wrap is specially designed to take a light packers 3-4 days worth of clothes, a wetsuit (3mm), BCD, regs, fins, mask, snorkel,  toiletries, etc and package it perfectly for carry-on airline travel. No more having to check your gear and hope it arrives and arrives intact. It was genius! I wanted one right then and there. Of course then my brain clicked in and said hey Kelli! You’re not traveling anywhere this year, and maybe not even next year, why do you need this thing? Of course the answer was, I don’t… but its so cool. So being a smart little shopper, I added it to my mental must have list for the day when I’m jet-setting around the world on Scuba adventures.

Rounding off the show were a few more gear booths including Atomic where, because Carolyn and Lawrence knew the rep we got a sneak peek at their new computer, the Cobalt, which looks crazy amazing. We stopped by Titan Dive gear where Randy and Web were showing off the amazing rebreather, then we hit up several more photography booths where Carolyn and Lawrence both broke down and got the second strobe and video light they each wanted. Some how we managed to be at the show the entire day, not leaving the convention center until after 5:00PM. I was exhausted, but overall it was a very fun, educating and exciting day!

No bubbles? No kidding.

So there is technology out there I’m sure you all have heard of called a Rebreather. Its a closed circuit form of Scuba that recycles your air allowing you longer air consumption time, longer no decompression limits, deeper dives and it emits no bubbles. While many people have heard of them they are not widely used and my people think of them only in terms of the Navy, or highly advanced technical divers and commercial divers.

Titan Dive Gear folks Randy and Web explain about the Titan eCCR.

However, last Tuesday for the monthly Eco Dive Club meeting we got to hear from Titan Dive Gear about their (might I say awesome) eCCR. This is an electronic closed circuit rebreather that is working to make the rebreather technology something that is more available to the general diver. I went into the meeting highly skeptical, I’ve heard horror stories about rebreathers, sometimes called a “widowmaker” because if your oxygen or carbon dioxide monitor fails you could easily pass out and drown before you realized that you were breathing a bad gas mix.

Titan however has created a rebreather that is not only really streamlined, but also rather redundant in terms of safety features and failsafes. They have created a system that relies on several components for safety, from multiple oxygen sensors (3), to a safer and easier to use carbon dioxide scrubber, more streamlined gear organization, easy to use buttons, and a large, deatiled and easy to read computer. There is also a second “heads up” display on the main air hoses to alert you if something is wrong as well.

(from Titan website http://www.titandivegear.com)

The carbon dioxide scrubber is a solid state absorbent that is housed in a clear plastic container. This sounded better than the usual granular absorbent that takes extra time to make sure its well packed in the canister and disposed of properly after its used up. The solid absorbent is cylindrical and slides right into the canister, then can be tossed in your gear bag without having to worry about spillage. Having a clear outer canister is great because it allows easy visual checks for the o-ring seals, making sure the scrubber is in there, checking for any water, etc.

The unit itself weighs approximately 48lbs with the absorbent and cylinders filled. It is designed that you really should not need much additional weight unlike normal open circuit systems, and since you don’t drain your tanks due to the recycled air you don’t have to add weight to account for an empty tank. The 48lbs is about the same, if even less than a normal open circuit set up (and far less than a typical technical set up) which makes this product even more desirable.

Now for the good part. Using a rebreather not only extends your bottom time tenfold, but it allows you to get to depths you can never achieve on a single tank dive. Imagine cruising underwater at 200ft for several hours with little or no decompression requirements (sure in California that doesn’t seem so great…brrrrrrrrr! but think tropical…). Yup thats right. From what I understand (and I’m no expert) that because you are able to control your PO2 (oxygen partial pressure) you can keep the gas mix you are breathing at a lower partial pressure so that you don’t run into oxygen toxicity at depth. Also by keeping the PO2 lower you keep your nitrogen loading down which means you can stay deeper longer without added decompression requirements. Now to top it all off, theres the fact that you create no bubbles. So instead of being this loudly breathing bubble making oddity under the water you begin to blend in with the other quiet animals surrounding you, and they don’t scatter as you get close (some still will since we’re big and look threatening). The Titan Dive gear folks sold us with stunning images of a rebreather diver and dolphin together underwater and the dolphin is curiously examining the diver, not swimming away disturbed by our bubbles.

Basically I walked away from that meeting completely sold. My only problem is I don’t have the means for the $10,000.00 price tag that comes with the gear set up and training. My OWSI training is currently breaking the bank! I also feel that right now in my dive career this is not a toy I need, but is something I will keep my eye on, and hope that as technology improves and time passes it will be more readily available and cost less down the road! All in all, from my limited knowledge on rebreathers, the Titan model really looks like the winner, well designed and simple to use. If you want to learn more about this rebreather, visit their website: titandivegear.com.

I want. (taken from Titan Dive Gear website http://www.titandivegear.com)

(So anyone have $10,000.00 to donate to my cause? I promise a great write up on the wonders of diving rebreather!)