Mar

16

Introducing the Atomic BC1

SCUBA boards online have been buzzing with rumors and chatter about Atomic Aquatics’ first BC for more than ten years now. That’s how long it has taken the luxury brand to perfect the first BC worthy of the Atomic name.

Atomic Aquatics doesn’t rush anything. They prefer to take their time and carefully craft the toughest and most user-friendly dive gear on Earth.

Just as they redefined regulators, masks, and fins with careful attention to design details, Atomic re-examined every BC feature to create the most durable, long lasting, and high performance model the market has ever seen.

We are excited to say that the long wait is finally over; the new world-class Atomic BC1 BCDs are here.

The Atomic BC1: the BCD worthy of the Atomic name is finally here

What makes Atomic Aquatics BC1 so special?

Revolutionary tank cam and pad

The ratcheting tank band design sets a new standard for easy and always secure BC mounting.

Atomic engineered this completely different mounting hardware using principles from ski boots and snowboarding to create an easy to use system featuring a tightly locking, over-center buckle band.

This is simply the best and most user-friendly tank cam system ever.

In addition to the ratcheting buckle band, there is also a tank positioning strap and a non-slip, molded tank pad built in to the back of the BC, complete with CNC-Machined Stainless Steel hardware. This system eliminates the pesky rubber non-slip strip found on other tank bands.

These features combine to make mounting easier than ever before while also ensuring the end of slipping tanks, repeated adjustments, threading buckles, and the usual trouble of changing cylinder sizes. No existing tank cam band has even come close to the ease of operation of the BC1.

We think this game-changing feature alone makes this the BCD of choice, but that’s not all. The high-performance BC1 introduces several other new features that set it apart:

Water resistance

The state-of-the-art matte fabric is laminate coated on both interior and exterior and as water resistant as a raincoat. Yet it is remarkably soft to the touch. It’s something you’ll have to feel for yourself.

Other BCs promised to be quick drying; the Atomic BC1 never seems to get wet at all.

The laminate layer is thicker on the outsides to increase durability by protecting against rips, tears, and leaks.  It’s so tough that it will accommodate nearly double the pressure of other BCs.

Sand and corrosion resistance, too

The large accessory pockets feature zippers that are self sealing to prevent sand from filling pockets or gunking up zipper teeth.  Mesh pocket interiors drain easily.

D-rings are conveniently placed inside these oversized pockets to secure things. Keep your stuff securely attached while using it, without having to undo and reattach.

All D-rings are 316 Stainless Steel and coated with PVD Titanium to resist salt water corrosion. Atomic generously  and strategically placed these for convenient attachments. For example, The D rings along the bottom edge are tucked neatly behind the pockets, rather than dangling from your BC.

EZ-LOK weight release system

The EZ-LOK weight system is another feature that you need to see and experience for yourself to fully appreciate how much Atomic has improved what a BCD can be.

Atomic fins are favorites because everyone loves their EZ-LOK fin straps. The BC1 uses this exclusive patented system to eliminate any struggle with integrated weights.  They are secure, easy to release, and loading the weight pockets into the BC is a snap.

Weight pouches glide in smoothly, snap to lock in place, and easily release with a tug on the handle. They are so easy that you can operate them using just one finger, but they snap securely into place, so you’ll have no worries about accidental release.

The weight system on this BC is versatile and super easy to use: each pouch holds up to ten pounds of hard or soft weight. The pouches that come with the XL will hold up to 14 pounds.

There is also a pair of additional, non-releasable, integrated weight pockets in the rear. These hold between six and ten pounds each, depending on jacket size. The placement of these trim pockets significantly improves diver profile underwater.

Maximum comfort and adjustability

The BC1 features a large area of elegant diamond-quilted back padding and an adjustable lumbar pad, making this the most comfortable BC available.

There is also a convenient carry handle.

It offers three planes of adjustability for a custom fit.  The BC1 includes torso, sternum, and waist straps with impact resistant easy side release buckles.

It also has an adjustable cummerbund for added comfort, security, and fit.

Patent-pending exhaust pull dump technology

The two Stainless Steel Dry Glide pull dumps have extra long cords and patent-pending Anti-Float Pull Knobs for easy reach.

Inflator options

The Atomic inflators are sold separately. This gives you a choice of high performance options.

Your choices:

You could choose Atomic’s innovative corrosion resistant Ai power inflator, which comes in both Stainless Steel and premium Titanium options. These are the best and most diver-friendly power friendly inflators in the world.

Or you could ditch your octopus and opt for the Atomic SS1 in Stainless Steel or Titanium. This revolutionary device couples a power inflator with a secondary regulator that breathes like a primary. It features ergonomic controls, a low-profile design, and incorporates Atomic’s patented seat-saving orifice that prevents problems and leaks, as well as doubling the service cycle from annual to two years. It also has an integrated purge cover, a lifetime warranty, and more.

While some may balk at the Atomic price, the BC1’s rugged durability, elegant design, and user-friendly features offer tremendous value that will outlast and outperform any other BC on the market.

We invite you to come by the shop to check out this beauty for yourself. We’re here 9am-6pm Mon-Sat.  Bring your swimsuit and take it for a test dive in our pool.

Jan

25

 

*

What are 6351 cylinders?

Aluminum 6351-T6 is an alloy that was previously used for SCUBA and SCBA cylinders. There is a problem specific to that alloy that makes them potentially very dangerous,so most fill station operators will not fill them. This is an old problem, but there are some of these cylinders still around and many divers are unaware of the dangers.

Several companies produced and distributed these, including Walter Kidde, Luxfer, and Cliff Impact.  Many millions of these high-pressure cylinders were produced from this alloy. It was discontinued for these by 1990, due to a metallurgical anomaly which can cause sustained load cracking (SLC) along the neck and shoulder areas.

SLC: an explosive problem

SLC cracks tend to develop slowly over several years, most frequently in tanks that have been stored full of air. SLC has caused the explosive rupture of many of these cylinders and multiple losses of life and limb.

Before the technology to electronically detect this problem was invented, we had one of these cylinders explode in our store during a fill. The force of the explosion tore a hole through the roof and knocked a chunk from the concrete slab floor. Damage to the steel frame of the basketball hoop hanging over our pool is still visible today. It was caused by just a small piece of the cylinder hitting the heavy gauge steel and shredding it apart. Luckily, no one was hurt.

This happened with many of these tanks, both in the US and abroad. In some cases, such as the incident in our store, the explosions caused damage but did not result in injury. In other cases, they caused serious injuries and even death.

The explosive problem occurred often enough to warrant a DOT investigation, which resulted in advisories and warnings but no recall. However, we know the problem has been understated. For example, the explosion at GCD has not been included in the known SLC explosion data reported by Luxfer, though we reported it when it occurred and then again later brought it to their attention that it was not included.

Luxfer, who produced most of these cylinders, switched to a proprietary 6061 alloy and phased out the use of 6351 completely in June 1988. They issued several bulletins regarding the SLC problems and offered replacement incentives for many years in an effort to get these older cylinders out of use.

Eddy Current Testing

Because of this significant issue, a new method of tank inspection, eddy current testing, was developed. You may have heard this referred to as VIP Plus, which is a specific brand name. The visual only method previously employed for tank inspection is no longer sufficient for testing, thanks to the metallurgical anomaly associated with the 6351 alloy. Eddy current machines use electronic waves and can detect cracks that are invisible to the eye.  DOT rules now require electronic eddy testing at the same time as hydrostatic requalification, but manufacturers recommend eddy current more often.

Dive Stores and fill stations are well aware of all this and have been for many years. Both the US DOT and NIOSH released multiple detailed safety advisories. Luxfer addressed the topic in several ways, including a seminar at DEMA, the largest annual diving industry trade show, and this may have been the most attended meeting in DEMA history. The room was packed full to standing-room only, and attendees overflowed into the hallway as well.

Do you have 6351 cylinders? Here’s what to do

Many individual divers, however, were not, and some still are not, aware of this significant problem. If you have aluminum SCUBA cylinders manufactured by Luxfer prior to July 1988, or any Walter Kidde tanks, they are likely 6351 cylinders. There are almost no fill stations who will agree to refill these now. While GCD does not have a store policy against this, we will not force our employees to do so. Due to their advanced age and the well known issue of SLC, we prefer not to fill them. As stated above, we have already had one of these tanks rupture and explode in our store.

In an effort to get these bottles out of use, we will issue a $40 credit toward the purchase of a new tank for each 6351 cylinder trade out.

*Image courtesy Extreme Watersports

Apr

29

By Capt. Lawren McCaghren

The diver down flag indicates there are scuba divers and/ or snorkelers in the water. Boaters and PWC’s should remain 200 ft. away from the flag. If you need to approach within 100 feet, use extreme caution, go slow and look for bubbles. The divers and snorkelers also have a responsibility to remain within 50’ of their flag. The intention of the flag isn’t a restriction, but to keep everyone safe, so boaters and divers can all enjoy the water together.

Divers/ Boaters in Alabama (Alabama Code Section 33-5-22)
1. A diver’s flag must be displayed on the surface of any water where skin divers are operating as may be stipulated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
2. The diver’s flag will be at least 300 mm (12 inches) square, colored red with a white 500 mm (2 inch) stripe running diagonally from the top staff corner to the bottom fly corner.
3. Legal Requirements of Boating Other Equipment & Regulations gets specific about how far you can be from your dive flag: 50 feet.

4. For Boaters in Alabama, vessels shall keep at least 100 feet clearance of displayed diver’s flag.
Divers/ Boaters in Florida (Chapter 27, Florida Statutes 327.331)
1. “Diver” means any person who is wholly or partially submerged in the waters of the state and is equipped with a face mask and snorkel or underwater breathing apparatus.
2. Divers-down flag specifications:

1. The flag must be square or rectangular and have a wire or stiffener to hold it fully unfurled and extended in the absence of wind.
2. The flag must be red with a white diagonal stripe that begins at the top staff-side of the flag and extends diagonally to the lower opposite corner.
3. The minimum size for any divers-down flag displayed on a float towed by the diver is 12” X 12”. The minimum size for any divers-down flag displayed from a vessel or structure is 20” X 24”.
4. Any divers-down flag displayed from a vessel must be displayed from the highest point which provides that the visibility of the divers-down flag is not obstructed in any direction.
5. Divers shall make reasonable efforts to stay within 100 feet of the divers-down flag on rivers, inlets, and navigation channels. Any person

Mar

4

The water is warming and the wind is calming, so more anglers and spearfisherman are starting to venture into the gulf.

Getting the boat out and scrubbing the winter coat of mildew is made easier by the anticipation of the coming season. The talk of another short snapper season and stricter limits on other species doesn’t dampen the excitement of the first trip. Some of us have been diving and spearing fish all winter, when the seas would let us escape the dock, but for many, their first trip is this month. Besides staring at a wall of red snapper and remaining alert for early cobia, we pass the time underwater stacking up sheephead.

This is a great fish to target this time of year because their numbers are plentiful. They aren’t a spooky fish that will disappear sheepheadafter shooting 1 or 2 and usually allow for a close shot. They are usually plentiful during their late winter spawn which usually lasts thru April. I’m not sure if it is because they disburse after mating or, the wave of spring break charter fishing trips wipe the inshore sites clean. Whatever the case, we see them all year but not in large numbers, on single sites like we do now. Because of their rib cage, some fisherman believe they are too hard to clean. But your friend that is always volunteering to take all the sheephead you bring in, knows the mild flavor and white, flaky meat and is hoping you don’t discover it.

Their smaller size and liberal creel limits make them a great fish for new spearos to develop their hunting skills. Once a diver has honed his diving skills, many look to add a camera or speargun to their dive plan. Since spearing fish can be challenging and even dangerous in extreme cases, we incourage new hunters to begin with small species and work their way up to the big boys like amberjack and cobia. The challenge of wrestling the larger species isn’t an issue with the smaller fish, like sheephead and mangrove snapper. I have never heard of a diver being towed around by a 6lb. sheephead!

Koah2Many underwater hunters think of March and April as their tune-up season. Venturing to the inshore rigs and brushing up on their diving skills and getting their aim back. Just as bow hunters start practicing with backyard targets months before bow season…spearfisherman will brush up on rigging, loading and shooting their spearguns. The difference is spearguns cannot be shot out of the water at land targets. Thus, the big attraction of sheephead in March.  Many local divers have upgraded thereKoah1 older spearguns, and are now shooting one of the excellent guns from Koah’s lineup.  The Koah Fatback series is the hardest shooting, quietest and most accurate production gun I have ever dove with.  John Ippolito of Koah Spearguns, is producing custom quality guns, but with a production gun price tag.  Whether you are upgrading, or this is your first speargun, you will admire the craftsmanship that goes into these guns.

Call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 and ask about dive training and spearfishing. Training can be completed in a couple weeks and you can be geared up and ready for this season. A good scuba system costs about the same as a set of golf clubs or tennis lessons. But if you are like me, then you understand the real fun happens in salt water! So don’t keep saying, “One day I’m gonna’ see what’s down there.” Make that “One day” happen this year.

Feb

5

Neoprene is a man made rubber compound that when combined with correct fabric laminates provides an excellent material for wetsuits with stretch and durability.

Standard closed-cell neoprene incorporates millions of very small gas filled cells or “bubbles” that add inherent buoyancy and thermal insulation into the product. According to Boyle’s Law- one of the fundamental physical principles that must be understood by all divers- “The volume of gas is inversely proportional to the surrounding pressure”.

The effects of Boyle’s Law on the gas in the closed cells in the neoprene is that when ambient pressure increases on descent, the bubbles in the neoprene shrink due to compression and lose a percentage of the buoyancy and thermal insulation they provided at the surface. images

This isn’t an issue with wetsuits that are designed for surface water sports (skiing and surfing) because the suit isn’t subjected to any compression. For divers this means our suit that was sufficient on the surface where the suit is at it’s full thickness, doesn’t provide enough insulation to stay warm at depth.

To insure a comfortable dive, performance material base layers are utilized. These base layers provide additional thermal protection, but aren’t compressible so remain neutrally buoyant and don’t lose any thermal capabilities at depth. These base layers are flexible, light weight and can be worn in layers. Base layer materials such as LavaCore’s Polytherm can be worn as stand alone pieces, layered together or worn under a traditional neoprene wetsuit.

lavacoreBecause our gulf coast water temperature varies 25F throughout the year, you need to have a thermal system that allows you to vary what you wear depending on season, depth and area. Even when the surface is 85F in August, it can be 75F at depth and the freshwater springs stay 68F-72F all year.

For more information on designing a custom thermal system for your diving style, come by and talk to a system adviser at Gulf Coast Divers (251) 342-2970.

Jan

8

WHY SHOULD I DIVE WITH A DIVE COMPUTER?

You just finished your Scuba Diver Course and your head is spinning with all the knowledge and skills you have learned. At the top of your list is purchasing what your instructor may have said was the most important piece of dive gear you could own – a dive computer. Your question is, “Why? What is so important about a personal dive computer (PDC) that I should have my own?”

Diverse on the Oriskany

Divers on the Oriskany

So, getting down to the basics means that there are three things you absolutely need to know during your dive: Where are you now? How long have you been there? How much longer can you stay? This translates into depth, elapsed dive time (EDT), and no decompression limit (NDL). All dive computers answer these questions, but ease of use, readability and additional dive information vary greatly between models.

Depth is one of the first things we set a limit on. Diving within the agreed upon depth limit, whether it be with the Divemaster, your dive buddy, or a solo dive, is the first decision a diver makes prior to the dive. Not sticking to your planned depth can be dangerous. The easiest way to monitor your depth is with the constant depth display on your PDC. An audible alarm is an important feature to alert you to any unplanned depth changes during the dive, including ascents. Your PDC will have an ascent rate indicator that allows you to insure you are ascending no faster than 30′ per minute. You won’t just descend to the bottom and swim around just off the sand. Many wrecks, reefs and rigs stick up off the bottom allowing you to do a 60′ dive on a rig in 200′ of water. But there aren’t any stop signs, so contantly being aware of your depth is important.

BUD
No decompression limit is one of 2 primary limitations when planning and conducting a dive profile. Some computers have audible alarms for this feature as well. Not following a good dive plan with regard to our profile (depth and time) could result in decompression illness. Going too deep, coming up too fast, and staying too long, greatly increases your risk for DCS. NDL takes your depths and times during each dive or repetitive dives and calculates how much longer you can safely stay at your current depth based on everything you’ve done up to this point. Breaking these rules could cause the loading of too much nitrogen resulting in a mandatory decompression stop. As a new diver, you want to avoid a deco stop at all costs. Your PDC can tell you when to move to a shallower depth, will continuously recalculate your NDL for the new depth. Not only does this keep you safely within your nitrogen limit, but it will significantly extend your dive times over the square profile associated with dive tables because it credits you back for times spent at shallower depths. Every single dive you do is a mutli-level dive.

The 2nd primary limitation is air consumption. You must continually monitor NDL and air consumption during the dive to be back on the surface with a safety reserve of air (usually 500 psi) and within the NDL. Your pressure gauge will give you your current tank pressure, but doesn’t give you any air time or consumption information. An air-integrated PDC gives you a digital display of tank pressure and because it has this extra piece of important information, can calculate the current depth and the rate you have been consuming air. So, simply it will tell you how much longer your air will last. The PDC then compares your remaining NDL and remaining air and tells you how much longer you can stay based on which is the limiting factor.

The easiest and safest computers are air-integrated with user settable audible alarms. This style lets you set alarms for minimum tank pressure, maximum depth, minimum NDL, ascent rate and many other parameters. Then if you approach or exceed any of these it will start beeping to get your attention and tell you what you need to do.

Even if you are primarily a traveling diver and rent equipment, most divers prefer to have their own computer. This way you are familiar with it’s use and display and don’t have to spend your bottom time studying the display to decipher it. Most important to American divers is that your personal computer gives you information in imperial form. Most of the world is metric and I can promise many frustrating minutes underwater mentally converting meters to feet and bar to psi!

Every dive is full of distraction from the moment our head goes underwater. Most of these distractions are the reason we are there: colorful fish and corals, dolphins, turtles, underwater cameras, spearguns, weightlessness, seashells, shipwrecks, pirate treasure & mermaids. But these fun distractions are constantly drawing your attention away from the tasks of monitoring your air return point, air ascent point, depth, duration and direction. A dive computer is the most important tool to assist in conducting a safe, relaxed and enjoyable dive.Digital Camera

For more answers on selecting your personal dive computer please consult a Gulf Coast Divers team member and schedule a FREE pool demo. dive with any computer.

===============================================================

FREE Pool Dive Coupon

Try any dive computer in our 15′ in-door, heated pool

($20 value)

Gulf Coast Divers, 1284 Hutson Drive, Mobile, AL
(251) 342-2970

pool hours Mon.-Sat. 9:00am- 6:00pm

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Sep

7

There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to enjoy yourself with a fogged mask underwater.  Most mask fogging is caused by warm humid air inside the mask meeting a lens surface cooled by water.  Warmer air is capable of holding more water vapor than cooler air.  Therefore, when air is cooled, a portion of its water vapor condenses into tiny liquid droplets, or “fog”.  Defog solutions prevent fogging by creating a thin, invisible film on the lens which creates a “sheeting effect” eliminating the formation of condensation droplets.

However, most defogs don’t work effectively on a new mask because of silicone leeched from the mask skirt and other factory residues left on the lens during the manufacturing process.  The lens on most new masks needs to be pre-cleaned with a mild abrasive to allow the defog to effectively change the surface tension of the tempered glass lens.  pr4

Sea Buff is the most effective pre-cleaner that I have come across.  Soft Scrub works pretty good, but has bleach in it, so your mask has a strong smell that is hard to get out.  More abrasive cleaners are likely to scratch the lens and less abrasive just don’t get the coating off.  I have seen people use a lighter to burn the coating off, but this is dangerous and a great way to ruin  a $100 mask before you even get it wet.  A bottle of Sea Buff  is $5.00 and will clean several masks.  Bonus use for the remainder of the bottle…it is a great slate cleaner, too!

Tips to diving fog free: Pre-clean new masks, follow the directions on your defog, store your mask in a hard case to protect it from dirt, salt and contaminants, put it away dry to prevent mold and algae build-up, avoid leaving your mask in the sun or on your head prior to a dive-the heat will cause a spike in the mask’s temperature which contributes to fogging, don’t exhale thru your nose-which increases the temperature on the inside of the mask.

Invest a few minutes to take care of your mask and it will reward you with clear dives.

Jan

29

What is mask squeeze?

Like the air spaces in your sinuses and ears, you must also equalize the air space in your mask as you descend. When you descend, failure to equalize, or add air to the air space in the mask, by exhaling through your nose can create unequal pressure between the mask air space and the vascular pressure within the blood vessels of the face. This can result in various degrees of facial barotrauma, or injury to the soft tissues of your face contained within the mask. Imagine your face in a suction cup. The soft tissues beneath the mask and especially around the eye swell (periorbital edema) and discolor, such as redness or bruising (ecchymosis).

What treatment do I need?

Unless you are experiencing eye pain or visual problems, there is no treatment for facial barotrauma except time. Because it is a bruise, your body will eventually reabsorb the effect of your mask squeeze. Your physician or an eye specialist should address eye pain or visual disturbances such as blurred vision or loss of part of the visual field immediately. These symptoms would be extremely rare in mask squeeze, however. The signs and symptoms of mask squeeze can take up to two weeks or more to resolve. Unfortunately, it is one of those conditions where you will probably look worse than you’d like before it gets better. Not only will blood and edema need to be reabsorbed, but it tends to be gravity-dependent – which means it will spread downward on your face. Before you heal, you may look like a red-eyed black-and-blue marked creature in a B-grade horror flick or a boxer that took at least two too many punches.

Who gets mask squeeze?

Mostly new divers get squeezed – they tend to be overwhelmed by all the skills they need to remember, such as buoyancy control and equalizing their ears and sinuses, all while being mesmerized by the mysteries of the sea. More experienced divers, however, are not immune to mask squeeze. They tend to have mask squeeze when they are concentrating on some new activity or focused in on a task which diverts their attention from clearing their mask. Changing to a new mask or to a low-volume mask may also lead to mask squeeze, because the diver may not be accustomed to when to add air. Finally, poor-fitting masks or other issues such as facial hair may lead to problems with equalizing.

How do you prevent mask squeeze from happening again?

The solution to preventing mask squeeze is to remember to keep your nasal passageways open during descent. By exhaling through your nose and using a properly fitted mask, you will minimize the risk of facial barotrauma. A mask should fit comfortably against your face and you should be able to achieve an appropriate seal by gently placing the mask on your face and inhaling through your nose. The mask should seal to your face and not fall off even without the mask strap in place. It is not unusual for a small amount of leakage to occur while diving, especially if you have facial hair. Exhaling through your nose and tilting your face towards the surface while cracking the lower seal of the mask will generally remove any unwanted water from your mask.

reprinted from www.diversalertnetwork.org

Nov

12

For Divers, staying warm is a MUST

Materials: The quality of a wetsuit begins with the base material.  High-quality neoprene will resist fading and deterioration caused by salt, chlorine, UV exposure and compression at depth.  Cheap neoprene will compress at depth and with continued use, this compression will permanently reduce the suit’s insulation and durability.  Investing in a better quality suit will be cheaper in the long run because the suit will last many more diving seasons.

Undergarment: To stay warm, a diver needs to trap water against the skin.  Your body releases energy in the form of heat and warms this trapped layer of water which acts as a thermal barrier. Using a dive skin as your base layer and layering several wetsuit pieces over this can increase warmth.  This layering technique will increase the efficiency of your suit by more effectively trapping water in the suit.  It also makes your suit more versatile by allowing you to adjust for seasonal changes in water temperature and match your thermal protection to conditions of each dive.  Our water temperature on the gulf coast can vary up to 25 degrees throughout the year, so layering your thermal protection allows a diver to wear just the right amount to stay comfortable.

Skins: A smooth-surfaced “skin” in cuffs, necks and flaps behind zippers help reduce water movement in/out of your wetsuit.  These water barriers reduce the cooler water flushing in as you swim and keeps warm water trapped inside the suit.  A dive skin worn as a base layer will help reduce water movement inside your wetsuit and keep you warmer.  Hoods, vests, boots and gloves can be effective in sealing your wetsuit if it doesn’t have seals at neck, wrists and ankles.

Texture: The #1 killer of wetsuits is tears, from knee abrasion while kneeling on the bottom or tears from struggling to pull on a suit that isn’t stretchy enough to slide on.  The simple solution to address abrasions from the environment is to practice good buoyancy control.  Stress from tears can be avoided with a super stretchy material that is easy to put on and smooth nylon coatings that allow the suit to “glide” on.  Dive skins also allow the suit to slide on more easily, and make the suit more comfortable.  It is much easier to don three 3mm neoprene pieces than pulling on a 9mm wetsuit!  The neoprene isn’t “stressed” by the extreme pulling and you aren’t exhausted before you even get to the water.

Get suited up, go diving, stay warm, Rinse and Repeat.

Sep

18

Now that our short red snapper season has come and gone it is time to shift back into amberjack mode.  These are the hardest fighting fish species that we target as spearfisherman.  It is because of their strength they are called “Pez Fuerte” south of the border.  In English it means “strong fish”!

 Their size and strength contribute to the excitement as the ultimate target species in underwater hunting.  Amberjack are targeted only by experienced spearos that have developed their aim well enough to “stone ‘em”.  But it only takes missing the kill spot by 2 inches to be dealt an exciting fight.  Underwater video of good and bad shots is a great tool to use in training new hunters.

 A huge trend among spearfisherman this season has been shooting video.  Most of the hunters I dive with have added camera mounts to their guns to video the excitement of the stalk, hunt and fight.

 It is easy to get a good quality, high definition video camera and underwater housing in a very small package and for a reasonable price.  The logical next step was to mount it to your mask or your gun and capture the action. Non-diving friends and family are amazed at the action and scenes that we enjoy every time we venture under the gulf. A fisherman sitting in the boat 70 feet above the action, has no idea what goes on below. The freedom of being able to select your own fish and just seeing all the species that inhabit the sites that they fish.  Instead of guessing what the colored pixels on your bottom machine represent, why don’t you jump in and have a look?

 The Sealife and GoPro-style cameras can be mounted out of the way leaving the hunter free to press “record” then forget about the camera and get on with the hunt.

The added bonus is seeing all the fish species on the reef, not just the ones biting.  The video evidence from divers has been instrumental in educating the “powers that be” on the proliferation of the red snapper population in the northern Gulf of Mexico, in hopes of getting the season and creel limits relaxed.

Divers have provided the video evidence of the Lionfish invasion to our coastal reefs.  Because Lionfish don’t bite a hook, most fisherman only read articles about the invasion.  We’ve seen the Lionfish go from a rare sighting 2 years ago, to a common species.

 Call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 and ask about dive training, spearfishing and underwater videography.  Training can be completed in a couple weeks and you can be geared up and ready sooner than you think. Then you can grab your Sealife camera and be uploading You Tube videos after your first trip.

Jul

12

This may seem like something out of a science fiction movie: researchers have designed microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate your body, even if you can’t breathe anymore. It’s one of the best medical breakthroughs in recent years, and one that could save millions of lives every year.

The invention, developed by a team at Boston Children’s Hospital, will allow medical teams to keep patients alive and well for 15 to 30 minutes despite major respiratory failure. This is enough time for doctors and emergency personnel to act without risking a heart attack or permanent brain injuries in the patient.

The solution has already been successfully tested on animals under critical lung failure. When the doctors injected this liquid into the patient’s veins, it restored oxygen in their blood to near-normal levels, granting them those precious additional minutes of life.

Particles of fat and oxygen

The particles are composed of oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids, a natural molecule that usually stores energy or serves as a component to cell membranes. Lipids can be waxes, some vitamins, monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, phospholipids, or—as in this case—fats.

These fatty oxygen particles are about two to four micrometers in size. They are suspended in a liquid solution that can be easily carried and used by paramedics, emergency crews and intensive care personnel. This seemingly magic elixir carries “three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells.”

Similar solutions have failed in the past because they caused gas embolism, rather than oxygenating the cells. According to John Kheir, MD at the Department of Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, they solved the problem by using deformable particles, rather than bubbles:

We have engineered around this problem by packaging the gas into small, deformable particles. They dramatically increase the surface area for gas exchange and are able to squeeze through capillaries where free gas would get stuck.

Kheir had the idea of an injected oxygen solution started after he had to treat a little girl in 2006. Because of a lung hemorrhage caused by pneumonia, the girl sustained severe brain injuries which, ultimately, lead to her death before the medical team could place her in a heart-lung machine.

Soon after, Kheir assembled a team of chemical engineers, particle scientists, and medical doctors to work on this idea, which had promising results from the very beginning:

Some of the most convincing experiments were the early ones. We drew each other’s blood, mixed it in a test tube with the microparticles, and watched blue blood turn immediately red, right before our eyes.

It sounds like magic, but it was just the start of what, after years of investigation, became this real life-giving liquid in a bottle.

This is what the future is about. And it’s a beautiful one indeed, one that is arriving earlier than we ever could have expected. I wonder if this would find its way to other uses. I can see it as an emergency injection in a spaceship, for example. But what about getting a shot for diving?

Apr

18

The water is warming quickly and the wind is calming, so more anglers and spearfisherman are starting to venture into the gulf.

Getting the boat out and scrubbing the winter coat of mildew is made easier by the anticipation of the coming season.  The talk of the shortest snapper season and stricter limits on other species doesn’t dampen the excitement of the first trip.  Some of us have been diving and spearing fish all winter, when the seas would let us escape the dock, but for many, their first trip is this month.  Besides staring at a wall of red snapper and remaining alert for early cobia, we pass the time underwater stacking up sheephead.

This is a great fish to target this time of year because their numbers are plentiful.  They aren’t a spooky fish that will disappear after shooting 1 or 2 and usually allow for a close shot.  They are plentiful for only a few more weeks.  I’m not sure if it is because they disburse after mating or, the wave of spring break charter fishing trips wipe the inshore sites clean. Whatever the case, we see them all year but not in large numbers, on single sites like we do now.  Because of their rib cage, some fisherman believe they are too hard to clean. But your friend that is always volunteering to take all the sheephead you bring in, knows the mild flavor and white, flaky meat and is hoping you don’t discover it.

Many underwater hunters think of February and March as their tune-up season.  Venturing to the inshore rigs and brushing up on their diving skills and getting their aim back.  Just as bow hunters start practicing with backyard targets months before bow season…spearfisherman will brush up on rigging, loading and shooting their spearguns.  The difference is spearguns cannot be shot out of the water at land targets.  Thus, the big attraction of sheephead in March.

Their smaller size and liberal creel limits make them a great fish for new spearos to develop their hunting skills.  Once a diver has honed his diving skills, many look to add a camera or speargun to their dive plan.  Since spearing fish can be challenging and even dangerous in extreme cases, we incourage new hunters to begin with small species and work their way up to the big boys like amberjack and cobia.  The challenge of wrestling the larger species isn’t an issue with the smaller fish, like sheephead and mangrove snapper.  I have never heard of a diver being towed around by a 6lb. sheephead!

Call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 and ask about dive training and spearfishing.  Training can be completed in a couple weeks and you can be geared up and ready for this season.  A good scuba system costs about the same as a set of golf clubs or tennis lessons. But if you are like me, then you understand the real fun happens in salt water!   So don’t keep saying, “One day I’m gonna’ see what’s down there.”  Make that “One day” happen this year.

Feb

28

Important News for Atomic Aquatics Cobalt Users
New Firmware Release to Fix 2012 Leap Year Issue. Please check in every so often to the Atomic Aquatics website to get the latest information and firmware updates.  We have an issue that we want to let our customers know about.  There is an error in updating the Cobalt’s internal calendar from 2011 to 2012 and advancing to March 1 because of Leap Year.  The Cobalt knows there is a February 29th in 2012, however an error in the internal date checking will prevent February 29th from displaying. The result will be that February 28th repeats unless one of two things happens:
1) You manually set the date to March 1 or later in the Set Time/ Date screen
2) You update the Cobalt’s firmware to version 1.17, which is now available on the Atomic Website

In addition to fixing the error in leap year display, this new version contains minor bug fixes and several enhancements.  Changes to versions prior to 1.13 are shown on the Atomic website.  In 1.17:

  • Per user requests, the time of day will display in the Dive Screen, alternating with temperature
  • The Dive Log Profile display is modified to expand and improve scaling of the profiles
  • Continuous scrolling is implemented in the Dive Log. Holding the UP to DOWN button will advance the cursor rapidly through the dive profile

As always, we encourage Cobalt users to maintain the latest firmware version.

A Note to Mac Users About Updating Your Cobalt’s Firmware
The latest version of the Mac OS, 10.7 (Lion) has caused problems for a few users in updating Cobalt firmware.  We have temporarily pulled the Lion updater from the website, and are now testing a new version.  The Mac version for Leopard (10.5) and Snow Leopard (10.6) are at this point preferred and are highly reliable.
New Dive Log Software to Support Cobalt

In addition to the basic functionality of the Atomic Dive Log program, Cobalt users should be aware that Atomic has supported third party developers who wanted to provide Cobalt download capability for enhanced dive log packages.  These packages let you store photos, maps, buddy lists, gear records, and other information, in addition to basic dive data.
The newest of these Cobalt compatible programs (to be released shortly) is Dive Log Manager 2.0 for the Mac, from More Mobile Software.  Of course MacDive 2 has supported Cobalt Downloading from introduction, and for Windows, Dive Log 5.0 has long provided a full featured log program with Cobalt download.
You can upload the latest firmware from Atomic’s website or bring it by Gulf Coast Divers and we will do the update for you. It only takes about 15 minutes.  For information call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970.

Feb

23

Maybe you are on your way to your first open water dives, or your first dives in awhile and you become aware of butterflies in your stomach. Perhaps you recognize it the night before the big day, and the apprehension keeps you from getting a good nights sleep. These are symptoms of the “pre-dive jitters”.  At one time or another every diver will experience this nervous feeling.

It is normal to be a little nervous about a new dive experience, but it’s important to recognize that butterflies are an indication that more practice and experience are needed to become a totally confident diver. The way to get this practice is by diving and continuing education.

Before your first dive, assemble your gear at home and adjust all straps, check assembly procedure and function of every item.  Having to adjust unfamiliar gear aboard a boat prior to diving can force you to rush. Rushing leads to anxiety which contributes to pre-dive nerves.

Owning your own personal gear reduces anxiety because you are familiar with it, know how it’s been maintained and have a proper fit. Proper fitting, well maintained equipment reduces stress, increases mental and physical comfort, and maximizes enjoyment.

Pay close attention to pre-dive plans and divemaster briefings and never hesitate to ask questions if you don’t hear clearly or don’t understand what was said.  If you have apprehensions, anxieties, questions or problems, please ASK FOR HELP from the group leader or divemaster. The key to overcoming pre-dive jitters is not to keep them a secret. Remember the divemasters job is to help with these issues. When informed, they will help you go at your own pace and develop your skills and confidence.

Our unique “Real-World Diving” class is a great way to learn what to expect on your dive excursions.  You’ve learned what to do underwater…this class teaches you how to do it.  Some of the topics discussed: charter boat diving, shore diving, private boat diving, how to rig your boat for diving, oil rig diving, buoy diving and international travel. New and experienced divers will learn something new in this class.

Enrolling in a continuing education course provides a great opportunity to build confidence through knowledge as well as a chance to work with an instructor to fine-tune your diving skills.  The more you dive, the more comfortable you become.  The more comfortable you become, the more fun you will have.  For information on becoming a more confident diver call (251) 342-2970.

Feb

3

Give the gift of adventure with a Gulf Coast Divers Cash Card!

Load it with any amount and give it as a Gift Card or use it yourself as your scuba shopping card.  Our Adventure Gift cards were a popular stocking stuffer at Christmas, but y’all came up with another use that we didn’t anticipate.  Divers are buying Adventure Cards and reloading them each payday as a way to save towards a new piece of equipment.  “If I keep the cash, I’ll spend it and regret it.  If I put my extra dollars on my gift card, then it is like I am saving towards my scuba system,”  explained Mike.  Great idea, dude.

The Adventure cards can be used to purchase new gear, training, a dive trip, anything…it is like cash. We know how hard it is to buy for a diver, why not make it easy and let them choose what they want? Or encourage friends and family to come and contribute to your Adventure Card rather than buy you a pair of socks that you are going to return to Target anyway.

Christmas, birthdays, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Arbor Day, Just Because Day…any event is a good time to ask for dive gear.

Jan

25

New divers are surprised to learn that diving along the gulf coast takes place year round, not just during the heat of the summer. Believe it or not, the beaches don’t close in the winter, the Gulf of Mexico still has water in it when all the leaves have fallen from the trees and there are a lot of dedicated divers getting wet all winter.

If you want to keep diving in the winter months, but are not one of the fortunate few who can slip off to some warm and exotic location while the rest of us sit around watching our breath freeze in the air, read on and learn the basics of winter diving on the gulf coast.

So just what are the alternatives for winter diving and what can you expect for conditions? Obviously colder temperatures, both in the water and out, but not so cold that you can’t go diving. That doesn’t mean you have to gear up for an arctic expedition. Back in December we published a blog article about the importance of staying warm which provided many suggestions for dealing with winter temperatures.

Water temperatures in the gulf are a little cooler than what you are used to in the summer months. You can expect water in the low-mid 60’s at times.  Also, most of the high tides during winter months, fall at night. This is great news for the spearos that target flounder.

These tidal differences are not as much  a consideration offshore but they will affect beach dives like Perdido Pass, Fort Pickens, Destin Jetties and St. Andrews Park.  We have some of the lowest tides of the year during winter months and the strong north winds can make for especially low tides.

The local springs are virtually unaffected by winter temperatures. In other words springs water temperatures stay the same year round. The same 68 degrees that seemed cold and maybe a little forbidding in the summer is now warm and toasty.

One big consideration, just as important as staying warm during the dive, is keeping warm before the dive and getting warm between dives.  Bundle up and stay warm before you get in the water and certainly bundle up between dives. Bring a thermos of hot tea or coffee to warm you from the inside and stay out of the wind.  A misconception with inexperienced winter divers, is they will stay warm if they keep their wetsuit on between dives.  You will only make this mistake once!  The water evaporating off the suit is taking heat with it, chilling you very fast.  You will stay much warmer by getting out of your suit and dressing in warm clothes.  The more common method is to peel your wetsuit top off, dry off, and put on a jacket. Many divers exit the water, quickly peel their wetsuit off and climb back in their vehicle for a toasty, warm surface interval.

Recently my phoned chimed, announcing a text message from a dive buddy headed to the Pass for a night dive. Sorry I couldn’t make it Joe, too many work and family commitments, but it reminded me, many people are getting wet this winter and you should too.  Call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 to learn more about winter diving.

Jan

19

Masks

To minimize mold and algae build-up, rinse your mask with fresh water after each dive and allow it to dry completely before storing.  Store your mask in a hard case to protect it from dirt, abrasives, trauma during transport and roaches.  Yes, roaches…not only does the thought of bugs crawling in my mask give me the whillies, but roaches will nibble on the silicone skirt.  You need to pre-clean new masks with a mild abrasive to remove the silicone leeched from the mask skirt and other factory residues on the lens.  We’ve found Soft Scrub to be the best pre-cleaner, but toothpaste or some of the commercial mask scrubs will work, too.

Drysuit seals

With exposure to sunlight, saltwater, and chlorine, synthetic gaskets degrade over time.  This degradation is due to the loss of structural oils called plasticizers.  Proper care should include treating the latex with Seal Saver and inspecting all seals prior to use.  Minor repairs can be made with Aquaseal but require careful preparation, treatment and drying time.  Drysuit seal replacement is a critical repair and should be left to a professional suit technician.  If a seal completely fails then the suit will flood which can lead to a dangerous situation.

Zippers

Regular cleaning and lubrication helps zippers last the lifetime of the gear.  Dirt, sand and salt deposits are harmful to zippers and can cause them to jam and corrode requiring expensive replacement.  Use Zip Care to clean and pre-treat zippers and Zip Tech to lubricate and protect watertight zippers.  Whether on a wetsuit, drysuit, booties or gear bag, the zipper is the most abused component.

Neoprene items

Wetsuits, booties, hoods and gloves need regular cleaning with a suit shampoo and conditioner.  Regular cleaning maintains suit suppleness, keeps colors bright and eases suit entry.  To remove residual odors and bacteria from your suit add 1/2 oz. of MiraZyme or Sink The Stink to 5 gallons of water and soak your suit, then hang on proper hanger. Do not rinse. It is important to hang gear so it will dry completely and is properly supported so the weight of the suit doesn’t crush the neoprene.

Watch this blog and follow us on facebook for more installments in this equipment care and maintenance series.  You can also, call Gulf Coast Divers @ (251) 342-2970 and speak with an equipment technician.

Jan

10

How Anti-fogs work

Mask fogging results from warm humid air inside the mask meeting a lens surface cooled by water. Warmer air is capable of holding more water vapor (water in gas form) than cooler air. Therefore, when air is cooled, a portion of its water vapor condenses into tiny liquid droplets, or “fog”.  Anti-Fogs prevent fogging by creating a thin, invisible film on the lens which creates a “sheeting effect” – eliminating the formation of condensation droplets.

Divers that say, “Defog doesn’t work for me” are usually not applying it properly or are washing it out.  The procedure that I have always had the best luck with is to apply an oily-style defog (orange-top Sea Drops are my favorite) to a dry lens, rub around the inside of the lenses to fully coat, then scoop some water in the mask and swish.  I dump the suds out and scoop and swish one more time, then empty the mask put it on my face and don’t take it off until I’m done diving.  Many divers prefer the 500 PSI brand defog because it lasts longer.  It is much thicker so you have to rub a lot to coat and clean.  It is a slightly longer process to treat the lens, but the reward is 2-3 fog-free dives.

Remember for any defog to work the lens needs to be clean and ALL new mask must be scrubbed prior to using.

Dec

20

True to Atomic’s name, this mask is super-engineered and was all the talk at this year’s dive-industry trade show.

Atomic Aquatics is calling this mask the Venom, and it’s a blending of their SubFrame and Frameless masks. It has a reinforcing internal frame that’s molded directly beneath the surface of the silicone rubber skirt, like the Subframe, yet it offers the relatively low profile of the Frameless. Also, its faceplate is single window like the Frameless, but it has a high bridge and tear-drop shape similar to the SubFrame’s dual-window design.

The Venom comes across as a high-concept, stylish-looking piece of gear when it’s being held in your hand, and it’s really comfortable when mounted on your face. Its easy-to-use squeeze-to-adjust buckles are soft-mounted to the mask skirt, which allows a little bit of flexibility in strap positioning, plus they can be folded flat for packing.

Where the Venom differs from its SubFrame and Frameless cousins is in its faceplate construction. While the SubFrame and Frameless lenses use Ultraclear glass, which has quite a rep for optical quality in its own right,  the Venom mask uses an even higher-quality glass imported from Germany. Called Schott Superwite glass, it allows more light to penetrate than even Ultraclear glass.

In the water, we find a testament to a good mask is that you don’t notice it on your face. The Venom does a good job of getting there. Like its cousins, it offers a superior field of view, and the soft skirt and watertight seal combined to make the Venom feel like a part of our face. Looking at the sights through this bright distortion-free Superwite glass is like looking through no glass at all.

It’s called the Venom and the only antidote is salt water, and lots of it!  Come by Gulf Coast Divers and check it this awesome new mask, just in time for your Christmas stocking!

Dec

14

Materials: The quality of a wetsuit begins with the base material.  High-quality neoprene will resist fading and deterioration from salt, chlorine, UV exposure and compression at depth. Cheap neoprene will compress at depth and permanently lose the suit’s insulation and durability. Fit is the most critical aspect. Instead of opting for a thicker suit, most divers on the gulf coast stay warm by layering thinner neoprene. Layering insulates better and gives you more flexibility, because the pieces slide along each other instead of having to stretch. Having several thinner wetsuit pieces allows for versatility for changing water temps.  On the gulf coast, our water temperature can change almost 30 degrees throughout the year. Having the proper thermal protection for the season means, versatility.

Undergarment: To stay warm, a suit traps water against the skin which your body heats up, acting as a thermal barrier. Using a dive skin as your base layer and layering several wetsuit pieces over this will increase warmth.  This layering technique will increase the efficiency of your suit by more effectively trapping water in the suit.  It also makes your suit more versatile by allowing you to adjust for seasonal changes in water temperature and match your thermal protection to conditions of each dive.  Using a base layer, like LavaCore, will boost the insulating capability because it adds the equivalent of 2mm thermal protection without added bulk or buoyancy.

Skins: A smooth-surfaced “skin” in cuffs, necks and flaps behind zippers help reduce water movement in/ out of your wetsuit.  These water barriers reduce the cooler water flushing in as you swim and keeps warm water trapped inside the suit.  A dive skin worn as a base layer will reduce water movement and take up space inside your wetsuit.  This reduces the amount of water in the suit, which means less water you have to heat up, resulting in less heat loss.

Texture: The #1 killer of wetsuits is tears, from knee abrasion while kneeling on the bottom or tears from struggling to pull on a suit that isn’t stretchy enough to slide on.  The simple solution to address abrasions from the environment is to practice good buoyancy control.  Stress from tears can be avoided with a super stretchy material that is easy to put on and smooth nylon coatings that allow the suit to “glide” on.  Dive skins also allow the suit to slide on more easily, and make the suit more comfortable.

Come talk to our suit professionals about designing a thermal system that is right for you.  Whether you are hot or cold natured we have a wetsuit combo for you. Not sure, jump in our 15’ deep in-store pool and try it out. Gulf Coast Divers (251) 342-2970.

Dec

10

Even though the modern personal dive computers are very reliable and rarely malfunction, the possibility still exists.  Looking down at your computer in the middle of a dive and seeing a blank screen can be stressful sight.  Most computer issues are battery related or caused by flooding.  The flooding usually follows an improperly sealed battery compartment or a crack in the housing caused by trauma to the computer.  The problem is the crack was probably suffered in your gear bag during transport and you don’t even realize it until it is too late.

Because of the possibility of a dive, or entire dive day, being ruined because of a computer issue, most divers dive with 2 personal computers.  Oceanic’s new B.U.D. (Back-Up Dive) computer is the perfect addition to your dive kit.  It clips to your B/C and tracks all your dive info. and can be used as a primary computer, quick-glance status, back-up or spare.

The B.U.D. is small enough to clip to any d-ring on your B/C and you will hardly even know it is there, but has an easy to read display.  It has full computer functions, including nitrox compatibility.  Economically priced at $329.00.

Nov

25

At Gulf Coast Divers, we’re never content with the status quo… continually expanding and improving every product line. That’s why we suggest these “Essentials” line of accessories. Each is perfectly designed to work with your Atomic product to further enhance your diving enjoyment.
Comfort Swivel Hose
A significant innovation for Atomic Aquatics regulator owners, this unique device eliminates cumbersome binding that some divers experience from their second stage. Available in either mirror-polished stainless steel or lightweight Titanium, the Atomic Aquatics “comfort swivel” increases your comfort on every dive! We can install the lightweight Atomic Aquatics Comfort Swivel in less than 20 minutes. Once you dive with it, you’ll wonder why no one else ever thought of this highly comfortable and useful innovation.
Universal Comfort Swivel Hose
One of the most popular innovations for the Atomic Aquatics regulators is now available to fit other regulator brands. The Universal Comfort Swivel will fit virtually any second stage on the market today. If your regulator uses a standard 9/16″-18 low pressure hose fitting as most do, the Universal Comfort Swivel simply replaces your existing hose assembly. Constructed of chrome plated brass and stainless steel.

Dual-silicone Comfort-fit Mouthpiece
Atomic Aquatics’ engineers and award-winning designers are always listening to diver’s requests for product upgrades and enhancements. One such request was for a mouthpiece that would be both durable and comfortable. The result is the popular dual-silicone mouthpiece that was introduced with the M1 regulator. Made from two types of silicone material, this mouthpiece is incredibly durable, yet easily one of the most comfortable mouthpieces a diver will ever use.

Exhaust Deflector
Since the dawn of diving, divers have sought ways to keep exhaust bubbles away from their field of view. Different designs have offered different solutions. But Atomic Aquatics’s latest design, first introduced with the M1, offers a different and effective solution to bubble interference. This new design, one of several Atomic Aquatics innovations first introduced with the popular M1 model, is constructed from two-tone molded material specially-engineered to steer bubbles away from a diver’s face. Extended areas on both sides provide a wider area of dispersal – perfect for allowing a diver to truly enjoy their dives. This upgrade is a must for photographers. Fits all Atomic second stage models.
M1 Stainless Steel Cave Ring
An important accessory for cave divers, the Atomic Aquatics Cave Ring is designed to work with the M1 regulator. This important tool allows divers to disassemble their regulators underwater during a dive to clean out sand and sediment. Made from stainless steel, the Atomic Aquatics Cave Ring is another innovation that keeps Atomic Aquatics at the top when it comes to diving technology and performance.  This is a popular upgrade for many spearfisherman, too.  It eliminates that 2nd stage hissing caused by the fast flow of water over the inhalation diaphragm while racing your buddy to the bottom.

Deluxe Padded Regulator Bag
You’ve made a wise investment purchasing an Atomic Aquatics regulator. We want to help you protect your regulator so you can enjoy diving with it for years to come. The Regulator Bag is spacious and built for any model Atomic Aquatics regulator.  I have 2 of these bags.  I use one as a photo bag and the other for a regulator bag with enough extra space to accommodate most of my save-a-dive kit items.

Nov

22

Oceanic VT4.0 – Scuba Diving Magazine Gear of the Year

The Oceanic VT4.0 was featured in the most recent issue of Scuba Diving Magazine and was one of only three dive computers in the whole industry to be awarded with ScubaLab’s coveted Testers Choice, Best Buy and Editor’s Choice designations. The VT4.0′s easy to read display and intuitive menu system have been earning it a great reputation since its release. Oceanic’s patented Dual Algorithm was specially pointed out, a feature that separates Oceanic’s dive computers from the rest. Here’s what they had to say about the VT4.0: “Featuring a wide array of user settings at a reasonable price, ­Oceanic’s new VT 4.0 was an easy ­selection for ­Testers’ Choice. The VT4.0 includes a sweet-looking three-axis digital compass, the ability to mon