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SCUBA-L  October 2001, Week 4

SCUBA-L October 2001, Week 4

Subject:

Re: SCUBA newcomer questions

From:

David Strike <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 23 Oct 2001 12:20:49 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (214 lines)

On Tuesday, October 23, 2001 10:21 AM, Catalin Braescu wrote:


> Let me introduce you myself. My name is Catalin Braescu, 31 yo, located in
> Bucharest - Romania (Eastern Europe). While I earn my bread working for a
> web development boutique, I enjoy the sea life and always wished to
practice
> scuba diving. I took some scuba lessons about 12 years ago, but it seems
as
> far as into another life to me.

G'Day, Catalin!  :-)

> So I consider that, for good reason, I am a complete newcomer to the
field.
> Please don't get tough on my following issues and questions.

As it seems to have been 12 years since you took those lessons, you may well
have forgotten much of what you were taught.  That being the case, the very
first thing that, it seems to me, you should consider doing is - at the very
least - taking a refresher programme and brushing up on all of the necessary
skills - and the theory!  :-)

While you may well feel comfortable hopping straight back into the water,
it's quite likely that, lacking the opportunity for practice, many of those
skills are no longer second nature to you.  You'll certainly enjoy the
experience far more if you invest time and a little money in updating your
knowledge.  Apart from anything else, re-taking the course will give you
added confidence in your abilities; bring you up to speed with developments
in basic techniques; and help you in choosing equipment that meets your
needs.  :-)

> I just bought some diving equipment from Budapest (Hungary). I spent some
> money on it (quite consistently given my salary level) and (because it is
> not complete nor very known to me) I need some hints from you.

First off, cost should never be an issue when it comes to buying diving
equipment.  After that, fit and comfort are all important.  Although it is
possible to get some good second-hand bargains, quite often you may simply
be either inheriting somebody else's problems; or choosing equipment that's
not perfectly suited to your needs.

Ideally have all of the equipment checked by a suitably qualified equipment
specialist:  Preferably one who works with a local dive store that you know
and trust!  :-)

> --------------------------------------------------------------

> 1. Wet suit.
> 1.1. ISSUE: I bought a second-hand wet suit called Camaro
> http://www.camaro.at/indexe.htm. The suit itself looks in very good shape.
I
> can't recognize model but looks similar to Camaro Tropical Suit Bonair.
> 1.2. QUESTION: How is this brand? How do you find the price?
> 1.3. COST: $225 (second-hand)

Leaving cost out of the equation, Does the suit fit properly?  Make certain
that it's not too tight across the diaphragm - or the chest area!  Ensure
that it fits snugly without any loose pockets where cold water can gather,
and that it offers the appropriate thermal protection for the conditions
where you intend to do most of your diving.  Check the seams for wear and
look for signs of abrasion. Check the zips and that the 'teeth' aren't
damaged.

> 2. Mask.
> 2.1. ISSUE: I bought a Cressi-Sub mask http://www.cressi-sub.it/ The mask
> looks modest but good.
> 2.2. QUESTION: How is this brand?
> 2.3. COST: $25 (brand new)

Masks are a very personal item.  Does it fit well around you face?  Does it
seal effectively?  Is it comfortable?  Does it offer good field of vision?
Is it low-volume? (i.e. The less air volume in the mask the less water to
clear should it become flooded or dislodged.)  Is the nose-pocket easily
accessed - even when wearing a glove?  Can the retaining straps be easily
adjusted? etc. :-)

> 3. Fins.
> 3.1. ISSUE: I don't have decent fins so I must buy a new pair.
> 3.2. QUESTION: I intend to buy long fins with open heel, priced about
> $25-to-60. What will be your choice (and why)?
> 3.3. COST: -

The choice of fin-types is often based on where you'll be doing most of your
diving.  If you intend to do a lot of shore diving then the open heel type -
worn with booties - are ideal.  (When buying make sure that they fit
properly by trying them on wearing the same booties as you'll be using when
diving.  Pinched toes have a habit of focussing attention away from the dive
and on to personal discomfort!) :-)

Long-bladed fins can be great for free-diving, snorkelling, or speedy
surface swimming, but they're not always the best for underwater mobility
where the emphasis should be on slow, steady finning.

Ideally try a variety of different types before buying your own.  It'll give
you a better idea of what suits your finning style and the power needed to
use each effectively.

Given that prices vary between countries, I'm not in a position to say what
you might or might not get for $25 - $60 in Romania.  Here in Oz, a good set
of fins certainly cost more!  :-)

> 4. Tank.
> 4.1. ISSUE: I bought a second-hand 12-liter aluminium tank manufactured in
> 1999. Can't identify the original manufacturer.
> 4.2. QUESTION: What's the expected lifetime of such tank (I don't like the
> idea of carrying a time bomb on my back)? How can I identify the original
> manufacturer? How do you find the price?
> 4.3. COST: $150 (second-hand)

The best advice that I can think of to give, is that before you even
consider using a second-hand cylinder that you try and ascertain its history
and that you have it properly inspected and tested by a cylinder inspection
facility.  In most instances the tank should carry markings below the neck
indicating manufactuer, manufacturing date, fill and test pressures, etc.
Also have the cylinder valve checked and serviced at the same time.

> 5. Regulator.
> 5.1. ISSUE: I bought a Colitri Sub http://www.coltrisub.it/  regulator
model
> Ocean C30 INT (featured here
> http://www.coltrisub.it/catalogo/erogatori/pag17.htm ). Looks a bit cheap.
> 5.2. QUESTION: Are they still in business (their online catalogue specify
> "copyright 1999")? How do you rate the brand? How do you rate the model?
How
> do you find the price?
> 5.3.COST: $135 (brand new)

Ideally try a variety of regulators before committing yourself to a
purchase.  Also remember that you'll generally be expected to have a back-up
second-stage.  Also consider ease and availability of having it serviced.

> 6. Buoyancy Jacket.
> 6.1. ISSUE: I don't have such item at all. That store offered me brand-new
> nylon jacket for $330 or second-hand nylon jacket for $200
> 6.2. QUESTION: How do you find the prices? What should I look for? What
> would be your budget choice (and why)?
> 6.3. COST: -

Go with a known manufacturer.  Ensure that the BCD is the correct size for
your build; that it offers the buoyancy that you require; that the
inflation/deflation controls are easily managed and function properly; and
that the outer fabric is tough enough to withstand the treatment that it's
likely to receive without allowing damage to the bladder.

> 7. Fitting item (??)
> 7.1. ISSUE: The regulator cannot fit into the tank valve. It seems between
> them must be placed an item whose name I don't know.
> 7.2. QUESTION: What is this item called? What would be a normal price for
> it?
> 7.3. COST: -

From what you say, it sounds as though either the regulator or the tank
valve has a DIN fitting. If it's the regulator, then you can buy an adaptor
that allows the DIN fitting to connect to a flat-faced 'K'-valve on the
cylinder.  (They're ideal for travelling divers, but where it's your own
equipment have regulator and cylinder valve to the same compatible
standard.)

> 8. Instruments.
> 8.1. ISSUE: Underwater or not, I must be able to control the air pressure
> within the tank (and perhaps perfomr other checkings).
> 8.2. QUESTION: What instruments do I need? Where will they be
> fitted/located? What brand should I look for? What prices should I expect?
> 8.3. COST: -

You'll certainly need a Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG) to monitor the
cylinder contents.  This will be plumbed directly into the first-stage.
After that the choice is yours as to whether to have console-mounted or
wrist-mounted:  Depth gauge; timing device (both very important), and a
compass.  There are digital depth/bottom timer devices available to help
reduce the number of instruments carried.  Check out the UWATEC and Suunto
ranges of instruments.  You may later also want to invest in a computer.

> --------------------------------------------------------------

> Those were all my important questions. As you perhaps already understand I
> lack some basic knowledge about the equipment. I am not lazy and at first
I
> went to web sites but, lacking basic information, I was unable to
> distinguish between what's good and what's not, between what's required
and
> what's just fancy. I humble ask you to educate me a bit.

Catalin!  Without wishing to labour the point, it does seem to me that a
great many of your questions would be more properly dealt with were you to
take that refresher course!  :-)

> Also please notice I intend to perform scuba diving in Black Sea, Red Sea
> and Mediterrana, at no more than 15...40 meters (i.e., 50...130  feet)
> depth. I assume it's moderate depth and also moderate-to-warm water
> temperature.

Personally, I regard anything below 10-metres as Deep Diving! :-)  As you
haven't been diving in a long while you really should be spending a lot of
time in those shallower depths becoming re-acclimatised to diving before
attempting any dives to 40-metres.  Are you intending to go on these trips
by yourself?  Or will you be part of a group that already dives?  Whatever!
Don't be pressurised into carrying out dives that you're not properly
equipped or trained for, or go to places and depths that your brain hasn't
been to half-an-hour before!  :-)

>These, together with a rather tight budget, are my main
> constraints when looking for an item to buy.

Remember that safety doesn't have a price-tag attached!  :-)

> I hope my request is not completely out of context.

Not at all! But don't regard any responses that you receive as being
definitive answers.  This is, after all, cyberspace! :-)

Strike

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