Manta Divers, December, 2014 Why own our own?
We weathered our first snow of the year and are hopefully moving toward acceptance of the inevitable cold weather. One way I cope is to plan a few winter dive excursions. For example, Team Manta is looking forward to enjoying the warmth and sun of Bonaire in January and Saba and St. Kitts in April. One does not have to leave the country to enjoy diving, however. If you look hard, you will find spots not all that far from home for quick, wet getaways. On our last dive adventure, though, my experience reinforced my firm belief in having your own dive gear.
The Dive Equipment and Manufacturing Association, (DEMA), hosts the dive industry’s biggest trade show, alternating between Orlando and Las Vegas. As luck would have it, this year’s show was in Vegas. Coincidently, my son is going to school at UNLV, so it was a perfect opportunity to combine some business with a visit with my son. Now, one would not think of Las Vegas as a dive spot, but I’d heard that people do dive in Lake Mead. I did a bit of research, found a reputable dive shop and scheduled a charter. As word got out, my older son who lives in Flagstaff, AZ and Neil, our former divemaster both decided to join us on our dive! Our charter was rounded out with a new friend, Doug, from New York.
If you’ve been following the shop news, you are aware we have been holding our annual purging of rental gear. In anticipation of the arrival of many new products, fresh from DEMA, we have been particularly aggressive, and in doing so, managed to sell my BC and regulator! That meant that for the first time in 17 years I had to rent gear! Upon our arrival in Vegas, Mike and I went to Scuba Views to try stuff on and check out the shop. The Scuba Views shop was somewhat disheveled, with displays half assembled and stock hung haphazardly on the walls. I had to cut them slack however, as I learned that not only had they just moved into this new location, but they had rented nearly all of their gear to PADI for the course director’s review. (Good thing I stopped in early!). I was fitted with a new BC and set up for my dives. Bill offered to bring my gear with him when he met us on Saturday saving me the bother of lugging one more piece of gear!
Saturday morning we picked up our boys and headed to the marina. Our friend Neil and our 5th diver, Doug were there already. Bill from the shop was busy unpacking his truck. I had expected his partner to be there helping, but Bill explained that his helper had hurt his back unpacking all the gear that PADI had rented and he was unable to come. (I’ve been there many times!) We all pitched in and started to haul the gear to the boat. As we loaded the carts, I did not find my BC. I asked Bill and immediately, his crestfallen expression told me that in his haste, he forgotten it. Fortunately, there is another dive shop not far from the lake, so I was off to rent another BC!
The BC’s they had were well used; faded and old. I selected one and tried it on for size and verified that everything worked properly. Once I was satisfied, we were headed back to the marina. Everyone was waiting, so we quickly boarded and were off. We all introduced ourselves and I caught up with the latest news from Neil. Soon it was time to set up our gear. I assembled my kit but only then did I realize that not only was my rental BC old and faded, it was not weight integrated. Since there was not a weightbelt available on the boat and I decided it would not be worth the risk to put the weight in BC pockets, I figured I would not be diving. Ever thoughtful, Mike offered to sit out the dive and allow me to use his kit. It was quite big, but thankfully, I was able to adjust it well enough to enjoy the dive.
After our giant strides into the lake, Bill waited patiently while we adjusted our weights. Once we were set, we headed down. Our dive was planned to 80ft. and unlike the situation here, we did not have to go through a thermocline to get there. The water was a steady 68F the entire dive. I guess I could have gotten by with a wetsuit, but I was still happy that I guaranteed my warmth by wearing my drysuit. Lake Mead is much like our lakes around here, but clearer and with fewer fish. The rocks are all covered with Quaaga mussels, not unlike our lakes! Bill was a patient and attentive dive leader, checking that we were all comfortable throughout the dive.
All in all, we had a great day and the dives were fun. I was just so happy to be back under the water, even if it was not the Caribbean. However, due to the snafu with the BC, I could have lost out. Owning your own gear increases your comfort and decreases stress. You have muscle memory that allows you to locate your dump valves and weight releases instantly. You have confidence that your gear is well maintained and functioning properly. You know that it fits you. There are so many reasons to own your own gear, and not the least of these is that you will not be left on the deck without a weight belt while everyone else is underwater!
In Other News…………….
Manta Divers is thrilled to announce that we are now a Scuba Pro Dealer! We welcome all of Scuba Pro’s fine diving products into our shop and hope you will stop in and take a look. Best of all, with every premium regulator combo, BC and Octo or Air 2 purchased, Scuba Pro will throw in either a Meridian or Chromis wrist watch-style dive computer($519 value) FREE! (See, more motivation to buy your own gear.) Check it out here!
Fresh from the DEMA show, Manta Divers is also bringing in the Liquivision brand of dive computer. They have gotten rave reviews from customers enamored by the colorful OLED screen and tap technology to move through the menus. Best of all, not only can the Lynx air integrated computer monitor your air hoselessly it can monitor your buddy’s air at the same time. In fact, this amazing instrument can even help to locate a missing buddy! Stop in and take a look. Put this one on your Christmas list.
Anyone interested in learning to dive with Nitrox should stop in and sign up for the Dec. 16 course. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to study. Learn how to extend you bottom times and leave yourself with a bit more energy at the end of your dive day!
Don’t forget that fees must be paid ahead of time if you are planning to participate in the Jan 10-11 Buoyancy Clinic. This is a very popular course for anyone who wants to practice with new gear, brush up their skills in preparation for a trip or just simply get wet. Join us for a fun day!