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REGULATOR Mares Loop 15X

Appeared in DIVER May 2017
Sometimes a good idea falls by the wayside because it's ahead of its time. The ambidextrous regulator is now back, and NIGELWADE reckons it could be set for its day in the sun

LIGHT Bigblue TL 3100P Supreme

Appeared in DIVER May 2017
THESE PAGES HAVE BEEN FESTOONED with dive-torches recently, and for good reason; there are so many new hi-tec LED lights delivering outlandish lumens with unheard-of run-times around that buyers can easily become confused.
My role is to help readers to see the wood for the trees by evaluating contenders. This month I've picked a dive-light from the Bigblue line-up called the TL3100P Supreme, which boasts potentially impressive outputs.

MASK Aqua Lung Reveal X1

Appeared in DIVER May 2017
ANOTHER MONTH, ANOTHER MASK - this one a single-lens design. It carries the Reveal X1 designation and it was adorning my craggy old fizzog for some late-winter UK diving.

COMPUTER Suunto D6i Novo Zulu

Appeared in DIVER May 2017
GONE ARE THE DAYS when we calculated our dives using US Navy tables, run-times and slates. The modern diver relies almost exclusively on micro-processors and ingenious software to calculate real-time, risk-critical no-deco times during both the underwater and subsequent surface phases of single and repetitive dives.
Finnish sports-instrument maker Suunto has been producing wristwatch-style dive-computers for what seems like eons, and its models are a popular choice with divers around the globe.
It has recently refreshed its D-series with fashionable colour schemes in the Novo range, and has now added a durable NATO-style strap to its D6i model, in a combo called the D6i Novo Zulu. It was my companion for an overdue test on a liveaboard trip in the Indian Ocean.

DIVE LIGHT OrcaTorch D620 Canister Light

Appeared in DIVER April 2017
NOT TOO MANY YEARS AGO, I purchased a German state-of-the-art umbilical dive torch.
It featured a high-intensity gas discharge tube (HID), delivering what was claimed at the time to be the highest light output on the market and, with a huge bank of nickel-metal hydride (ni-mh) batteries, boasted a "whopping" burntime of 60 minutes.
I can remember cringing when I parted with just under a grand for this torch, but it served me well for more than a few seasons of deep, dark technical diving.
Alas, today this monster of a torch is gathering dust in my workshop. Why? Because that 60-minute burntime and 300 lumens of light it delivers is so yesterday.
Today we can enjoy torches with smaller battery-packs providing long-lasting power to LED light-heads that deliver lumens stretching to four or five figures.
UK distributor Sea & Sea sent me a torch to put through the DIVER Test treadmill that on paper would leave my old HID model floundering in the dark.


Appeared in DIVER April 2017
IT HAD BEEN A REALLY COLD WINTER, the grey sky producing sustained snow, but the air temperature had risen a few degrees over the past week, causing the thick ice covering the surface at Wraysbury to all but disappear. Chilly meltwater infused the lake, and dropped the temperature to a bitter 3C.
Dive-centre owner Richard Major and I were under water on a training platform assessing the inwater skills of our drysuit students when my regulator started to gradually over-deliver gas.
Very quickly this over-delivery progressed to an unstoppable freeflow, and although I had no problem breathing, it was obvious that I'd have to abort the dive and head for the surface.
I ascended as the tank contents disappeared in a cloud of bubbles.
What had just happened? The first stage had become encased in a solid lump of ice, freezing the diaphragm open and causing the increased intermediate pressure to overcome the second-stage valve. For the record, the ancient Poseidon regulator I was using didn't have its coldwater kit installed - 'my bad'.
However, this wasn't an isolated incident. During periods of cold weather it was commonplace to hear the distinct sound of freeflowing regulators around the lake, invariably accompanied by loud expletives.
UK regulator-maker Apeks' latest coldwater model has been developed in accordance with the US Navy Experimental Dive Unit extreme coldwater test. It's called the MTX-R, and is said to perform in almost-freezing conditions. Doh! I'd have to wrap up warm and brave the winter waters to well and truly test it.

WETSUIT Fourth Element Proteus II 3mm

Appeared in DIVER April 2017
EXPOSURE SUITS AREN'T ALL ABOUT KEEPING WARM; they protect wearers' skin from the harmful UV radiation emitted by the sun when at the surface, and also provide excellent protection from underwater stingers such as jellyfish and hydroids.
There is one other factor that only the vain (like me) will take into consideration – they need to look good. There's no point in appearing as if you've been dragged out of a time machine wearing the same style of frogman suit as Commander Crabb.
The good news is that exposure suits have evolved through this century into stylish garments that can appease even the most fastidious followers of fashion.
UK specialist Fourth Element has acquired a reputation for producing technically inspired, functional yet stylish dive-wear, and has recently released the second incarnation of its popular Proteus wetsuit, unimaginatively named the Proteus II.


Appeared in DIVER April 2017
I'VE BEEN TRAWLING THROUGH SOME recent test pages, and realised that I haven't included a mask since the December issue! So my apologies to regular readers who might have been shadowing my long-running love affair with this vital and sometimes maligned piece of dive kit.
Now I've been sent a mask from those masters of style and fashion - the Italians. Appropriately it's named the Italia, and it's the flagship model from the Seac stables.

COMPUTER Aqua Lung i750TC

Appeared in DIVER March 2017
MODERN DIVE-COMPUTERS employ cutting-edge software to deliver crucial information to the user before, during and after the dive.
Some models can also supply non-essential information ...


Appeared in DIVER March 2017
HAVE YOU SEEN OPEN WATER? It's a chilling film about two scuba-divers lost at sea after becoming separated from their dive-boat, designed to get divers' hearts racing as they witness the ...

Regulator Zeagle Onyx II

Appeared in DIVER March 2017
IT'S TIME FOR ANOTHER REGULATOR TEST, this time in the warm Caribbean waters of the Grenadines. You may be thinking that it's not the ideal place for testing a regulator with coldwater ca...


Appeared in DIVER February 2017
HOWEVER COLD THE WINTER, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to pack our dive-gear away and wait for spring sunshine or a tropical holiday before it sees the light of day again.


Appeared in DIVER February 2017
WE'VE NEVER BEEN MORE SPOILED FOR CHOICE - or more confused – when looking to purchase, upgrade or replace a dive-light. The lighting technology juggernaut seems to be unstoppable, with...

BAG OVERBOARD Padded Camera Accessory BAG / 30l Dry Tube

Appeared in DIVER February 2017
TAKING TOPSIDE CAMERA GEAR onto the beach or onto small dive-boats has always been problematic for me. Sensitive imaging tools don’t take kindly to knocks or saltwater spray, and are de...

BC SEAC Pro 2000

Appeared in DIVER February 2017
SEAC HAS NOW DEVELOPED THE FOURTH GENERATION of its flagship Pro 2000, the original version of which was launched last century, heralding a new era for the Italian dive-gear maker.

KENT TOOLING REEL 50m Composite Ratchet Reel

Appeared in DIVER January 2017
I recently had the privilege of being a guest at one of London's most iconic structures, Tower Bridge. We went into the engine-rooms, with the enormous coal-fired, steam-driven motors tha...


Appeared in DIVER January 2017
After a career spanning more than 30 years as a professional firefighter, I’m only too aware of how important it is to know how much gas is available to breathe from a cylinder.


Appeared in DIVER January 2017
I've tested several very complicated dive-computers over the past year. Most have been high-end, full-on technical mixed-gas contraptions capable of calculating decompression profiles for...

LUGGAGE Aqua lung Explorer duffel

Appeared in DIVER January 2017
At this time of year, some of us will be escaping the depressing UK winter and heading to tropical destinations with the promise of sun, crystal seas, spectacular reefs and perhaps a post...

BOOTS AQUA LUNG Superzip Ergo Elite 5mm

Appeared in DIVER December 2016
TRAWLING THROUGH THE PAST THREE YEARS of the tests we've carried out, I realised that in that time I can count on one hand, in fact two fingers, the number of pairs of wetsuit boots that ...