WETSUIT Oceanic Shadow Lite
I was lucky enough to be invited to Papua New Guinea, a place not known for cold weather but a long, long way from home. Ever mindful of excess baggage charges, I decided to travel as light as I could, which included eschewing my usual comfy 5mm tropical suit and going for something more skimpy.
     The Oceanic Shadow Lite in 3mm form seemed ideal because it would keep my arms and legs safe from man-eating plankton, and if I felt cold I could always add the short-john over the top. I was planning to dive some heavily bombed WW2 wrecks, so the short-john alone was out of the question.
     The Oceanic Shadow Lite is simply a wetsuit. Unlike its 5mm big brother, it has no seals at the wrists or ankles but it does have ankle zips, which helped when it came to squeezing my great plates of meat through.
     The back zip of the full-length suit was separated from my tender sunburnt skin by a wide comfort flap of seal-skin rubber and neatly corresponded to the front zip of the short-john, thus avoiding any direct flushing.
     The suit proved ideal in the warm waters of the Bismarck Sea, although I certainly was not warm enough further south in the Coral Sea (in September) and had to borrow a hood. That was rather stupid of me, because Oceanic does a very nice Shadow hood but I had failed to pack it.
     Heaving myself through some of the holes in gaping rusty metal, I found the attached knee pads very useful, if positioned a little low on the leg. The suit did more than 40 arduous dives, and although you could say that its appearance got wrecked during these activities, not one stitch came undone nor did it become abraded in any way.
     It kept me warm for hour-long dives and I also earned the advantage of needing less weight than I normally do.
     The Oceanic Shadow Lite comes in a range of off-the-peg sizes, including one to fit my lanky frame. It also provides suits cut to suit more shapely feminine figures, too.
The Oceanic Shadow Lite 3mm suit in two parts costs £148.
  • Oceanic SW 01404 891819, www.oceanicworldwide.com

  • Divernet
    + Hard-wearing
    + Well-made

    - Only for the warmest water - brrrr!