It was suddenly useless. There was no alternative. I was going to have to go into a dive shop and buy another.
Yes, me! I was going to have to buy some diving equipment and I was going to have to phone my credit-card company to explain that there was going to be an unusual transaction.
I should explain that I was in America, a land where dive shops are nothing like the humble places of business to which we Brits are accustomed. I went to Divers Direct in Key Largo. The place looks as if it could accommodate a Space Shuttle. British Airways uses smaller buildings to service its jumbo jets.
So I asked if it had any dive bags, and was directed past acres of aisles full of goodies.
A 10-minute stroll later, I came to where a selection of perhaps 50 different bags awaited me, all black, and all looking very similar.
The technological advance of adding wheels to dive-bags and suitcases has always troubled me. How come it took a couple of millennia or more, since the invention of the wheel, for someone to marry the idea to a bag?
Why didnt the Romans put wheels on their sacks Is it because its only recently that we've had to manhandle our own luggage
Or was it because dive-bags were invented by the Incas If so, no wonder Francisco Pizarro managed to steal their empire from them with no more than 18 men and some horses and carts.
I wanted a bag that I could roll through Miami Airport when the time came. This reduced my choice to about 25, and I finally settled on the TUSA RB-8.
The British importer can reflect on the fact that one of the few items of dive kit I have bought in 15 years or more is something it brings into the UK.
The RB-8 has an extending handle that works in conjunction with its wheels, which are on a chassis with a scuff-plate. It has a heavy-duty zip that runs around three sides of the bag, including the two long sides, so that the whole thing opens up for easy access.
There is an additional zipped pocket on the outside that reflects the major dimensions of the bag, and into which things like towels can go. Four compression straps fastened with big pinch-clips at the sides take the strain off the zip once the RB-8 is packed. There are carrying handles on the top, and along one side.
The space inside is simply cavernous. I was able to fit all my diving kit, including fins in the largest size, a big technical diving wing-style BC built to military specifications (and bulk), a thick wetsuit big enough to encompass me, and my regulators, reel and everything else.
The inner lining can be unzipped and removed for cleaning, and this has two independent zipped sections for small items that you might prefer to isolate from the rest of the bags contents. There are also two straps inside that can be unclipped, and a zipped net section inside the lid.
The sides are reinforced to withstand other bags being loaded on top within an aircrafts hold, yet there seemed to be no serious weight imposition. I confess that the bag weighed 4.5kg before I got to put anything in it, and thats 1.5kg more than the bag it replaced.
It was unfortunate (for me) that the RB-8 also appears to cost more in the States than it does in the UK.

SPECS
PRICE £129
DIMENSIONS 66 x 146 x 33cm
STORAGE SPACE 100 litres (manufacturers figure)
WEIGHT 4.5kg
MATERIAL 1650/900D Nylon
ZIPS Heavy-duty YKK
CONTACT www.cpspartnership.com
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