I reflected on this as we bobbed at the surface in a very remote part of the Sulu Sea, confident that my yellow surface flag was distinctly visible to our pick-up boat while it was a long way off recovering other divers.
It was going to be a bit of a wait, and while I hung in armchair comfort, my buddy cursed the fact that his trendy wing was constantly trying to force him to float face-forwards.
I was using a massive 15-litre tank together with several weights in the integrated-weight system, yet I was supported more than adequately at the surface, and the BC became part of me while I was under water.
The problem is that some BCs may lift adequately, but they also flap and make the diver anything but sleek. When you’re trying to chase a course that will allow you to ambush (with your camera) a travelling turtle or manta, you need to slip through the water like a very slippery thing.
I was using the Seac Guru, an economically priced BC that I found perfect for the job I needed it to do. That is, to work in tropical water in conjunction with a 3mm wetsuit.

What You Get
The Guru is constructed with an outer bladder of PU-coated 1000-denier Cordura. The inner bladder is made in the same way. Its inverted T-shape is mounted onto a lightweight plastic backpack such that there’s no torso squeeze when it’s fully inflated. A slim cushion takes care of comfort.
The sternum-strap comes with a choice of two mounting positions, and the waist is closed with a conventional two-part cummerbund held closed with Velcro, and a wide webbing belt fastened
with a big pinch-clip.
There are two capacious pockets closed with YKK zips that have toggles to make them easy to find and operate under water, and four big stainless-steel D-rings which, together with two smaller ones,
can be used for attaching whatever suits you.
Integrated weights are taken care of by two zipped pockets that mount onto what Seac calls its SWS weight-pocket system. This is backed up by a healthy layer of Velcro.

Buoyancy Control
As usual, I tucked the corrugated hose with its direct feed through the sternum-strap so that it was held close to my body, and I knew where it was at all times. I could squirt a bit of air in when I needed to do so, and dump by pulling on the corrugated hose when the time came.
There was also a dump-valve at the opposite shoulder, operated by a toggle on the end of a pull-cord, and another at the lower back for quick head-down descents.
I found the cords a bit too long, so I shortened them simply by tying a knot along their length.

The Snag
So there you have it – perfection. Or rather, the Seac Guru was perfect until the point when I caught a weight-pocket release on a bit of rock that was sticking up proud of the surface, as I tried to get close to a sleeping shark.
Naturally, I felt it go, grabbed it and replaced it. However, the SWS system on that side never seemed as positive as before, and very soon I was relying on nothing more than the Velcro to keep the weight-pocket in place.
It was a few dives later that the pocket went missing, and it happened as I pulled the BC and tank over my head before passing it up to the boatman after a dive.
I resorted to sticking the replacement 3kg of lead in the zipped pocket on that side instead. I really believe in carrying the minimum amount of ballast and felt that, should the need arise, the quick release of the 3kg on the other side would do what was necessary.
So close, Seac, but no cigar.

Mares Prestige MRS, £298
Scubapro Equator, £315
Aqua Lung Pro LT, £280
Aeris EX300, £295

PRICE £299
DRY WEIGHT 3.7kg (inc hose)
CONTACT www.blandfordsubaqua.co.uk
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