Gearing Up for Scuba Diving With Spandex and Velcro
Heading down south almost always means packing for scuba diving. Having survived the bathing suit experience, the next challenge is always to sort through diving gear for our trip. Thanks god for Spandex and Velcro!
While we love to lounge on the beach, we often try to get back in the water and scuba, if only for some swimming exercise. It is often far too long since we last dove. David will need to give me a quick lesson as I feel like I have forgotten everything I ever learned, except the certainty that I can indeed breathe under the water. Having dived professionally for over 35 years, David could jump back in the water with little thought. I always keep my dive buddy close by.
We started with the easy gear – mask, fins, snorkel and ankle weights – checking to ensure they were still in good shape after too long in storage. One set for me, one set for David and leaving behind multiple duplicates from outfitting friends and kids over the years.
My full body suit wetsuit (steamer) was first! I got into my swimsuit and pulled out the stretchy steamer. For Caribbean diving I only needed my 3mm suit, so I was hopeful that this thinner, well worn suit would still have some stretch left it in.
The advantage of investing in a woman’s curvy scuba suit with high stretch spandex was that it would be forgiving of ups and downs. Nobody was more surprised than me to find that the suit rolled over the rolls and zipped up the back, with nary a seam popping sound. I twisted and turned and breathed deep and I was still in the game. Feeling lucky, I tried on my thin full body shell and it too passed the test. Oh thank you Spandex™.
Next came my BCD. My rather generous top meant that most rental equipment never came close to fitting. Dive shop operators generally took one look at me and tried to put me in a man’s extra large – that might fit around me but floated off of me before too long in the water. Years before I had invested in a great woman’s BCD that fit over the curves properly and provided all the functions that this risk adverse adventurer wanted in something that might save my life. I re-familiarized myself with the straps and buckles and shucked it onto my shoulders. So far so good. The real test would be doing up the buckles. Holding my breath I put the band around my middle and without breathing I could just get the tips of the velcro together – but with the Velcro in place, I could buckle the waist strap. I failed David’s “breathe deep” test though.
Fortunately, my BCD was prepared for just this situation. The waist band still had some room to be moved looser and after another adjustment, the BCD could be strapped on. While snug, it would not constrict my breathing. Oh thank you Velcro™.
Have you ever tried to squeeze into rented scuba gear? Do you worship at the alter of Spandex and Velcro? Do you now take your own key scuba gear with you when you travel?