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Shore Diving with a large Camera Rigg

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#1 WashDCLady



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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:35 AM

I will be heading back to Bonarie this coming April and, although a relatively experienced diver (over 170 the past two years) I struggle with a good process for carrying my fins and my rig, then putting my fins on in the surf in this situation. I am pretty fit, but not that big *5"4" 1351b female)

My dive buddy (and husband) has typically needed to carry the rig into the surf for me after I have fins on, but waiting for him while being sloshed about is not the ideal situation, either.

Does anyone have any thoughts regarding "a better mousetrap" here.

Kindest Regards All,


#2 jsmoriss



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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:08 AM


My wife and I both have very large dSLR setups and dive bonaire regularly. Here's our pre and post dive procedure:

- At the hotel (we usually stay at the Carib Inn) we mount the BC to the tanks and load 'em in the back of the pickup. The cameras go on the rear seats. We dunk the wetsuits and put them 1/2 on (just the bottom part) and off we go. A wet wetsuit will keep you nice and cool - just don't let it dry out. :-)

- At the dive site, we recon the entry, put on the wetsuits and tanks (make sure there's a little air in the BC), put the mask on our forehead, grab the camera in one hand (our setup weighs a ton, but what're you gonna do) and the fins in the other.

- At the water's edge, put the fins between your legs and use your free hand to put your mask and regulator in place. Grab the fins again and walk as far as you can while keeping the camera above water. Dunk the camera and stick your head underwater and check for leaks/bubbles. If it's all good, walk a bit farther and let yourself float. Put on your fins - if you have spring-type straps this is very quick.

- Let the air out of your BC and off you go. We like to start the dive shallow to catch all the goodies in the shallows.

- Post dive it's pretty much the same. Stay underwater until your in the 4-5 foot range, than take off your fins, plant your feet, and walk out.

- We usually drop the tanks in the pickup (leaving the BCs on) and climb aboard to take off our wetsuits. That way you avoid picking up too much sand. If you bring along big 2L pop bottle with water in them, you can rinse off.

- When we get back to the hotel, we pop the wetsuits in the rinse tank, remove the BCs from the tanks, etc., etc.

We've done countless dives in Bonaire, and haven't seen anyone else that goes in or gets out faster then us. We also stay down longer, but that's another story... :-)

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#3 boydski



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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:20 AM

Hi Donna,

We do quite a bit of shore diving in Cold Water (drysuits, double steel tanks) with my 25 lbs. Camera.

I enter the water along with my buddy, carrying my fins and camera. I hand the camera to my buddy to hold while I put on my fins, then I put thier fins on for them (since they are being nice and holding my beast) , then get my camera back. This works very well for me as long as the waves aren't huge.

I often reverse this process when getting back up into my dive boat. Hand the camera to a buddy, take my fins off, climb the ladder, drop my gear, pick up the camera, then pull my ever so helpful buddie's fins off for them. :blush:

#4 WashDCLady



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Posted 17 December 2007 - 02:52 PM

These are EXCELLENT reccomendations; thanks to you both for your suggestions.

I am looking forward to giving these techniques a go in April!

Cheers, and Happy Holidays to you Both!


#5 Steve Williams

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 04:03 PM

Donna -All

Donna's question got me thinking about somehow using the safety sausage as a float to hold the camera rig on beach entries. Sea & Sea is selling a cable that goes between the handles over the top of the housing that serves as a carrying handle. Or you could make one pretty easy. If one could get an inflatable float under the "handle" it might float there as pretty as you please while you get your fins on then when you're ready just swim out, hit the dump and off you go. Good news, it would be a great reason to carry a nice piece of safety gear. Bad news you'd still have to clip you rig off to your BC if you're by yourself or hand it to your buddy to roll the sausage back up once you got all geared up and in deeper water. Might be fun to try once anyway.

Of coure you could just hire the boat. :blush:


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#6 ce4jesus


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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:40 PM

I've got a housed DSLR with TLC Arms. I form an M shape with the arms that have some short ropes at the top of each side of the M. These ropes have a clip that attaches to my upper drings. It sure makes you look like a Christmas tree walking around but it frees up both hands once you're in the water. I also loosen the fin straps enough to loop them over my wrists on my left arm. My mask and snorkel on on top of my head and I'm ready. I usually keep both hands on the handles of the camera to keep it from bouncing around when I enter. Once I'm deep enough to float, I can then put on my fins and off I go.

Edited by ce4jesus, 18 December 2007 - 08:41 PM.

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#7 ChasO2



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Posted 27 December 2007 - 02:16 PM

I put my kit and mask on while on the shore, walk in holding camera rig in one hand fins in the other. If the surf isn't rough I put the camera on the bottom in about waist depth water and with reg in duck down to put fins on and control the camera. When the surf and bottom isn't so forgiving and I'm alone I clip the camera to D ring instead of putting it down. This proved far from elegant when getting back out in heavy surf when once I had to crawl out on hand and knees holding the camera up, not being able to remove my fins as the camera swung around too much when just clipped on.

#8 Balrog


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:50 AM

Was finding my rig a little too negative, couldn't get a proper buoyancy sleeve and hit upon a useful trick by accident. Bought a $0.99 kiddies foam buoyancy tube in KMart and fitted about 6" of it onto the strobe arm. On the surface, the rig is now slightly positive, descend about 5m and the foam crushes just enough to give neutral buoyancy. By 30m the foam is about half its original volume but still not too heavy. Maybe a mix of rigid and crushable foam would be better for deep dives. Have found this very convenient for shore entry unless there's a heavy surf. For boat dives I also like the security of a camera that floats on the surface - just don't let it get too close to the side of the boat!

Edited by Balrog, 28 December 2007 - 02:17 AM.

#9 WashDCLady



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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:40 AM

What a creative group of folks; you all have been fantastic resources. I am sure I will be giving most of these suggestions a go during my 10 days of diving in Bonaire; one or more is sure to be a good fit for me.

Thanks again everyone!!

Donna :excl: