Thank for your post - I thought I was the only one having that issue with tightening the XIT legs but it seems that's just the way they work.
Also I've been using the pan method as you describe for some time now just with the plastic supplied with the base and find that it works well mostlly when a subject moves and you don't want to dick around adjusting the legs.
Lights were a bit of a nightmare on that trip. I had planned to use a couple of Archon W42VRs but the charger packed it in so tried using a second hand pair of Sola 4000s that I had bought but they were a bit of a disaster (the batteries were pretty much shot) so I ended up using my trusty Sola 2000s for most of the dives.
This was my last trip using the Canon HFG10 in L&M housing. My needs have outgrown the capabilities of my equipment so I've now upgraded to a panasonic GH4 in Nauticam housing. I am off to Anilao in a fortnight so it will be interesting to see the results
I am using the GH4 as well and I find that assigning the Peaking, Zebras and Histogram to function buttons allows you to switch them on and off at will so that once you have your exposure and focus you can quickly turn them off and concentrate on framing.