Like you I rarely need to use a compass but normally strap one on just in case. I just set the compass so it points out the direction to shore and so far have never needed to rely on it. I have done compass navigation on a few occasions but never with camera. If I had to I would not mix photography and compass reading but press the camera against my chest and focus on the compass until I reached my destination. In all cases I would have the compass on my wrist. I don't like retractors but if I would do a lot of compass diving then I would consider hooking up the compass to the housing. Perhaps someone can post pictures of ways to do just that.