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Member Since 26 Jun 2006
Offline Last Active Mar 09 2015 06:24 PM

#350968 Hammerheads

Posted by divengolf on 30 July 2014 - 04:06 PM

Just got back from Cocos on Sea Hunter and I can affirm what matt215 said above. It was el nino conditions and the water was warm. Around 82F. The guides said that the hammer action was down due to el nino. We saw a good number of scalloped hammers, white tips, black tips, a couple silver tips, 5-10 tigers and a whale shark at Dos Amigos (Small). Diving from the rigid pangas makes a big difference for an old guy like me. Definitely easier that a zodiac. The water was kind of murky and good photos were tough unless they came right to you, which did happen. Diving is deep, generally starting at 100-110 feet, definitely on nitrox 32. Three dives a day. Watch your nitrogen loading. We had a couple folks end up on oxygen due to symptoms of skin bends. They were diving within the NDL limits of their computers, but got mild hits anyway. No long term effects.


It's 36 hours each way from the mainland. Fortunately we had mild conditions both ways. Not always the case.


Crew is excellent and boat is very comfortable. They are running the Sea Hunter and Argo to Cocos. I don't believe that they are using the Undersea Hunter for that itinerary any longer. Combination of older vessel and lower demand for the trip.


If you're planning on 2015, you need to get moving. These trips book up early. At least the Undersea Group does.

#350730 Upgrade to YS-D1 or Z240-Questions

Posted by divengolf on 23 July 2014 - 04:04 PM

I started this thread a couple months ago. Just completed a trip to Cocos Is. with my new YS-D1s and am quite pleased with the result. No problem with the FO cable coming loose from the strobe-concern was obviously unwarranted.


Minor problem with the FO cable coming loose from the bulkhead. This occurred mostly when handling in the zodiac. Simply reinserted it into the bulkhead connection. I plan to engineer a small clip to hold the FO cable at the bulkhead in place before my next trip.


The one nit that I experienced was that the rotary switches were too easy to rotate. They frequently got knocked out of position while being handled by the boat crew. The detent positions just are not strong enough for the intended use. I had to check and reset the switches when entering the water on every dive once I figured out why the strobes were not firing.


Batteries were changed every two dives with no sign of reduced capacity. Camera battery lasted the entire day. 


These are powerful strobes, more than my old DS-125s or at least it appeared so to me. Plus they are somewhat lighter. Made my rig a bit easier to handle above water.


And using AA batteries rather than a proprietary battery pack makes things a bit easier. One less charger to carry since I carry a AA charger anyway.


Shot with manual strobes the entire trip. Lots of flexibility with 11 power settings. No problem with syncing up with my D7000.


Very happy with this strobe.


Thanks to all who posted to this thread.

#350011 Traveling with underwater camera to international destination - packing tips...

Posted by divengolf on 08 July 2014 - 08:05 AM

I recently went to Bali from US (IAD) via Qatar airlines. Did not see anything weighed at any point in the trip.

I take a somewhat different tact from above. I check two bags at 23 kg each, one with mostly dive gear and clothes, the other is a carry-on size bag inside a large rolling duffle. The second bag has my housing, strobes, and all accessories except cameras and lenses. I pack wetsuits around the carry-on for added protection. Since it's not an obvious high value bag, I.e. Pelican, I've never had a problem with it. Even TSA doesn't go into it anymore.

I carry on all my cameras, lenses, chips and other similar stuff. I also have a high value reg that I carry on as well. Put all your heavy carry on stuff in your reg bag. It looks like a computer bag and never gets questioned. Mine weighs about 35#. Plus my backpack weighs about 30#, but I don't overload it, so it never gets attention as well.

I have all risk insurance on all of my photo gear, so losing it isn't a financial worry. But that would make for a lousy dive trip. Maybe I've been fortunate, but have never lost a bag and have only had bags delayed on the way home.

I used to carry on a Pelican with all the essentials, but age (now 68) and back injury now makes that less of a option.

#344900 Nikon 105vr manual vs auto focus

Posted by divengolf on 23 March 2014 - 04:08 PM

Eagle Ray's point of Back Button Focus is spot on for macro and super-macro shooting. I've shot D70, D90 and currently D7000. On the back of your D200, there is an AF-ON button. Use this to achieve the back button focus and eliminate the focus lock with the shutter. I use it for all my shots, except that on my D7000, I have to program the AF-L button to AF-ON. You don't have to do that. AF is so good these days that I don't know any pros who are using manual focus UW. But I'm sure there are a few.

#339389 Installing Vivid Housings Leak Sentinel V3 on Ikelite Nikon D300s housing?

Posted by divengolf on 13 November 2013 - 03:45 AM

I'd email Miso directly at Vivid Housings. He is most responsive on installation problems.



#334237 Zen minidome for Aquatica - advice required

Posted by divengolf on 12 July 2013 - 09:30 AM



I used numerous ports with the Aquatica housing for the Nikon D70. This was before they had port locking on their housing. Probably did 2-300 dives with it and never had any port or extension ring loosen at all. But I had a mark on the exact top of the port and extension rings, so if anything moved, I'd, hopefully notice it. But it never happened.