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Everything posted by fdog

  1. Rubber stamped on the back: Copyright 2010 by James Flenner All Rights Reserved Also, Digimarc on everything. All the best, James
  2. I often joke that my business has funded a new wing at the Reno Orthopedic Clinic... Anyway, I am lucky that my multiple knee injuries don't impact diving. However, I do have a custom Henderson wetsuit made for water skiing; it is sized to fit over my knee brace, and has a zipper down the back of the leg from the ankle to just above the brace. All the best, James
  3. The best advice you'll get has nothing to do with the regulator itself: I always encourage a buyer to look first at the dealer and rebuild network where they live and dive. If the only reliable spare parts supply in the region is AquaLung, that makes the decision easy. The next big hint is to pick a brand and model, and stick with it. When your fleet of regulators grows to 6 or more, they will all use the same parts. Most advanced divers with more than 6 regs attend a rebuild class, and end up doing their own servicing, and have common parts is a huge help. Now, on to the "my choice" comments: Another Atomic user. I have nine. The choice for Atomic was easy - they breathe superbly, and have a longer service interval than normal. Also, they are warrantied for life, with no silly "gotchas" like the Scubapro or AquaLung regs, like having to be serviced every year at an authorized dealer (miss one service and no more warranty or free parts, sheesh). ..and I attended the rebuild classes, and carry a spare parts kit, so I could care less if I travel somewhere without repair support! All the best, James
  4. I have had excellent results using the Harry Fox Agency. They have licensing programs for just about any need. My last movie had more than a dozen song clips in it, IIRC it cost me about $300 US to be 100% legal. All the best, James
  5. Derek, nice images, and thanks for posting. It takes some guts to put yourself out there in public. Obviously your team worked because you're here posting about it, eh? As an aside, earlier this year I had two experienced spearfishers in the freediving class I teach. During introductions I always ask "why are you here?" One of the spearos said "I'm here because I want to black out, and I want my buddy to see me black out". At first I was horrified - I mean, talk about being a cowboy! - but as the class progressed, I could see the value for him to actually experience the lead-up to a blackout, and the value in his buddy seeing those small clues, too. I was gratified that they changed many things about their diving because of the class. Again, nice images, keep at it! All the best, James
  6. Oops. I guess I should have answered the question, eh? Yes, I've used the following LCD/OLED screened computers: The Mares is medium sized, and difficult to navigate. I kept referring to the little printed cheat sheet. Underwater it was OK but not intuitive. The Sol is expensive. Honestly it does some nice tricks, is OK in the navigation through screens and options department, but too much $ for what it does. The Uemis has a fantastic screen, is easy to navigate, and seems reliable. You're stuck with Buhlmann, though. And it's huge - just stick a suitcase on your wrist. Predator has a nice sized display that they really don't seem to use as effectively as they should - lots of wasted space. The color change of numbers when something's wrong is nice. Again it's Buhlmann but you can at least modify the gradient factors. The X1 has the smallest case size. Solid as a chunk of aluminum. The display size is the smallest, too, but oddly, seems to impart information better. VPM has a great reputation, and the X1 uses V-Planner. Factory support that makes you swoon. The VR3 worked nicely until it didn't - which was often. I'd rather wear a bottom timer and do Ratio Deco. All these are very expensive (except for the Mares, which is only darn expensive), and mostly are a pretty face on a regular old computer. The Uemis, Predator and X1 make good use of the OLED, and each has something special to offer, but for the recreational diver, I would recommend a regular computer. All the best, James
  7. Given your intro, I'd expect her to need a nitrox computer. For best future proofing, my list would include: Wrist mount Nitrox/air Gauge mode User replaceable battery The one that leaps out at me is the Oceanic Veo 2, which does all that without being hideously expensive. The Suunto Geko (now Zoop) has been my first recommendation in the inexpensive and amazingly reliable department; however, the Suunto algorithm is something you either love or hate (hate in my case, over-the-top conservative for a thinking diver). And it's lacking a gauge mode. Hmm. OK, the Geko does (kinda) have a gauge mode: bend it. Take it on a dive and bend it, and for the rest of the lock-out time it will function as a gauge. Some caveats: Nitek Duo's (and all the variations sold, such as the Zeagle N2ition, Tusa IQ 700, Apeks Quantum, DiveRite Duo, Cressi Archimedes, etc) have a button sealing problem and eventually leak water, shorting out the electronics and generally acting wonky. Vypers will fail by starting to dive without you. It's just a matter of time, usually, 2 years. Hard-core techies will tell you just to use a bottom timer like the Uwatec. This costs as much as the Veo 2 (which HAS a gauge mode for "those kind of dives") and the bottom timer lacks a computer for easy recreational diving. The only watch-sized one I'd consider is the D4. The rest have a terrible track record, I know, I gave up on the Geo/Manta and watched a parade of all the rest, like the Atoms and D9's, go back to the factory for repair. Hope this helps...! All the best, James edit: added the watch sized ones with issues
  8. I have had no issues with any housing with dry gloves. If you have add-on rings that attach to the wrist seal, like DC/Viking/SiTech, here's what I do: Put insulating glove on first, then insert hand into arm of dry suit. This way the wrist seal is over the insulating glove. After zipping up suit, and getting into my rig, snapping on the outer dry glove is one of the last things I do. This allows slow migration of air into the glove, by holding the glove above my shoulder; I'll do this when I'm cold. Or, extending the hand well below me, the glove will promptly shrink wrap, and it becomes easy to do detailed stuff like writing on wetnotes, play with obscure little buttons on cameras, and re-thread line back through the guide slot on a reel... All the best, James
  9. I own 6 different pairs of fins, and choose the fin that's appropriate for the dive. Learning what is the "sweet spot" for each fin design is part of the craft of diving. All the best, James
  10. Good day DDT. My interpretation of the question was "for those that already tech dive, would you do so in the Maldives"? I say this because a vacation is usually too short of timeline to adequately learn the skills for technical diving, so, it would be a skill that you would already have in hand, as you plan your vacation. As far as why dive technical, here's an example: In our town we have a (new-ish) art museum. It's been here for 10 years. Finally last month I went to visit - and I walked away saying "Wow! I had no idea there was this much cool stuff to see - I should have come here sooner". Technical diving - especially in the "easy deco" Tech 1 depths - is the same. We've been bludgeoned - with the myth that all the life worth seeing is in the top 10 meters. There is plenty of amazing life deeper, and some of the most breathtaking dives have been dives like this: . I take umbrage at the implication that technical diving in the Maldives will have divers being bent and dead willy-nilly. To be honest, all my overhead-restricted dives are so much better planned, and carefully executed, than a plain-vanilla recreational dive. I honestly feel safer when in the company of similar mindset divers with real redundancy. Try it! ...you might like it. All the best, James
  11. Another vote for image #1. "Technically better" isn't necessarily better art. All the best, James
  12. Excellent as I would expect from you! Kudos. ...Just wondering what the model was hanging from for the 2nd photo. Feet out of the water, suspended from a diving board? Very nice effect. All the best, James
  13. I'll be a dissenting opinion here. I've had quite a bit of experience with DUI suits over the last 15 years. They earned a big reputation in the early years because they turned out a good product, compared to the miserable offerings from the other manufacturers of the time. Times have changed and most manufacturers turn out a better product than DUI in terms of quality and durability. DUI however has maintained their premium pricing. Honestly I wouldn't touch a DUI suit right now. In the last 4 years or so they've truly earned their nickname of "Dry Until Immersed". Suits that are expensive, leak straight from the factory, take a month to repair and have seals that last less than a year? Woof. The only DUI suits that lately have been any good are the ones repaired by Superior or Gamble. To be honest, most of the other drysuit manufacturers are comparable in their high quality build. Pick a suit based on a design feature that you really need, and price. And perhaps the most important reason to buy a particular suit: the manufacturer is close to you. For some reason this has been more important with suits than regs and stuff, I'm not sure why. All the best, James PS - If pressed, I would recommend giving Santi a good hard look. I recently tried on a eSpace and was amazed; the undergarments are easily a generation ahead of everyone else's, and the warmest I've tried.
  14. Pfuller, all of these questions - trim (center of gravity), buoyancy, gear setup, how you propel yourself - are interrelated in ways that, well, complicated. For example, take your ability to pivot in place, known as the . If you're the typical advanced recreational diver, and are trimmed out (balanced) in a long, strung-out straight legged position, this will happen: You are hovering in place Bend knees to begin helicopter This alters CG (trim) and you begin to tilt head down You inhale to correct perceived sink Begin to rise Swear The fix for all this, and more is to acquire the skills that were woefully left out of your basic Open Water scuba class. You'll find these in a GUE Fundamentals class, or, a UTD Essentials class. Since you're in Victoria, I'd suggest giving Liam Allen a call, at + 61 414 405 598. Tell him what your problems are and what you want to accomplish. A Fundamentals class will cost you maybe US$350, but possibly be the best money you've spent on diving yet. Not to mention, when you're done with the class, you'll have some skills that will make other divers scratch their heads saying "how'd he do that?" All the best, James
  15. Assuming your camera is in hand, and you haven't already clipped off to a ring of preference: To dive in an overhead-restricted environment, you need to be completely at ease with the equipment and the procedures. If you are, adding a camera becomes a non-event. If you're not, don't. Everything is in context - in your example above of donating the long hose, I could care less if my buddy clipped off their camera at the same time as they passed me the primary. However, if they turned it into a flailfestival, and I ended up waiting for a long while (OOG!) as they got themselves squared away, then finally passed me the long hose, I would have to consider some angry words back on the surface, assuming I lived through the experience. Ultimately the camera is disposable. Depending on where your training came from, some of us regard a camera/video/etc as more disposable than most. All the best, James
  16. Most of my stuff goes to NPS. However, I've had quite a bit of work done by California Precision Service, in Sacramento, CA. Not only do they do NPS-quality work on grey market gear, but their work has always been impeccable and reasonably priced. They essentially rebuilt a 300 2.8 for me for about $300. All the best, James
  17. It would be nice to be able to show up with a BP/W and a long hose, without a dive op going all Chicken Little on us. Let alone doing some casual deco. All the best, James
  18. I received these gems from my first Graphics Editor, Larry Nylund, before he went to USA Today: "The most important thing is Being There". Here Larry was referring to being where the news was happening, but it's the same for other subjects, like underwater, eh? "If the image has content and tells a powerful story, I'll run it, I don't care how bad the quality is". More applicable to journalism, but it gives you a good grip on the priorities. "If you can't be good, be weird". When all else fails - you can't get that quality composition you want - try something really oddball. You might get lucky. "The eyes have it". Any image with emotion centers around the eyes. And lastly: "I don't care how hard it was to get this. It's still crap". Here's the sequence behind this quote: Me: "Here you go" (hands in assignment) Larry: "...What the? This is crap!" Me: "But you don't understand! It was the middle of a winter storm, and 20 degrees below, and my motor drive kept freezing - the wind was about 80 miles per hour, and I had to hang off the side of a ski lift tower 40 feet above the ground - I could only hold on with one hand, because I had to shoot with the other - I almost slipped and fell - the subject almost never looked in my direction - the lighting was way flat - did I tell you I almost fell off the tower and died? I went through hell to get this!" Larry: "Good for you. I don't care how hard it was to get this. It's still crap." All the best, James
  19. Yes Richard, that is the description. The group had mentioned they were spending the next week in Palau. Again, I'll reiterate, we found the group to be pleasant folks who were considerate and nice to be around. Also, when Mike passed on that Jan (the dive operations manager) had a meeting with all the DMs to discuss this, it didn't surprise me at all. The Manta Ray Bay dive operation is top-notch, actually the best we've ever encountered, and we found Jan himself to be professional, talented, and a pleasure to dive with. That he had a meeting to make sure this wouldn't happen again is in keeping with the high standards we saw there. We had spent the week prior on board the Palau Aggressor. In retrospect, we wished we had simply spent 2 weeks at the Manta Ray Bay Hotel! All the best, James Flenner
  20. This is indeed a conundrum. How DO you rectify such behavior? As satisfying as direct action may be, changing someone's buoyancy or turning off gas can lead to dire consequences, and could easily be interpreted as assault. This is not a realistic option IMHO. To be honest, in the past I've pointed out such transgressions (while still underwater) only a couple times. Twice I got the one-finger salute, and once the cold shoulder. So this doesn't work. Bringing up the topic at the surface, or back at the resort rinse tank, usually fares no better. It doesn't matter if you are nice as can be and use an approach worthy of a politician negotiating a nuclear cease-fire. Indeed, this only seems like an opportunity to add verbal abuse from the transgressor to your woes. My experience is that: *The transgressor knows they are doing bad things to the reef, but does it anyway, and covers for this with hostility and aggression towards the person that exposes this publicly *The transgressor isn't really aware that they are doing bad things, but becomes hostile towards someone telling them (in essence) that their diving skills suck *The transgressor becomes incensed if someone reports them to the dive operation management, and transfers their anger to the person that ratted them out *Not once have I seen a transgressor say "oh, quite right, stupid of me, I'll fix it! Sorry". So what to do? In this case, I saw this diver's behavior earlier in the week; no good would come of a confrontation, so I avoided this diver, and paid attention to the diver I could control the behavior of - me - and made sure I was as picture-perfect as a UTD training video. The photo was shot on the last night we were there, and the last night for the transgressor diver too; so no good would have come of complaining the next day. Hence, I chose this method. Post the picture in a place where everyone will jump on and condemn the behavior; perhaps this will make the diver in question re-think their ways, and affect a permanent change. Heck if anyone has a realistic idea of how to confront someone about this that really works, I'm all ears. All the best, James Flenner
  21. Hi all. Haven't been around for awhile - life interferes. Sigh. Anyway, last week we were in Yap. As wonderful as it was, the diving was marred, as a particular diver displayed what I (or my cat, for that matter) would consider sub-par skills underwater. They pretty much had no buoyancy skills, let alone trim; and often engaged in what I certainly wouldn't consider marine-life friendly actions. After watching him literally chase away the mantas, I resolved to stay away from this person. My experience has been that attempting to correct such divers is futile; any helpful comment, no matter how diplomatic, is usually met with hostility and defensiveness. So I just stay away. At the end of the trip, one of our group witnessed this diver on the nightly Mandarin Fish dive. This photo was shot by Mike Heit, on 06 March 2010, at dusk: The environment here is finger coral, which is also the Mandarin's home. This diver was fins in the coral, knees on the coral, and (later) laying on the coral. The coral was used as a nice compressable bean bag support for his video housing as you can see above. Pretty much, it was a swath of broken coral everywhere he went for an hour. I do not know the name of this diver; he was part of a group from Belgium, and dove with a large Amphibico housing. This housing seemed to give him a sense of entitlement, as I witnessed him use it to push a shooter away from a subject they wre working, and "take over". I should point out that others in this group from Belgium were nice folks, very courteous, and with great skillz - you'll notice the diver behind him has no issues with trim or buoyancy! I'm posting this partly as a rant, and, in the hopes that some presssure from the internet may trickle through to them. Maybe, it will make them re-think their lack of skills and consideration for the environment. All the best, James PS - well, at least I feel better for getting it off my chest!
  22. Hi guys. Bill, thanks for the description, I was lazy and depended on documentation. And I could have run downstairs and run it through our own IR spec and MSGC...sigh. Thanks. I'd agree that 3451 looks better. Dave, my trial was with Christolube 111. David, we did in fact meet at DEMA, and thank you for the samples. I am quite impressed with Tribolube 71 and will switch to it when our supply of Christolube is exhausted. I can't point to any one thing, it's just...better. More consistent in feel and viscosity, nice results with all formulations of o-rings...just feels higher quality. All the best, James
  23. I'd be curious how you eluted the polyurea. When I was flailing through lube selection I researched 1292 and didn't see that reference (always looking for ways to be better at figuring out stuff, neh?). Thanks! All the best, James PS: FWIW, I have seen great results with my trial of Christolube with silicone o-rings, and it is great with Buna and Viton, too. I'm starting another 2 month trial with a possible replacement for Christolube, Tribolube 71, which appears to have tighter manufacturing tolerances, but is otherwise identical. Cheaper, too.
  24. The best time is not right now, apparently..... Recent thread on SB All the best, James
  25. Thanks for the replies folks. Especially thanks Steve for a reply directly to the question - using Christolube on silicone O-Rings. Yes, yes, I usually refer to the manufacturer's supplied lube. However, in this case, all the manufacturer does is make o-rings. The source is McMaster-Carr; I am considering replacing the active, barrel o-ring on my X-Scooter (which is currently a ShoreA duro70 Nitrile 2-261) with a silicone one in the same durometer. The reason is that the X-Scooter is black, and it is tough to see the black o-ring on it; we dive often at Lake Tahoe, or at sea level, both of which are significant altitude change; if we assemble the scooter at home, it will be impossible to open at altitude or sea level; driving to site with the scooter dissassembled is a PITA, as it takes up too much space; if we assemble the scooter with the barrel o-ring missing, it will not trap pressure; assembled thus, it is easy to pack and very protected, and the sealing surface has a lightweight face seal to protect it from impact damage; it is easy to be forgetful and reassemble it without the barrel o-ring replaced; silicone o-rings are orange, and less likely to be overlooked. See, I told you it was a long story! I also see that fluorosilicone o-rings (usually blue) are tolerant of plain ol' silicone lube, but cost $14 each, vs silicone at $2 each, or nitrile at $0.42 each. Anyway, I'll give Christolube a try, and if it swells or otherwise is not good I'll let you know. All the best, James
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