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Advice: Need "no hands" rigging for housing for strong current dives

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I'm looking for advice from folks who have rigged a strap mechanism for their housings for serious high current descents (and ascents).

 

I'm going back to Cocos & Malpelo in a couple of months and my current system of a single clip attached to a D-ring on my BC was not optimal for descents at dive sites like Alcyon (where sometimes it takes two hands and hard swimming to make it down the line). The problem was that I would still need to hold the housing in one hand making it much harder to descend on the line in heavy current.

 

Two straps attached to two separate D rings might be one answer - but I'm looking for folks with first hand experience and willing to share what they do.

 

Ideas?

 

Thanks...

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I routinely scooter with a housing a strobes. Since I have yet to encounter any current I cannot make headway into with my X, I believe that this may fit your definition of high current. At a trigger of 5, I cover roughly 1.6 miles in 45 minutes.

 

For this, I clip my housing to the left hip D-ring of my backplate.

 

Here is a video of this type of housing attachment in action. WARNING! This is 213 MB of Quicktime at 540p shot by Roger Bly.

 

There is also this thread that covers roughly the same data.

 

Hope this helps!

 

All the best, James

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I would consider slinging it like a stage bottle. I have tried it once for fun and it worked well - albeit a little bulky under your left arm. One clip to the left shoulder dring and one to the left hip dring.

 

I also used to clip my old video to both shoulder drings letting it sit over my chest but that rig was relatively small (but did it in cocos and it worked well). Just firmly attach 2 bolt snaps, one on each handle, and try different clip points before you go.

 

I'm not sure exactly how james does it in his video, i'm scared to open such a large file with my connection. might make my computer explode.

 

One major recommendation: take only 1 strobe on dives like alcyone & dirty rock - the reduced weight is a godsend and 2 strobes can be a nightmare in that kind of current. You also won't likely be doing reefscapes (if you are then you're lookign in the wrong direction!), usually only adding some fill light to all those cute litte critters like hammerheads & whalesharks, so 1 strobe is all you need.

 

have fun, that place is like neverneverland. cheers,

 

Chris

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I'm looking for advice from folks who have rigged a strap mechanism for their housings for serious high current descents (and ascents).

 

For years I always just used a simple thin cord lanyard, attached to one handle of the housing and then locked to my wrist by a sliding toggle. But I always hung on to the housing for the entire dive. Then, a few months ago, hanging on to a deco line in raging current, my buddy got tangled in a loose piece of rope. I needed both hands to solve the problem, one to hold on and one to untangle the rope from the first stage of his regulator. I had to let go of the housing. This was a most unsatisfactory experience. The housing was banging all over the place in the current, even hitting me in the face. Luckily it only sustained minor scratching on the corner. But, I realised after the event that there was a huge risk of the thin lanyard breaking and losing the camera in the current. (we both survived!)

 

So, I developed a double line harness with strong nylon rope. My BCD has a D-ring on each of the front straps, located towards the top of the chest. I bought some thick nylon rope, the type that is made in a sort-of tubular plat (if you hold the rope in two hands and push together, the rope widens into a tube). I bought two aluminium carabiners.

 

I measured the distance that I wanted the housing to hang down (waist-level), ensuring that I could still handhold the housing at a comfortable distance from my body. I cut two lengths of the rope, each measured at double the length needed plus about 2 spare inches that would be lost in the melting / joining process of making the ropes. I then melted each end of the rope lengths and while still hot and pliable, molded the rope ends into a point by squeezing an old cloth around the ends.

 

Then I threaded the rope through a hole in the top of the housing arms and by teasing a hole in the side of the platted rope, passed the pointed end of the rope down through the center of the rope. The pointed end of the rope will make its way down the rope if you compress the outer rope to open up the tube. When reaching the middle, I then pulled the end of the rope back out through the weave on the outside of the rope. Then I made a loop on the other end and did the same thing, feeding it through the center of the rope tube, so that both the pointed ends are sticking out the same hole in the side of the outer rope tube. I then cut off the melted pointed ends and twisted the ends together, using a cigarette lighter and cloth to melt then squeeze the ropes two ends together. The rope is now a continuous circle, with a loop on both ends and the rope looping back down the middle of itself. I then pushed the joined ends back into the center of the rope tube, closing up the hole in the outer tube. Finally I added the carabiner to the loop on the loose end and used a couple of plastic cable ties to lock the carabiner into place so it is always in the right place and attitude to quickly clip on to the D-ring on the BCD.

 

I don't know if my description above makes sense but the end result is two thick unbreakable ropes connected firmly to each of the top of the housing arms and, on the loose end, a carabiner firmly held in the right place and direction to lock quickly onto my BCD. The system is comfortable enough to have it connected for the entire dive, allowing me to drop the camera at any time. The camera dangles at about my waist-level if I am vertical and hangs about 2 feet below me if I am finning horizontally. Taking it off (e.g. for a shot of a little critter that is too nervous to come out of its hole with a diver present), is a simple matter of unclipping the 2 carabiners - takes about 5 seconds...

 

The two ropes are also useful when someone is lowering the housing down from a boat as it gives them something to hold on to if the distance between the deck and water is rather high. In this case, I clip the two carabiners together to make a nice cradle.

 

I have taken a photo of the ropes on the housing and posted it here. I have the same system on my housed DSLR and housed video camera.

 

Regards

Peter

post-4537-1171545977_thumb.jpg

Edited by peterbkk

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Interesting discussion.

 

A good "no hands" wide-angle rig can be arranged by attaching suicide (or similar) clips near the "elbow" joint of the strobe arms. With the arms folded (mine have fastex clips to hold the arms in), it can be clipped off to one or both chest d-rings. Either one is enough to secure the housing safely. With both clips in use, the rig rides is in a balanced and relatively low drag configuration. Around rocks or coral, I usually clip it with the dome facing my stomach. This is also a good configuration when both hands are needed to shoot a SMB or assist another diver, etc.

 

Moving up-current against really strong currents, the housing can be flipped forward and held in front to achieve the least drag possible. This works best if the chest d-rings are in standard DIR positions (not too low) and there are a few cm of play in the braidline used to fasten the suicide clips to the arms.

 

Frogfish (Robert Delfs)

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I have a 3mm climbing cord that runs through a piece if 1/2 inch airline tubing. It has snaps at both ends. One end snaps through the lowest area of my strobe arms (which are folded in). I run the strap through both shoulders straps of my BC and snap the other end to the other strobe arm. This hangs the camera at the chest. If you need to, you can wrap the strobe arms around your torso like a hug to hold it to your body.

Works pretty well.

 

This also works really well as a handle to use when passing the rig up or down from the boat.

Edited by AllisonFinch

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I have a 3mm climbing cord that runs through a piece if 1/2 inch airline tubing. It has snaps at both ends. One end snaps through the lowest area of my strobe arms (which are folded in).

 

Can you post a photo of this setup, please.

 

What is airline tubing?

 

Regards

Peter

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Most of my dives are shore dives where you probably will encounter surf/ current/ surge, therefore I always have two clips on my camera rig just in case one lanyard should fail and my gear or myself goes tumbling. I also dive with a scooter and this set up allows me to "clip off" while still being able to ride.

 

With the camera lens facing out and the viewfinder towards my chest, I use a coil lanyard attached to my right upper D ring which allows me to still take pictures. If and when I am out of heavy surf, I then release the "mid clip" which now gives me access to the "coil" part of the lanyard while still attached to my body. The clip that I have attached to the other side of my rig (near my BCD hose) is an inexpensive cheap plastic clip which has a small nylon lanyard. I use that mainly for my entries, exits, and while on the scooter. Once in the water, I remove the left clip from my vest and my rig kinda hangs on my right upper D ring.

This set up allows hands free diving and once clipped to my body, it's fairly compact. :wacko:

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