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This glorious piece of rental gear did not function as expected.

Always Take the Basics!

It was a dive that wasn’t supposed to happen. I had considered it, weighed the options, and rejected it. And then I signed up for it!

I had plenty of time to prepare, even going so far as to look up connecting with a dive company outside of the cruise people. In essence, the number of excuses I have for not bringing my own gear is ZERO.

Rental gear is never top of the line!

I knew the second I woke up Tuesday morning: man, I should have at least brought my own mask and dive and a dive computer. These are things which take up little to no room, I’m comfortable using, and have kept me safe in many a hectic dive environment.

When I got on the boat and received my random station consisting of very well-used equipment, I once again kicked myself in the butt. I had room for the small stuff. I also had room to bring my own reg kit! But I didn’t, and I wasn’t going to stress about it. 

“Do we get dive computers,” I asked. 

******** NOPE. 

Bottom timer??

******** NOPE x2.

I am Doc’s building frustration.

I checked and doubled checked everything

I did everything I’ve ever been trained to do. Turned on the gas and checked the SPG. Checked my primary second stage… a bit like breathing through a straw, but I was getting air. No weird smell or taste. 

Checked octopus – bueno.

Checked BCD power and oral inflation – all good. 

When we finally arrived at the dive site and jumped in the water, however, I was immediately struck by just how difficult it was to breathe off of my regulator. This thing wasn’t a straw at all, but instead a swizzle stick! 

Without hesitating I signaled to my Divemaster that I was switching to my octo and made the change. Ahhhhh… talk about a breath of fresh air! The DM never saw my signal, but did notice a few minutes later that I was using my backup reg. He didn’t seem to care, apparently, not even flashing the ubiquitous “okay” sign. 

Wearing two scuba masks

A mask and computer are too small to NOT take.

My eyesight isn’t great anymore, and I have readers in both my primary and backup masks. Even just carrying my own tiny little mask and sweet HUD would have enhanced my dive greatly.

But also, my bag being only 35# for a one week cruise I had more than enough space to cart along one of my multiple regulator kits. 

A valuable lesson has been learned here. 

The lesson...

In a world where accidents can happen and a person can drown in an inch of water, it makes zero sense to participate in a recreation where having your own life saving equipment is the norm and you don’t have it.

Firstly, no matter the purpose of my future adventures and travels, I will always take with me at least one mask and one dive computer, whether mask or wrist mounted. 

Secondly, unless there is ZERO chance of diving (trip to the moon, for example), I will make it a point to take one complete reg kit with adapters (Air2 to BCD and DIN to Yoke).

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic here. Maybe I’m just a scuba snob. Maybe I like breathing more than the next diver. Maybe, maybe, maybe… whatever the maybe, I learned my lessons on this trip and I won’t be making the same mistake twice. 

What lessons have you learned?

What do you think? Are you in the same boat as me? What lessons have you learned in your travels? Do you take your own stuff with you when you travel?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time, train hard, dive easy!

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Doc Strand

An eight year Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Strand discovered Chinese medicine as a last resort when recovering from a military related injury. He has since dedicated his life to the practice of medicine; a doctor to all - a healer to many. In recent years he has turned to SCUBA diving as a meditation aid in his quest for ultimate peace. The desire to share that gift led to the creation of Spartan Scuba. Doc’s experiences and travels abroad impact not only his writing style, but his passion for life, scuba, and medicine.

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