Got a new BC and was itching to try it out. Weeki Wachee is one of the best places I know of to test new gear.
Diving in the land of the Mermaids:
- Directions from Tampa: Weeki Wachee is just south of the intersection of State Road 19 and State Road 50. Weeki Wachee is technically it's own city, but I've seen it referred to as part of Brooksville, as well as part of Spring Hill.
- Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny, a little warm; cool breeze blowing over the spring.
- Personal Notes: Neptune Divers does accept walk up divers, though it is suggested that you make reservations ahead of time. At the time of this writing, it's roughly $40 - $45 (taxes included) for a day of diving. You also get entry into the park. During the summer Buccaneer Bay is open and that part has a beach and water slides.
I had just obtained a Dive Rite Transpac II. A harness and wing (back inflate) system, you can add to it only what you want to, as it comes stock with nothing but the harness and wings. Here's a reprint of the critique I posted to Rodale's:
Okay, admittedly, beyond my original Oceanic OP5K and a couple of rentals early on in my dive experiences, I haven't tried on many BCs. But I just got done with my first two dives on my new DiveRite Transpac II, and I gotta tell you, I don't see myself diving any other BC.
This BC is part of a system where there is a harness, back inflate wings (which can be switched out), and various odds and ends that can be added on. I personally have added on a couple of clips here and there (for my backup light, Octo holder, computer holder), weight pouches, and a couple of slate pockets (one for my slate, the other for some diving survival gear). I also added a crotch strap.
There are several D rings on the original rig, and they can be moved wherever one might desire to relocate them.
The strengths of this system are its customizability and modularity ... I have a 45lb lift wing, but I could in a minute switch it out for another wing with less or even more lift. Also, mountings for doubles are available.
The weaknesses are born out of these features:
Both of these weaknesses are probably a little less of a problem on the TravelWings, which are only 35 lbs of lift, and they also have a slimmer profile than the TrekWings I use.
- The lower bladder dump is not attached to the BC, but rather, to the wings. Also, dumping the air from this point can be tricky due to its location ... I have yet to successfully dump much air from this method but I have other things to try next dive.
- Using the normal deflator is usually best done by leaning back a little more than usual, and making sure to extend the hose up a little more, as in my experience, air can easily get trapped in the wings.
Adjustments to fit can be made pretty much everywhere.
Being a harness with a chest strap and two cam straps for a single tank, it is unlikely that one would loose a tank, and you can roll left or right quickly and not feel like your BC is sliding around. Not tight, but snug, properly fitted, this BC feels like it is a part of you.
And, being a back inflate, it is not going to squeeze you when you put a little air into it!
Now, I just can't wait until I get my Cobra Computer and Oceanic Delta III!
Dive data for dives on this day: