Learning to dive in a Drysuit

Sunday 12th May, 2013

Due to Hypothermia last Winter and having to sit some dives out because I was so cold, I was not going to make the same mistake again this year. Despite my concerns about needing to pee, and being bulky, I decided to invest in a Dry Suit.

I bought an O’Three Dry suit, you get measured up and they trim and fit a drysuit to your measurements so it’s fairly similar to having one custom made for you; granted you aren’t completely disproportionate. I was also surprised at the price, purchasing it for around thirteen hundred dollars including undergarments was a bargain, as I had anticipated spending about three times that.

Watching Nick K shiver and begrudgingly get into his wet cold Wetsuit this morning whilst a chilly wind ripped around the side of the van, made me quite pleased already to be snug as a bug in a rug.

Comfy onesie I don't want to take off!

Comfy onesie I don’t want to take off!

I was however still buoyant even with two steel tanks and about 4kg of weight on my back. I grabbed a stage from Nick to compensate for this, knowing that I would probably need another couple of weights in future.

I did notice that my feet felt heavier and that I was doing more finning than usual to stay in trim. I found this was because of the air in my legs. I experimented a bit with moving the air around in the Dry suit. Unfortunately being at six metres is not the easiest to tilt upright to move the air to my chest.

Connecting the hose

Gearing up

Gas Gas Gas

There was slightly more drag, but that also may be accounted to the extra tank I was wearing. I did not feel constricted in movement however, I felt very snug, dry and warm and quite comfortable. I felt like peeing as soon as I got in the water. Although the feeling passed quickly and I did not feel or think about the subject again until I was out of the water and undressed. Hooray I did not pee myself, winning!

As for the dive site The Tweed River, I simply won’t be doing that again any time soon. I have no idea what all the fuss is about. All I was seeing down there was floating weeds, rocks and sand. I also was not anticipating exiting the water from the rocks which was not the nicest ways to exit in a new Drysuit, two steel tanks and a stage.

What I do like about the Dry suit:
Ease of use
Extra buoyancy/emergency buoyancy/lift
Perfect fit

What I’ll need to get used to:
Feeling hot on land, especially if having to walk with a few tanks down to the shore
Air evenness around the body
A bit extra drag – not a big deal though
Buying KY Jelly from the chemist especially at 4am in the morning, does anyone get used to that though?

Ready to get in!

Friday 7th June 2013

Last weekend I managed to get out again in the new Drysuit. I tried having it squeeze more and this seemed much better for not having that feeling like i was tilting forward. This felt much more comfortable with my trim.

I tried a friend’s ankle weights, I didn’t like them much. It made me feel really weighted down like someone was grabbing my ankles and pulling me back each time I tried to fin, I felt heavy and lethargic nearer the end of the dive.

I found on the next dive after giving up the ankle weights I dived with two steel tanks and needed 6kgs of weights on my back plate, and as I was not diving with the camera which ultimately is negative in the water I added two more weights, one in each side pocket of my Drysuit. I found that this was good for now. I also found taking the time to get the air out before getting in the water helped, and even whilst in the water opening the neck seal up to get more air out also helped.

Saturday 10th August 2013

I’ve been diving a few times now in the drysuit with Ally tanks in preparation for the Galapagos trip coming up. I’ve found that a weight on each tank in Sidemount, four on my back plate and one in each pocket works for me. I’m still heavy especially the first dive when the Ally tanks are not bouyant, but I have to weigh myself down in case of a camera loss so it’s safer. I don’t need gators, I’m used to the feeling now and it’s just about spreading the air evenly around my body.

Today I made a mistake without realising, and had my drysuit too tight. Last time I did this I had agonizing pain all over my skin. This time same thing, it started to happen in the car on the ride back. I started worrying it may have been a lung issue or worse yet symptoms of the bends. I knew that would be a long shot due to my dive profile and length spent doing a deep stop and safety stop however. Then I realised it was the same pain as before…Once I took some Ibuprofen at home the pain went away, but as a woman believe me you don’t want this kind of chest pain!

Two other problematic areas for women in drysuits: needing to pee, and having long hair! Needing to pee, not a problem if you’re on a boat with a toilet or you’re happy to arse it over the side of the boat. The latter sounds much easier than you would think. It’s not.

The other problem being long hair. I keep seeing these girls with long hair and after their dive their hair is out all nice and wavy and my hair is tied up in the biggest nest of entanglement you could imagine. Furthermore, try pulling a rubber seal over the entanglement when it’s wet, it’s not only painful but pulls your hair out and I’ve actually felt stuck a few times! I’m on a mission to work out how I can combat the hair issue. I’m not at the cutting it all off point yet.

2 thoughts on “Learning to dive in a Drysuit

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