Manta Divers October, 2010
Well, October is here, with its crisp mornings, colorful leaves, farmer’s markets full of freshly harvested produce, and of course all the scariness of Halloween. It is also the time that most of us are preparing to store our scuba gear for awhile until our next planned outing, but do you know what’s really scary about that? Many divers do not properly maintenance their gear prior to storage, and surely they will be reaping a bitter harvest when they make the horrifying discovery that their gear is moldy, misshapen, and malfunctioning the next time they go to use it.
All well trained divers know that gear should be thoroughly rinsed after each dive, but we also know that sometimes the clean up is not as thorough as it should be. It is good to periodically shampoo the exterior of your BC and wetsuit when you are actively diving, but it is absolutely essential if you are planning on storing your gear for a while. Use of a product such as McNett wetsuit and BC shampoo is best since this product is specially formulated to condition and clean the materials that make up dive gear. Shampoo the exterior of the BC and both the inside and outside of your wetsuit. A soft brush can be used to remove any ground in dirt. Once you are confident the gear is free of dirt, rinse everything in fresh water, again taking care with your wetsuit to make sure that both the inside and outside are free of soap. To make sure your wetsuit is completely free of diver funk, soak it for five minutes in a solution of Mirazyme before hanging on a strong, thick shouldered hanger to dry.
Special care should be taken with the interior of the BC. Again, a specially formulated BC cleaner is best to remove salt, chlorine and organic residue. After pouring a small amount of cleaner into the BC through the inflator, fill the BC with water and shake to mix. It is easy to drain the BC if you use the D-rings at the bottom to hang the BC upside down and then pressing the oral inflator. Draining the water through the oral inflator will also clean the auto inflator valve. You will need to repeat this process a couple of times using only water to completely rinse the interior. Once the BC is rinsed, orally inflate it and hang it upside down overnight to drain the remaining water. To make sure there are no areas that remain moist and set up an environment for fungal growth, dry the weight pockets separately from the BC.
After you BC and wetsuit are dry inside and out, they are ready for storage. Hang them on sturdy hangers in a dry place away from fumes or smoke. Be sure to leave a little air in your BC. If you store your wetsuit folded, remember that prolonged creasing will crush the neoprene cells causing loss of insulating properties. This can be prevented by folding your suit over some wadded paper, or rolled up magazines.
This is also a good time to get your regulator cleaned and tuned up at Manta Divers. Most manufacturers recommend an inspection one year and a full rebuild the next, but if you are doing a lot of diving, or just diving in water rich in suspended particles, then a more frequent service interval may be needed. Remember, this is your underwater life support, so only trust its repair to a trained professional. Never attempt to fix your regulator yourself!
As long as you are getting everything else spiffed up, you may as well clean your mask, fins and snorkel as well. Start by cleaning your mask lenses with Sea Buff to remove any built up defog or other matter. Next fill a sink with warm, soapy water to clean your mask and snorkel and condition the silicone. (Dawn dish soap works well). Rid your fins of any dirt or sand that may have worked its way into the buckle or other parts by soaking them in the soapy water and scrubbing with a soft brush. After everything is clean, rinse them and lay them on a towel to dry. Store your mask in its case, but be certain that no water is left in it. Fins should either be hung up on a hanger or hook, or laid flat for storage.
Finally, get your dive bag in shape. Rinse out all the sand, repair any rips and treat the zipper with a lubricant such as Zip Tech to ensure the zipper slides effortlessly. Again, store in a cool, dry spot for a longer life!
We’ve all heard the saying, you reap what you sew, so be sure to sew the seeds of a fun and fungus free dive season. A little effort and time will ensure you have nothing to fear when you take your dive gear out the next time. The Manta Divers staff is here to advise you as to what products work best and are happy to give you guidance on your gear clean up.
In other news…..
If you would like more in depth information on gear care and repair or simply are interested in expanding your knowledge about dive gear in general, join the Dive Equipment Specialist class, November 9, 11 and 16 at the shop starting at 6:30pm.
Team Manta recently spent a weekend at Haigh Quarry and had a great time carving pumpkins underwater. We thought we’d get in the mood for autumn, braving what turned out to be a cool weekend at the quarry, have a little fun carving our pumpkins. We headed out to the Flamingo, a sunken dive boat and did our carving, getting a kick out of the curiosity of the bluegills that monitored every slice.
Spots on the March 12- 19 Bonaire trip are filling fast. Don’t miss out on this week of 24hr diving. A payment of $1935* gets you air transportation to Bonaire, a double occupancy room in a 3 bedroom condo at Buddy Dive resort, one daily boat dive, daily breakfast, shared use of a vehicle to transport your group to Bonaire’s famous dive sites, and unlimited nitrox. As always, we offer a discount for cash or check payment.
Other upcoming classes: Diving with Dive Computers, October 19 and 21 at 6:30pm at the shop. The course fee is $25 or free for those who purchased a computer from Manta Divers.
Marine Ecosystems, December 6, 8 and 13, 6:30pm at the shop. This specialty class explores the undersea environment, sea creature identification, and how to be an eco-friendly diver.
Enriched Air diving, October 9, 1-5pm and November 6, 1-5pm. Both classes will take place int he Manta Divers classroom. Learn to dive with enriched air and get longer no-deco times and a little more energy for topside activities!
Check the calendar for a complete listing of classes.