Right now is kind of the off-season for diving.  But I’ve been keeping busy with all kinds of things around the house.  The dog was attacked by another dog, errands need running, working up at Turtle bay, and just generally taking care of business.  Strangely enough though, I’m enjoying a little break too.  

In addition to the spotty conditions in the water I’ve lost my hiking buddy to a broken ankle.  I need a new one!  Any volunteers?  I would like to get back out on the trail and I think I can probably make some time next week. 

I did receive a fun thing today.  I got my new BCD!  I got an Oceanic Hera and I’m excited to try it out.  I changed to the Hera because it gives me the ability to carry more weight with me.  I need to be able to carry extra weight when I dive with customers and the Oceanic Islander 2 doesn’t offer me this ability.  The weight pockets are removable, something which my last BC lacked.  The weight pockets on the Islander 2 are positioned in the sides and are well positioned for neutrality in the water.  It’s a great BC for recreational divers because it only weighs 6 pounds making it portable.   The weight pockets have a maximum weight of 7lbs according to the manufacturer.  There are also non-dumpable trim pockets on the tank strap, though I’ve never found a maximum weight for them, I would say they max out at 4 pounds.  I had 3 in mine and just fitting a 4lb soft weight in there would be a challenge.  The weights on the sides can be easily dropped with a quick release clip causing them to drop out the bottom. 

My new BC, the Hera, has many features that sold me on it.  First, it’s made for a woman’s frame and it’s evident the minute you put it on.  As I mentioned, it has quick release weights that oceanic features on most of their BCD’s.  I like these simply because it lets me store my weights in a pocket that’s going to be stored that way.  I also like that the Hera has generous pockets for all my accessories.  Even though I try to keep them to a minimum.  It’s a hybrid BCD which means that it inflates around the sides as well as the back.  Another, perhaps silly to some, feature is a quick dump pull on the right hand side that will allow me to quickly dump all the air out of the BCD during descent.  The reason this matters is that I like to be able to dump the air and get down quickly so that I can help any divers with me.  I can respond better if I’m not in the middle of my own descent.  It’s always easier to add a little air than to get rid of it faster.  The Hera has several metal D rings that will allow my to have the option of doing side mount should I decide to take that specialty.  I guess I didn’t look all that closely at the display at the shop because I was surprised to find the retractor mount on the bottom left and the knife mount on the bottom right.  I carry a knife on my leg so I won’t be using the knife mount.  I considered using the retractor mount for my gauges but unfortunately the retractors that I have won’t fit in the retractor pocket.  In fact, you might be hard pressed to find one that will.  It’s a great idea though.  The tank strap is made from the same sturdy material as the one on the Islander and, though I’ve never tried another, I’ve found them very adjustable and reliable.  They do take some use to get broken in and I have had a tank fall out the bottom a couple of times.  But whether that was user error or the stiffness of the new material we shall soon find out.  When I got the Islander I was new to diving and not nearly as adept at adjusting them as I am now.  TheHera also offers the ultimate in custom fitting.  There are screws in the back plate that can be removed allowing the shoulder straps to be let out or taken in as needed.  As with all Oceanic BCD’s, the cumberbund is also adjustable. 

I will be sure to report back once I’ve had a chance to try it out in open water.  Can’t wait to try it out.


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