204 Practising at Saxe Point

A few days ago I went snorkelling with a friend at the Inspiration Cove side of Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt, BC.

Vintage Mask, Revised Weight Belt, Saxe Point Park, Snowing

The first 4 seconds of the video show how she was floating with the original amount of weight she had on her weight belt. In that 7mm thick 2-piece wetsuit, even the tops of her shoulders were out of the water. That made her too buoyant for efficient surface dives.

After gradually adding small increments of lead to her weight belt we found an amount that worked better while still enabling her to breath easily while effortlessly floating at the surface. Due to my incompetent videography, there is only a brief moment at the 5-second mark showing how she was floating with the revised amount of weight.

Note that my dive buddy is wearing an iconic Aqualung Pacifica dive mask. It was designed several decades ago when masks had oval faceplates and no separate nose compartments. I still occasionally use an Aqualung Atlantis mask which is almost the same thing except that it does not have a purge valve. Both models have a small pocket on each side of the nose. These allow for pinching the nostrils while equalizing the ears and sinus cavities.

The problem is that the finger pockets are difficult to reach, especially when wearing thick neoprene gloves. Before her first dive shown here my friend uses her thumb and index finger to pre-equalize. Before the second one she uses two index fingers. The latter technique is much easier at the surface but, if continued during descent, makes it impossible to maintain good form with one arm extended straight ahead (downward).

Note that she is using the proper safe freediving technique of removing her snorkel from her mouth before the dive. With this style of mask keeping the snorkel in place would only be practical for those lucky few who can do hands-free equalization.

Being in the water while snow was falling was an unplanned bonus.

By Brian

Owner and administrator of this website Resident of North Saanich on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada

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