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This is Why I Need a Drysuit

Discussion in 'South African Divers' started by xyrandomyx, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. xyrandomyx

    xyrandomyx Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cape Town, South Africa
    433
    118
    0
    I finally tried out my drysuit on Saturday. It took while, between being too busy at work and getting hold of an undersuit. It wasn't the greatest day to test out its insulating properties -- the water temperature was 19C. It seems to fit alright. My wrists got a little damp, possibly because I pulled the undersuit too far up towards my wrists, but other than that I was dry. My buoyancy could've been worse, but it's definitely going to take a while before I get it to where it is in a wetsuit.
     
    TSandM likes this.
  2. xyrandomyx

    xyrandomyx Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cape Town, South Africa
    433
    118
    0
    I've now finished my drysuit speciality course. I did the last two dives on Saturday. I initially struggled to descend and get neutral. We surfaced after a couple of minutes of me struggling to not ascend unintentionally. I then realised that I'd added the second piece of my two-piece undersuit and had not adjusted weight accordingly. After doing another weight check, the dives went pretty well. The water temperature was around 17C near the surface, but 13C below a thermocline around 10 metres. That made a decent test of the drysuit's insulation -- I was pretty warm. Conditions were great -- flat seas, 10 metres of vis once you got under the lay of warm muck near the surface.

    I still had quite a lot of water coming in through the wrist seals, though. My theory is still that the undersuit's sleeves are too far forward and interfering with the seals (they're brand new and seem to fit snugly, so I don't think it's the seals themselves). The undersuit is quite a tight fit, so I can't actually pull the sleeves any further back. It wasn't a huge problem, just that my wrists and hands were getting a bit cold towards the end of the second dive, so I'll do another couple of dives as is and see how it goes. If I still have a problem, I'll take the undersuit to a tailor to see if they can cut a couple of centimetres off the sleeves.
     
  3. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    36,349
    13,574
    0
    The answer to your wrist problem is dry gloves. This may not have anything whatsoever to do with your undergarment -- more likely, it's the tendons in your wrists that pop up as you flex your wrists and hands, creating channels that allow water to seep in. Dry gloves will prevent this.

    The only way I can avoid getting water in through wrist seals without dry gloves is to cut the seals so small that they are EXTREMELY tight, which is not recommended.
     
    xyrandomyx likes this.
  4. xyrandomyx

    xyrandomyx Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cape Town, South Africa
    433
    118
    0
    Hrm. I'd considered this. My tendons aren't particularly prominent, although I am pretty skinny, so perhaps they're prominent enough. Maybe I should flex my wrists and watch for bubbles on my next dive, that'll probably give me a definite answer. It's possible that the seals aren't quite as tight as they could be (without being too tight), but I don't think so.

    I'm kind of hoping you're wrong (though you're probably not) -- dry gloves seem quite unwieldy. I might need them for warmth anyway next summer, though, when we go back to diving in colder water. How hard is it to use something like a camera with them on? I'm a way off being comfortable enough to take my camera along while diving dry, but I'll be doing that eventually.
     
  5. Kreef

    Kreef Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: South Africa
    16
    1
    0
    I did my course in August last year and bought the tri-lam suit I borrowed from my instructor for a very good price. It took a while to get used to the suit, but I'm never going back to a wetsuit for diving in Cape Town :)
    My suit also leaks at the wrists and there isn't a dive I don't have damp forearms, I was thinking of getting some Appollo Bio-Seals apparently they help prevent leakage.
     
  6. xyrandomyx

    xyrandomyx Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cape Town, South Africa
    433
    118
    0
    I got myself Apollo Bio Seals today to see if they'd help with the leaky wrist seals. In the long run, I think I'll go for dry gloves, but I don't want to deal with the added complication while I'm still figuring the drysuit out (and while the water's not too cold). I might still use my wetsuit here when the water temperature is 18C+.
     
  7. xyrandomyx

    xyrandomyx Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cape Town, South Africa
    433
    118
    0
    The Bio Seals did nothing to stop or even slow the leaking. They were much more comfortable than latex on skin, though, so I'm actually kind of considering getting the neck seals just for that reason. But they're a bit of a pain to put on, so maybe not. Grant from Blue Flash sold me a pair of these stand-alone gloves, which he'd had in stock forever, for R100 (~$10) at the Dive Festival -- for that price, they're worth a try: Northern Diver Neoprene Dry Gloves - DISCONTINUED OLD STYLE - The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop - Buy Scuba Diving Equipment & Scuba Gear. I just need to get some surgical tubing (and wait for an infection to clear) before I try them out. I'll be taking my drysuit back to him to have a look at the seals, in case there is something wrong with them (my bony-tendony wrists aside). I might also ask him to put smaller (trimmable) seals on the wrists, I'll see if he thinks that might be the issue.

    After doing a few drysuit dives, I'm now very much unhappy with the thought of going back to my wetsuit (even for a while). It's cold. Even with the leaky wrist seals, I'm much more comfortable in the drysuit for one dive. By the second dive the wet undergarment sleeves start to get really cold, though.
     
  8. Kreef

    Kreef Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: South Africa
    16
    1
    0
    Thanks for the feedback on the Bio Seals :thumbs_up:, those dry gloves look promising and for the price it's definitely worth a try.

    If they do help with the leakage can you please let us know, I for one will definitely pick up a pair if it helps with leaking wrist seals.
     
  9. al248005

    al248005 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Bridgeport, Ohio
    668
    97
    28
    Scubapro has the same exact glove also if you have a hard time getting the one's above.
     
  10. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,277
    5,016
    113
    What a bunch of warm water wussies. Here is my wetsuit and I dive in SoCal where "bottom" temperatures can hit the upper 40s at times!

    wetsuit hole in butt 2014-05-03-cs.jpg

    Seriously though, I understand why divers there and in cold regions such as Puget Sound need drysuits. There is something to be said for warmth and being dry upon emergence from the water. I find it especially important for videographers who want to avoid camera shake, especially when they are being still in the water and not generating much muscle heat. I used to dive a 3mm shorty in the summer here (temps of 65-72 F) but when I started taking video I noticed how much my arms were shaking and went to a full 7/5mm year round in our waters... well, maybe not exactly "full" as you can see in the picture above!
     
    EmJay and xyrandomyx like this.

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