Mostly Everything

Show and Tell: My Diving Gear

A number of blog readers I meet in person have asked about my dive equipment. Here’s a quick rundown of my complete gear, acquired in the course of 14 months. Most of the critical gear was recommended by my instructor Jan Acosta, alongside my frequent “Sweet Divers” dive group. I left out the rash guards and swim trunks.

Click on for the full rundown.

Regulator: APEKS XTX 20 Set
Store: Nautilus
Price: PHP 25,000.00

Probably the most expensive piece of my entire set, I bought the XTX 20 in 2009. Seen here is the depth gauge, octopus, first and second stage of the regulator. It is common to find the APEKS brand in dive boats as it has a great history for performance — “maganda ang timpla ng hangin” regardless of your depth.

According to Jan, APEKS is currently being run by the former guys of Scuba Pro which says a lot about the quality.

BCD: Aquatek Atlas
Store: Nautilus
Price: PHP 10,000.00

The Atlas is the best deal in town. For only PHP 10,000.00 you get a buoyancy control device that already comes with integrated weight pockets and a horn! If you’re not very comfortable with having integrated weights in your BCD, you might want to consider the slightly cheaper model, which sets you back PHP 8,500.00. This is a great deal for a workhorse jacket BCD especially if you’re starting to dive. You can upgrade to something sweeter later on. Wear this baby out!

Fins: Gull Mantis
Store: Eureka Dive Shop
Price: PHP 2,500.00

Not a huge fan of those high-tech looking fins. The Mantis is one of the world’s best fins for fighting current. It’s also red and goes really well with my gloves. I got the fins at a discount from Eureka Dive near Rockwell. The original price of these fins: PHP 5,000.00. I got them at 50% off as it was the last of their stock. The blue fins beside it are the fins I got at a package deal. If you’re starting to dive, do ask your instructor if he or she knows about the Nautilus deal: PHP 4,000.00 will get you a mask, fins, snorkel and booties. Not bad.

Gloves: Gull (red) and IST
Store: Eureka Dive and Nautilus respectively
Price: PHP 1,200.00 and PHP 600.00 respectively

Red fins, red gloves. Color coordination for photos. The Seeman snorkel is something I got from ROX. I only use it for snorkel trips to the beach.

MASKS: Gull Mantis and ORCA (Black)
Store: Eureka Dive and Nautilus respectively
Price: PHP 2,500.00 and PHP 999.00 respectively

The off violet Mantis serves as my main mask. The only motivation for buying it is that it makes me look like WALL E. Most importantly, if I smile, the mask doesn’t leak. I chose the odd color for a dive mask for photos, since most dive masks are black. Easier to tell myself apart!

Above is a random display of dive gear accessories inculding a generic dive balloon on the right, reef hook (which I never used), necklace regulator holder, tent peg for pointing at stuff, 50 ft worth of string, and 8 lbs of weights. The weights were purchased from Nautilus for PHP 119.00 / pound. The weights are configured so that I can slowly lose 2 lbs intervals through time, working from 8 to 6 to 4 to 2 and eventually weightless diving. Don’t invest immediately in weights as your buoyancy control will change through the months you start diving. I’ve stayed at 8 lbs for several dives without shooting up: once you can dive with no weights, the tradition states that you give them away to new divers. 🙂

Above is a display of apparel including a 3mm Henderson Gold Core wetsuit (I got it at a discount of PHP 4,000.00 when the original price was at PHP 15,000.00 due to “odd size”), surfer pants and a cap. My usual config includes wetsuit + rash guards, but the summer months made me abandon these for the good ol’ shorts and rash guards.

I’ve got a number of bags, rubber duckies and crates, but the “fake Pelican” tote bag is a useful addition to my luggage. A real Pelican case this big (it has wheels and a retractable handle) will set you back more than PHP 20,000.00. This one is only PHP 6,000. You’d need to replace the foam for compartments and for this size, JT Photo in Pasong Tamo will do this for PHP 5,000.00.

I forgot to include my two Aquatek LED dive lights (PHP 1,700.00 each) for night and wreck diving. They’ve since become redundant after I bought a 15 watt LED light that goes together with my Ikelite video rig. The LED light sets you back PHP 12,000.00 while the Ikelite + JVC set (1080[ recording) will set you back PHP 24,000.00. A more in depth look here. Sample here.

barely seen below my light is an Aladin Tec 2G dive watch (PHP 20,000.00).

Yeah, diving can be expensive at first, but once you acquire gear, it becomes very affordable with day trips at only PHP 1,700.00 for two dives out and buffet. Note that I didn’t buy everything in one go. It really depends on your level of commitment. You can always rent your BCD and regulator, by far a more affordable solution. But if you’re serious, getting your own gear is tantamount.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

2 replies on “Show and Tell: My Diving Gear”

Hi Jayvee! So do you think I should get the package deal (since i need booties rin) of Nautilus or the Gull Mantis fins na talaga? I had a hard time fighting the current in our dives because of my small fins.

im happy with the gull mantis fins although mas mahal. but i’ve never looked back. 🙂 the nautilus deal is IMHO for starters, and it is gear you eventually outgrow. ive changed my mask, fins, booties na and im using GULL!

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