21 January 2012

Wearing the Lavacore Suit

At the end of December, I ordered a Lavacore Full Length Suit.  This is essentially a skin with a fleece layer designed to keep you warmer underwater.  Indeed, every garment sold by Lavacore carries a heat rating of 10, which is as high as the scale goes.  My suit finally came and I wore it under a sleveless vest with a hood and a full 3/2 mm wetsuit.  
 Usually, I am not warm, but I am able to tolerate the cold for the first 30 minutes or so of just about every dive.  With the lavacore suit, I was able to tolerate the cold water for the better part of an hour before I began to shiver.  Somewhere around 90 minutes we crossed the threshold of pain and by 102 minutes, I was eager to get out of the water.
Dianne and I left the apartment at 7:30 am and drove to the beach to meet Luis.  I had planned on diving the Little Coral Knoll off of Tower 15, but out of habbit I found myself parking at Tower 17 when Luis pulled in behind me.  So we dove the Fish Camp Rocks.
 There was a moderate wind from the East and some small surf.  The water temperature was 66 degrees.  The air temperature was in the 70's and it was actually warm standing in the sun.  I took the Canon 5d Mk II with the 100mm lens.  No diopter.  Luis wore his dry suit.  Dianne wore a 3/2 suit without a hood.
 We descended at the start of the reef and on our mark from the Tower.  There was a moderate current to the North and I though I had adjusted for it, but the first Mountainous coral we found was the one close to the Perpendicular Rocks, so after checking out the nearby rocks, we swam over to the Big Coral Knoll.
 Both Luis and I were taking pictures, so our progress was slow.  Dianne was swimming to stay warm, and darted here and there.  There was a surprising amount of life on the Knoll and the various rocks surrounding it.  I got a nice shot of a Star Horseshoe Worm.
 We swam with several Smooth Trunkfish and a couple of them were tolerant of the camera's stobe.  I took full advantage of the opportunity and got some interesting shots.  Its not often that I get a face shot.
From the Big Coral Knoll, we swam  to the Fish Camp Rocks and spent some time there taking portraits.  I got a nice shot of a tan/pinkish Christmas Tree worm on some green coral.
 I also got a nice shot of a blenny of yet undetermined identity, who allowed me to get quite close with the camera as he posed for his portrait.
 We found Yellow Jack as well as Black Margate, French Grunts, Smallmouth Grunts and Bar Jacks.  The Jacks come close to see if we have any scraps for them, but they are fast and somewhat difficult to photograph.
I was never warm in the way I had hoped to be with this new Lavacore suit, but I was able to tolerate some pretty cold water for about 90 minutes.  When it was time to get out, though, I was very happy to do so.  I was shivering and could barely hold the camera still for a shot.  Maybe we just need to move to Panama?

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