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scuba diving from a sailboat

Gear We Use For Diving From Our Sailboat

We didn’t own a lick of our own scuba or freediving gear before living aboard s/v Curiosity.  It never made sense to own gear because we only found ourselves diving a couple of times a year (if we were lucky).  So, we always rented from the dive operator we were going out with.

When living on a sailboat, on the ocean, it’s a no brainer to have a mini dive shop on board.  Not once have we regretted the investment and there are lots of reasons why.

  • Diving On Our Own Schedule
  • Not Diving With Crowds
  • Able To Dive Remote Areas
  • Handy For Underwater Boat Repairs & Maintenance
  • Convenience & Ease
  • Making New Friends By Filling Their Tanks

For our fellow #UnderwaterWorld lovers, here is our full inventory of dive gear and tips.

We’re not experts on scuba diving, freediving (which we really love) or dive gear.  But if it’s listed here, it means it works for us and has earned its place aboard the s/v Curiosity Dive Shop.

scuba diving icon gone with the wynns The Curiosity Dive Shop

swimming with eagle rays in bora bora

Freediving / Snorkeling Gear

Nikki – I like my low profile mask and prefer a simple snorkel. But the big thing to note here is my freediving fins.  Every pair of fins I tried on were way, way too big and wide for my size seven foot.  The SporaSub fins were the only ones I found that fit me.  I can wear them with or without socks/booties.

Jason

Scuba – BC/Reg/Octopus/Dive Computer/Tanks

ocean defender scuba jason

The AquaLung Travel Set was affordable and the perfect compact starter set for us.  It comes with the BC, regulator, octopus and dive computer.  We’ve been happy with the whole kit.  The only thing we’ve added/upgraded is our dive computer.  We prefer it on our wrist.

  • AquaLung Travel Set: https://amzn.to/2GmypV0
  • Tanks – Our current tanks are old used tanks that were gifted to us.  When we upgrade, we’ll let you know what we go with.

Dive Watch

This has been a big one.  It’s an all around beast of a watch which has taken our freediving/scuba game to the next level.

With or without tanks, in saltwater or freshwater, breathing nitrox, trimix or freediving, the computer is made for it all. The surface GPS navigation with full-color onscreen mapping and location reference has already been seriously sweet addition for drift diving and strong current pass dives. We’re able to mark our entry and exit spots.  It’s a smartwatch and dive computer combined into one…with too many features to list here.

 

Breathing Air Compressor

Bauer dominates the scuba tank fill market. They’ve been around forever and everyone we spoke to said they make the best portable breathing machines (we just call it a SCUBA air compressor). I reached out to the team at Bauer USA with a request to speak one of the engineers.  I had two big questions:

  1. Junior or Oceanus Model? I was told for filling tanks on a boat it’s best to buy the Oceanus as it is less affected by tilt. Basically, if you’re filling tanks in choppy or seas with swell you’ll want to go for Oceanus model.
  2. Which is better for world travel: Gas or Electric Air Compressor? The answer surprised me; the Gas model. They claimed it will be simpler to service and maintain in small countries. Plus, I was told most dive operators purchase the gas models as well…’the gas version is just proven to work’.

And that’s how we ended up with a gas model Bauer Oceanus.

While I had them on the phone, I tried to get a discount code for you (our loyal viewer). But, they said it’s a no-go since they don’t sell direct and they recommend people purchase through a local dealer.  Hey, never hurts to try right!?!

***Customer Service Note – The Oceanus compressor we purchased came with a Subaru engine and it worked fine for a year. There was a major flaw with some of those engines where the throttle cable messes up when servicing the carburetor (try googling it). We were in Tahiti and Bauer took care of us 100%. After writing the customer service department, alerting them to the issue, they sourced a new Kohler engine and shipped it to the local Bauer shop in Papeete. In less than a month we had the compressor back, new engine on and we were back to filling tanks and diving. That’s the customer service mantra we love: take care of the customer no matter what.

 

Dinghy Diving

sucba adventures and plastic heartbreak

A few tips we’ve learned…

Don’t forget to bring your dive flags with you (the US Dive Flag for the states and the International Dive Flag for everywhere else).

Make sure you have a solid anchor and plenty of rode for deep water.  We love love love our Mantus dingy anchor!  Mantus just makes good stuff that works well.  See their anchor here: http://bit.ly/MantusWynns

A solid dinghy and reliable engine are of course ideal.  Our Highfield dinghy and 25HP Yamaha engine haven’t failed us yet!

 

 📷 Underwater Photo & Video 🎥

We have fallen in love with underwater photography as much as being underwater.  Our gear is not top notch professional, but it gets the job done.  Expect to see a legit rig/lighting kit added here someday soon (Dear Santa…).

Jason and nikki wynn happy face swimming with whales in moorea french polynesia

 

Affordable Quality

Our main underwater camera is the Sony rx100v with the underwater housing.  It’s hands down the best entry level setup.  It’s affordable but leaps and bounds better quality over any consumer action camera.

Sony RX 100 V

Underwater Housing

 

Best Multipurpose Travel/Snorkel 

At the time of publishing, this camera doesn’t have an underwater housing but is waterproof up to 30ft.  We use it for snorkeling only to avoid an accidental flooding.  The quality and rugged durability of this camera can’t be beat.  See a full review here:

Rx0ii

 

Action Camera

The Go Pro does still have its place in our arsenal.  It’s a great all-around camera that gets the job done.  Just don’t go down without the underwater housing.  We’ve accidentally killed two cameras in the water.

Go Pro Hero7

 

360 and Super Creative

No more wondering if I caught that shark or ray that swam by, this camera films everything!  This camera is new for us but already we are super impressed with the stabilization and unique shots we can get.  We’re excited to get creative with this one!

Insta 360 One X

 

Did We Miss Something?

If we didn’t list a piece of gear that you want to know about or we did but you still have questions, drop us a note in the comment box below and we’ll update the post.  If you would like to see a video review or a deeper dive into a specific piece of gear, let us know that too.

If you have a fave piece of gear you think we need, or a DIY diving tip or trick, please tell us about it!

 

🙏 THANK YOU!

Sharing our lives and what we learn along the way is possible because of viewers like you.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey.

We’re not encouraging buying stuff you don’t need, but any grand adventure requires some gear. We’ve been traveling full time since 2011 and have purchased a lot of gear that has stood the test of time and continues to travel with us. Each item is handpicked and we never recommend anything we don’t personally use and love.

There is a buy button located within each product, some of those are affiliate links. An affiliate link simply means that if you click through and purchase (it costs you nothing extra) we get a few pennies too. If you enjoy what we do here, shopping through our links is a great way to help keep us creating and sharing…so thank you!

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (6)

  • Colin Meyerowitz

    Is it possible to fill Nitrox tanks by any means or is it too unsafe to have higher oxygen on board because of fire risks? Some of the docs I have seen the 2 of you dive are on the deeper side which would really be suited to Nitrox

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      You need an oxygen tank and special compressor to fill Nitrox. I’m guessing the oxygen tank requires all sorts of licensing/certification.
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Mark C

    I am a working diver and use an older model Intova Camera setup. It’s the CONNEX camera and light mount with 2 of their single LED lights.
    I dive in water with viz that most often barely reaches 3 ft, yet I can get quality video of the boats I’m inspecting/working on.
    This is set up as a handheld unit, and once I complete the building of my ROV, this will be mounted onboard (it can be hardwired to the surface).
    I also purchased a couple of their small point-and-shoot cameras (around $25 where I’m at) for my girlfriend’s daughters, but used them myself to see how well they worked. I found they did a fairly decent job for fun pic/vid taking when snorkeling.
    I wouldn’t use them for professional dive work, but they’d fill in as an emergency backup if someone’s main failed.
    .
    BTW, I have a few other brands of video cameras like the GoPro at my disposal as well, but the Intova works just fine for most of the work.
    Intova was bought out by another company, but you can find the Connex (as of 7-19-2019) online for around $40… which is WAY cheaper than when I first bought one.

    reply
  • Dana Leconey

    Where did you get your scuba tank stand? We are trying to find one to attach to the stanchons.

    reply
  • Bruce McCaskey

    Interesting information here on a variety of equipment..

    Can’t resist a side comment here – I’m guessing your intent was to express that one needs “plenty of rope for deep water” rather than “rode” but if you travel a considerable distance getting there I can see either expression working. You do an amazing job of editorial effort getting these stories and descriptions prepared for viewing and I’m impressed with how clear and easy to read they always are. I expect you frequently have to contend with computer word-processor off-target “autocorrect” actions and I know it’s not easy chasing them all down – they sort of hide in the shadows of what you know you intended to say.

    Getting to the point of my comment, I’m curious about how many hours of operation your compressor motor sees in a year. Is it a few hundred or less, or more like a thousand plus?

    reply
    • Tom Weinstein

      “Rode” is what sailors call a rope the connects to an anchor.

      reply

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