Saying goodbye to old equipment

12 May

I am the kind of person that keeps clothes because they have sentimental attachment for me. Like this tee-shirt that I have with a picture of duck on the front holding a six pack of Fosters and wearing an Australian cowboy hat and it says “Crocodile Duckdee” on the front. It is old and frayed and I can’t really wear it out, I mean, it is for a child. But I remember getting that tee-shirt with my mom and my brother and sister in a little shop in St. Ives in England. I loved that shirt, and I still do. Or this pair of Kickers (these are shoes) that I bought when I went to France when I was 16 years old. They are red, yellow, green and black and are totally awesome. I spent almost all my holiday money on them, and I love them. They are in my closet now. I never wear them… but I can’t throw them out.

It drives Chris crazy. “You never wear that, throw it out.” Or one of his favorite things to say is when I leave something on the counter and he will say “are you keeping this for sentimental reasons, or can I throw it out?” (It is most likely a bottle cap or something like that.)

I am the same with scuba diving equipment. I have been wearing the same BCD ever since I got certified. It is an AP Valves BUDDY BCD and I have done probably 3,000 dives with it. It has these wonderful deep pockets so that I can collect sentimental stuff underwater and keep it. Sometimes when I start pulling stuff out I will find fishing line, car keys, broken shells and all sorts. I can keep my SMB (aka “safety sausage”) and reel in these deep pockets, I can keep my compass and my resuscitation mask as well as all the other crap I find. When I first bought the BCD it was all black with these shiny reflective stripes that were great for night dives. It has two trim pouches right at the shoulder and I would put one pound in each shoulder. Here is a photo of me when I was working in the Bahamas, you can clearly see my beautiful BCD with my knife on the low pressure inflator.
Caribbean Dive

You all know what I am talking about. I have seen you come to the diving center from the far out reaches of the world with your diving gear. You love it, you trust it, you are going to pay that extra baggage fees, you are going to lug it onto the plane and all the way to Saint Martin for just two days of diving. You have to, you don’t want to dive with anything else.

Me neither.

I have a relationship with my BCD. However, she isn’t doing too well. (My BCD is a female!). No, she isn’t. Now… she is a light brown color that looks like cow dung that has dried in the sun. The reflective stripes have all worn away and then about 2 months ago I lost the cap to the kidney dump, which meant that I couldn’t inflate my BCD. I replaced it with one from Chris’ old Buddy BCD, but then something else happened. The zip that holds the air bladder inside the BCD broke. Chris was trying to open it, and it just snapped off due to rust.

All was not lost, there is a sail maker on the island who could most likely fix it. Then I could have my old BCD back in the water. So, in the meantime I have been using one of the Octopus Diving School’s old BCDs. It is one that we don’t use in rental anymore because it is too old and falling to bits, but we still have it just in case. The arms are way too big and the pockets all have holes in them. This means that any thing I put in them falls out.

Well, the other day Chris came back to the center with a new BCD for me. “I know you love your old BCD, Sally, but you have to get a new one.” I think I had a little temper tantrum because I’m pretty sure it ended in an argument and the BCD stayed on the shelf in the office for about 2 weeks. “You better do something with that BCD, Sally. It is just collecting dust, if you don’t want it, take it back and get a different one.”

So… I went back to the store and I tried on almost every BCD that they had. Some I didn’t like the way that they fit me, or I didn’t like the integrated weights, or the back inflation. Some just simply didn’t have the right color and of course I needed big pockets.

Guess which BCD I came home with? Yup, of course, I came home with exactly the same BCD that Chris originally bought me. I took my knife of of the low pressure inflator from my old BUDDY BCD and zip tied it to my new BCD. I put the SMB, reel and compass in the pockets. I adjusted the tank band so that it wouldn’t slip off and then… I finally took her underwater. Here is a photo that Michelle took of me imitating a trunkfish. It isn’t the best picture of the new BCD, but it’ll do.

It wasn’t so bad. Actually, I kind of like it. It is a ScubaPro Bella and the pockets aren’t that big, and I find it difficult to get into them while I am diving. But I love the trim pockets, I can put one pound in each side. Plus, it is all shiny and new. The only problem is I need to clip on my alternative air source somewhere, but I will sort that out.

So, my old Buddy BCD is now in the container, up on a shelf. Rejected, broken and unused. I haven’t thrown her out though, I could never do that. I’ll let you know how it goes with the new Bella, so far it is looking good, but don’t tell my old BCD that!

(Sally wrote this blog 🙂 )

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