Sunday August 31 , 2014

Getting Most Out of Diving

I am here for a long time not a deep time

Although I love my deep diving to be honest most of my dives are around the 15m mark. I mainly do these dives in Sydney as there is so much to see right off the shore and it is quick and easy to do. No need to wait for a boat, travel out on the boat, get sea sick, have the dive cancelled due to rough conditions, take heap of gear and mixes etc. I find the shore dives around Sydney are excellent and I really enjoy diving them.
What I do not enjoy is walking back to the car to change my tank over to go for the second dive and it taking half the day to do the 2 dives. I did my Hollis Prism rebreather course a couple of years ago. It was a bit of an over kill using a tec rebreather on a 15m shore dives but it did allow me to do a nice long dive and not have to get out for the tank change over. The unit required a fair bit of set up with the need for 100% oxygen & a 5 min pre breath although I loved the bubble free diving and the warm air it really was not suited for what I wanted to do most of the time.

Gaint Cuttlefish

Diving a Hollis Prism at Oak Park, Cronulla

Just recently I did my Hollis eXplorer training and now realize this is the unit for me. It is designed with the recreational diver in mind, it is easy to set up, use and maintain. The computer goes through all the checks with you and you just put a nitrox mix in it so there is no real chance of oxygen toxicity. As well as this it has an inbuilt CO2 sensor. I just feel that every thing is set up on this unit to make it super safe. Yes it has a max depth rating of 40m but generally I only do dives deeper than 40m every couple of months so this does not worry me.

As well as this I love the feeling on diving on a rebreather as it is so peaceful. It is kind of like free diving, so quite and relaxing. The fish really do come up closer to you and the fact that there is not noise is kind of meditating! I did not believe it till I tried it but it is amazing how much warmer you are on a re breather. As it is circulating your air the air you breath is warm. When you breath from a scuba tank the air is really cold. This makes a big difference to how you feel on the dive.

With rebreather course you learn the unit you are diving with. Unlike doing a scuba course where you can buy and gear at the end each course is specific to the unit and normally you have to buy the unit. We believe the eXplorer is going to be so popular, is so safe and so easy to dive we actually rent the units. So you do not have a big investment to do the training and after the training you can continue re breather diving on a rened unit.

So what stopping you. If you are a recreational diver, wanting to get closer to the marine life, stay in the water longer and be warmer while diving theses are some of the advantages of diving the Hollis eXplorer.  Come along and give it a try on one of our eXplorer  Discover Days.



Hideaway Island after Sunset

During the day, Hideaway Island is a tropical paradise with constant hot weather and a perfect coral reef system straight off the beach of all snorkelers and scuba divers to enjoy. After sunset, Hideaway Island still remains comfortably warm, and there are plenty of activities to do!


Hideaway Island Feast

Hideaway Island holds a traditional Melanesian feast

Vanuatu is famous for their beautiful culture, which they love to celebrate. Every Thursday night on Hideaway Island holds a traditional Melanesian feast, which allows guests to really indulge in true flavors of the Melanesian culture. Guests are welcomed with a local Mele band singing traditional string music around a bon fire while you experience Kava tasting. During the meal, you will taste local delicacies such as Kumula, lap lap, tuluk, Hideaway’s world famous fresh coconut curry, and many more. During the evening, the hosts and band will encourage you to join in with the singing and dancing around the fire making the atmosphere one you will thoroughly enjoy.


Hideaway after sunset

Night Time Entertainment on Hideaway Island

Taking the custom ferry across the bay on Friday and Sunday nights, guests are able to join the Beach Bar for two locally organized productions. On Friday nights, a local group performs an incredible fire show. This performance attracts hundreds of people so it’s suggested to go over early to secure the best seat! With fire spitting, fire wheels, and an incredible fire dancing, it really is an event you do not want to miss.

Alternatively, on Sunday nights, the Beach Bar is host to a local circus act on sunset. With slack wire balancing, stilts, clowns, incredible juggling, and more incredible acts, the overall performance is incredibly impressive by the local Mele group.


incredible fire dancing

Incredible fire dancing

Some other night activities organized throughout the week on Hideaway Island are movie nights, beach BBQ’s, and organized night snorkels. Movie nights run twice a week with a range of genres available to choose from. New blockbuster films have even made their way into the choices!

A local Mele band accompanies hideaway’s beach BBQ each Saturday night. Guests enjoy a mix of local and western food in the beautiful beach styled buffet while enjoying the music from the local band.

For guests that are interested, a guided night snorkel can be arranged with the dive boys on Monday, Wednesday or Saturday. The guide takes snorkelers off the shore to explore the shallow reef system in a new environment. Snorkelers will find different marine creatures they did not see during the day and, if they are lucky, experience the love of bioluminescence lights in the water.


Even when the sun has set, Hideaway Island is a tropical paradise of the night. With plenty of activities happening throughout the week on the island itself and over the bay in the Beach Bar, there is never a dull evening.  Check out our holiday trip we are running to Hideaway Island during the New Year! You definitely don’t want to miss out on such an opportunity.


Hollis SD7 Flex Semi-dry

Wetsuits were invented in 1952, originally, wetsuits were made only with raw sheets of foam-rubber neoprene that did not have any backing material.  These old wetsuits were poor quality and not very durable. The later use of glue and heat-sealed tape made the wetsuit’s seams stiff and uncomfortable. Eventually wetsuits became lined with nylon to make them softer to the skin, but it also decreased the flexibility of the wetsuit. It took another 20 years or so for a solution was found: double- backed neoprene, sewed together. But the sewing resulted in punched holes and the sea water flushed through the seams of the wetsuit. To avoid this, the seams became the focus of development and resulted in better techniques in seam binding, including seam taping and seam gluing. The technology has changed considerably over the years.

old wetsuits

Diver John Foster wears Two of the early neoprene wetsuit prototypes, circa 1952.

When I started diving in the early 90′s, the farmer John, 2-piece 5mm wetsuit was the favoured wetsuit around Sydney. This was stiff, and compared to today’s wetsuits uncomfortable and on a thermal basis not very efficient.  When Abyss Scuba Diving opened in 2000 new higher stretch one-piece wetsuits started to come onto the market and today the vast majority of wetsuits are a result of that evolutions and the development of high flex neoprene.

This evolutionary process has at the same time led to the development of the Semi-dry suits. A Semi-dry suit is effectively a wetsuit with better-than-usual seals at wrist, neck, ankles and most importantly the zip. The seals limit the volume of water entering and leaving the suit. The wearer gets wet in a semi-dry suit but the water that enters is soon warmed up and does not leave the suit readily, so the wearer remains warm.

Hollis SD& Semi-dry

The Hollis SD7 Flex Semi-dry design makes it an exceptionally comfortable suit

The pinnacle of the evolution is the Hollis SD7 Flex Semi-dry. The Hollis SD7 Flex Semi-dry design makes it an exceptionally comfortable suit, functional and attractive. The Hollis  SD7 Flex Semi-dry is constructed from a 7mm compression resistant neoprene, combined with Supatex and high Stretch panels make this one of the most advanced Semi-dry’s on the market.  The SD7 comes with an improved TIZIP type zipper, longer than a  normal zip it ensures it is easier to wear and put on and take off. It is much more flexible and robust and is protected by a neoprene band that closes with Velcro, to minimize the flush through and to protect the zip whilst diving. The suit is overall made of super-elastic neoprene 7mm with new compounds patented by Hollis and combining but uses different thicknesses to achieve an unusual elasticity.

Some of the features that make the SD7 the the perfect wetsuit for diving around Sydney include :

SD& zip

The SD7 comes with an improved TIZIP type zipper


SD7 wrist seal

Extra long cuffs on sleeves and ankles to enable the fold for the perfect seal

Hollis SD7 Knee

Flexible and highly resistant knee protection, perfect for shore diving


SD7 zip pocket

Zip pocket on left leg with inner ring

Velcro Cargo pocket

Velcro Cargo pocket on the right leg

I firmly believe that diving is about enjoyment, and if you want to maximize that enjoyment then thermal protection plays an important part.  If you are wanting to enjoy diving around Sydney all year around then I strongly recommend that get yourself a semi-dry and that the Hollis SD7 Flex Semi-dry is the perfect suit for Sydney diving conditions.


Hollis SD7 Free bag

Peter Letts


Vanuatua Christmas Dive Trip

The Hideaway Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary is situated in Mele Bay, a 20 minute ferry ride from Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Surrounded by clear turquoise waters and coral reefs, it is one of the few places where you can hand feed hundreds of "tame" brilliantly coloured fish in a safe protected area. This is an experience you wont forget!


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