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The Big Scuba Gear Purchase, Part 2 November 4, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Equipment.
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Continuing from part 1, I walked into Colt Creek Diving in Newmarket Ontario for the second time in my life with the intention of buying some gear. This time Brad, the owner, was behind the counter. I had a shopping list and we talked about my diving and what I was looking for.

In retrospect, I would have gone a slightly different route. But I hadn’t really done that much diving at that point and didn’t have the perspective I have now, and Brad didn’t know the direction I was going either. The good news is that I still use almost all the gear that I bought that day.

Brad gave me a good deal on a very fine regulator, the Apeks Black Pearl. This is based on the ATX200 but has a Chromium, Titanium and Zirconium first stage with a picture in relief of a helmeted diver. It’s the kind of thing you’d see on a fancy belt buckle. There were 3,000 units produced, and mine is #2990. It’s always performed well. If I bought it again I would have got a DIN model, as the adaptation of DIN Regs to Yoke tanks is easier than the reverse. My tanks (bought later) are all DIN, with yoke inserts if I need them.

The octo is also made by Apeks, but it is a flat design called the Egress. This regulator will work quite well inverted, which may come in handy if you’re desperate for your next breath of air. It also takes up less space as it sits flat against your chest. I’ve used it in cold water below 100 feet and it performed great. I got into a minor debate in some scuba forum about what the best reg to use for an octo would be. I thought the Egress was a good choice. Others had the opinion that you it should be the same model as your primary. I’m not so sure. Once you or your buddy is breathing from the octo, you should be ending the dive. Cracking pressure and venturi adjustments are unnecessary, I think. What you want is simple and reliable – like a reserve parachute. My only complaint is that the rubber decorative cover fell off. It doesn’t affect the function at all.

The reg has a console with analogue SPG and depth gauge, and an Apeks Compass. The top of the console swivels so you can turn it over to see the compass on one side and the depth gauge on the other.

I also bought a full length Henderson 3mm Hyperstretch wet suit. Up to that point all my warm water diving was in just a t-shirt.

The Buoyancy Compensator was a Seaquest Raider. This is a back-inflate unit with the capability of accommodating a redundant bladder and double tanks. I did my DSAT Tec Deep Course using this BC, but have since upgraded to an OMS which I like better. So now I use the Seaquest for recreational diving and the OMS for technical diving. This is one of the items I’d change.  Still, it’s a good recreational BC and can be a backup for my technical dives, but the OMS fits me better with the doubles. Back-inflate makes floating on your back more difficult that a standard BC, but I find it much better when underwater.

I also bought my first of two Apeks Quantum Dive computers. Computer diving really changes everything. I really enjoyed having one, and extending my dives to an hour or more. One the other hand, I did my first mandatory decompressions within days of starting to use it.

Added to this a small number of accessories – a new mask (Seaquest), a small knife, a safety sausage (no longer used, the OMS I have now is much better), a pocket mask, and a bag to carry everything in.

I was now set for my week in on the island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.

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Comments»

1. Andie - October 1, 2010

Hi Chris! I stumbled upon your blog while Googling for the Apeks Black Pearl regulator. I’m trying to get my hands on one but it appears to be near impossible! If by the most remote of chances, you’d be willing to part with your Black Pearl, or you know of someone else who has one for sale, could you please be so kind as to drop me an email? Thanks for reading this & have a nice day 🙂

Andie

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Chris Sullivan - October 3, 2010

Hi Andie,

Maybe in a few years. Right now, I need it for teaching recreational diving. It’s my only yoke reg and has the right setup for single tank diving.

Good luck in your search,
Chris

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2. Andie - October 4, 2010

Hi Chris,

Thanks for replying. I shall persist in my search, lol!

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