Moving from a wetsuit into a dry suit was one of the best diving decisions I have made to date. I dive mostly In Victoria Australia and the water temperatures can often drop down to 10 degrees in winter. My first experience with my suit was comical and this post is a clear example of what not to do! I must stress don’t follow my example and if you make the switch yourself please contact a dive professional for a proper dry suit orientation.
I managed to pick up Beuchat ‘Baltik’ Cold Water Drysuit for an unbelievable price from Adreno, and even to this day I think they made a mistake. My suit arrived in the mail and I was stoked, I ripped apart the packaging to try it on. To my dismay, it didn’t fit, so I had to repackage it and wait for the returns process before I could give it a whirl. A week later and to the credit of Adreno customer service I had my new toy in my hands.
As soon as Friday arrived I traveled down the coast to my favorite shore dive spot at Portsea. I arrived at the car park and slid into my shiny new suit. It was a terrible day, wind rain and swell, not the best conditions, but I was determined not to be put off. After the help of a passer-by I was zipped in and strolling down the pier. It was time to do my entry and the waves were crashing over the lower platform, because of this whilst donning my fins I slipped and went ass over into the drink losing my mask and fin. I desperately tried to look for my mask, but it was long gone. I pulled myself out of the water and with my tail between my legs headed for the car to retrieve my spare mask.
Back at the pier with my backup mask and one fin missing, I made the plunge again. All went well this time, although it was a little difficult swimming with one fin. My mission was to repatriate my fin and if luck prevailed find my mask. After 30 minutes, I was about to give up when all of a sudden I came across my fin. This buoyed my hopes and with this renewed spirit, I continued my dive.
Now that I could fin I was able to get a hang of the suit and it was sublime, comfortable and warm. I was about to return to the surface when I caught sight of my missing mask, which did well to reverse my losses for the day.
All in all, I am very happy with the performance of the Baltik, its comfortable, hard wearing and most importantly doesn’t leak. It is important to remember that it’s not the drysuit that keeps your warm its the undergarment, so if you decide to go down this path you will also need to invest in one. After two years, I did have to replace the wrist and neck seals, which will set you back a little. I used DKG drysuits for this and I must commend them for the quality and service they provided.
There were a few things I did that day with which I’m not proud and I would implore to anyone that reads this post to avoid:
Never dive alone, without the proper training and a redundant air source
When using equipment for the first time always have a buddy or pay a professional to give your an orientation
Always carry a spare mask with you
When near the water have your BCD inflated so that you are positively buoyant