Bonaire is a scuba diving trip. Makes packing the scuba gear easy. Everything goes! Well, almost.
I crossed off the following items as they will not go to Bonaire – Panty hose (used to help get on a 7 mil or thicker wetsuit), warm dry clothes (used when diving in cold water), swim nose plug (won’t need it – no chlorine in the big pool). Everything else goes.
You are probably asking how we take all this gear AND go carry on. We do it by pushing the weight limit and by sacrificing the amount of clothing we take. How many clothes do you really need to take on a scuba dive/beach holiday to a hot climate?
Certification Cards and Dive Logs
It is important to take all your certification cards – dive and nitrox. The dive shop will ask to see the cards to verify that you are qualified to dive. Our dive logs are getting fat, so we have taken out the first 70 or so pages. Other divers have told us that they have been asked to show their whole dive logs to verify the number of dives. We have never come across this. We need to watch the weight of our bags, so we have opted not to take the whole dive log. We take enough blank pages to write up all the dives we will be doing.
Wetsuits, Hoodie and Booties
We used to dive with rented shorty wetsuits and then one year, in Cozumel, I got touched by a long tendril of (we think) a jellyfish across my calf. Stung nicely, so we asked for some vinegar at our favorite lunch stop to relieve the pain. After that, we bought 2 – 3 mil wetsuits. They are mostly for protection from the underwater environment and also for warmth. Then Mur bought me a hoodie to wear under my wetsuit for warmth because I was getting cold on the second dive. When we bought our fins, we decided to buy ones that we could wear in cold water. For cold water, we have booties for warmth, and the fins fit over the booties.
We have slowly been adding safety items to our gear. Dive computers for more accurate dive profiles, a compass, safety sausages. Our dive computers are”Gekko”s made by Suunto. Fairly basic computers that handle oxygen and nitrox. We went on a “live aboard” dive trip around Tobago one year. Everyone had to carry a safety sausage when diving in case we got separated from the group as the currents were quite strong. Murray and I thought the sausages were a good idea to carry all the time. We each have one with about 15 ft of line and a tiny reel made out of a film canister. They go in the pocket of our BCD in case we need them.
Snorkel and Swim Gear
We always carry our snorkels, swim shirts, caps and goggles as we love to snorkel and swim when we are not diving. If we are going to the ocean, we want to spend as much time in the ocean as we can. Murray wears a do-rag as he is bald and the reflection off the water makes for a really red pate.
A few years ago, we bought an underwater housing for my small Canon camera. We have just loved taking pictures. Then we bought a strobe flash so we could get better colour underwater. That was an excellent buy and I recommend to anyone interested in underwater photography to invest in a strobe flash.
One issue with going carry on is the weight of the batteries for the camera, strobe and the dive lights. The camera and flash each take 4 AA batteries. We take rechargeable AA batteries, a small charger and an extra set of regular AA batteries. The dive lights take 4 C batteries.We take Alkaline C batteries, but after reading another travel blog, we are going to investigate which type of battery weighs less.
When taking our open water certification, my daughter had trouble clearing her ears, so the dive master suggested we buy some Sudafed. It comes in both children and adult doses. We always carry some in case someone has ear issues.
I wear glasses. One dive trip, I realized I was destroying my favorite glasses by wearing them on the dive boat – they were getting salty and they were rusting! Since then, I have an old pair of glasses that I wear on the dive boat.
We have two small (5″ x 6″) booklets that we take for fish identification. They are by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach. They are “Reef Creature” and “Reef Fish”. These are specifically for Florida, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. It is advertised that they are waterproof and fit in a BCD pocket, but we keep ours dry and on land. We also have the 3 volume Reef Set that we look at before we leave – it stays home.
Lion fish are invading the Caribbean and eating their way through all the fish. There is a concerted effort to control this invasion, so the Bonaire National Marine Park asks divers to place a marker where lion fish are spotted. Dive operators supply markers, but have asked that divers bring wine corks to help with the supply of markers. We have gathered a small sandwich bag of corks to take to aid in the cause.
The rest of the items on the list are pretty normal. We have a box in the closet that holds all our dive gear. I pulled the box down and we will go through it and divide up the stuff. We will also double check the camera housing, strobe flash, batteries, dive computers etc to make sure they work properly.