Drysuit Warm Water Diving

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brownick
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Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by brownick » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:59 am

Hello everyone,

I suppose I could probably post this question on one of the other boards though I tend to appreciate the advise of my fellow northwest divers a little more. I am going to be moving to St. Kitts (Caribbean) at the end of December for my pre-clinical 2 1/2 years of vet school and I'm planing on what gear to take down with me. I've been debating whether or not to take my drysuit (DUI TLS SE) down with me. I don't own a wetsuit thinner than a 7mL jacket & farmer john and don't really want to buy or rent one. I know it sounds crazy to dive dry is such warm waters though I really prefer my current gear configuration with my drysuit. I prefer the redundant buoyancy aspect, my trim characteristics, and my pockets on my drysuit. I guess my question is this: Will I overheat driving in a shell suit down there? The locals say the the water temperature is about 78-85 year round with air temperatures varying between approx. 70 and 90. Anyone here ever try diving dry in the Caribbean?

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Norris
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by Norris » Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:21 am

I couldnt imagine diving in that warm of water in a drysuit. I went to Jamaica a while back and with the water at 78 degrees I wore nothing but a rash shirt and shorts and was fine even at depth. Another thing to consider is sitting in that shell between dives and prior to splash, it may get a little warm.
Just something to think about. I think most choose the thin wetsuit and I am sure you can get some pockets thrown on there? Maybe cam band weight pouches for trim? Lighter fins.
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fmerkel
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by fmerkel » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:40 pm

I think you would die of heat exhaustion. I'm small, skinny, and dive a 4mm wetsuit, with hood, in the tropics when friends are diving like Norris. I can't imagine diving dry, especially suiting up. I have an 85* suit up rule I follow for diving here.

The drag alone underwater would not make it attractive.
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Jeff Pack
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by Jeff Pack » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:21 pm

I envisioned that if I travel to warmer waters, to just bring a shorty wetsuit with me. Cooler waters, my shell drysuit only, and colder waters the whole thing (shell and insulation).
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Waynne Fowler
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by Waynne Fowler » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:36 pm

brownick wrote:Hello everyone,

I suppose I could probably post this question on one of the other boards though I tend to appreciate the advise of my fellow northwest divers a little more. I am going to be moving to St. Kitts (Caribbean) at the end of December for my pre-clinical 2 1/2 years of vet school and I'm planing on what gear to take down with me. I've been debating whether or not to take my drysuit (DUI TLS SE) down with me. I don't own a wetsuit thinner than a 7mL jacket & farmer john and don't really want to buy or rent one. I know it sounds crazy to dive dry is such warm waters though I really prefer my current gear configuration with my drysuit. I prefer the redundant buoyancy aspect, my trim characteristics, and my pockets on my drysuit. I guess my question is this: Will I overheat driving in a shell suit down there? The locals say the the water temperature is about 78-85 year round with air temperatures varying between approx. 70 and 90. Anyone here ever try diving dry in the Caribbean?


What??? Dude??? Your leaving????! I think you could do either Nick and be just fine. I have a scuba pro nova scotia semi dry i use in the tropics i think its perfect for what youd be doing. Though your drysuit imho would work well where you're going. You and i are similar in size.... Call me i'll make you a crazy deal on my semi dry.... I wont be needing one for quite some time... I think you have my cell#... If not call the shop.... Its on the answering machine if its after hours
I hope you have an awesome time there lil' brother. Is Jen going with?????

X shorts cure the pocket issue btw:
Ripper of drysuits, mocker of divers...there are no atheist divers in a mistimed Deception Pass dive. Jeremy

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brownick
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by brownick » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:38 pm

Thanks for the input everyone! It sound like I should steer clear of the drysuit down there. Darn, I was hoping to avoid the added expense of another wetsuit.

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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by LCF » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:07 pm

I totally disagree. I just did ten days in the Red Sea, with water temperatures from 80 to 86. In the upper range, I dove my drysuit with just a base layer. In the lower range, I put a set of polarfleece sweats under the suit.

I was a little warm before getting into the water, but not bad (and air temperatures were in the 90s). I was warm and comfortable for 90 minutes at a time, and I could get back on the boat and take the suit off and go drink a Coke -- everybody else was running around wrapped in towels and looking for hot tea.

This is not the first time I have done this. I dive dry in Hawaii (75) and in Mexico (75) as well. It's delightful. Take your TLS, and put a nice wicking base layer under it. You'll like the pockets, and you'll like not being wet and chilled at the end of your dives.
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Jeff Pack
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by Jeff Pack » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:41 pm

I was just thinking about this as well, as my South Pacfic trip the water was about 77d, and to me just alittle cold with just shorts and a rash shirt. Not so bad when the air temp was mid to upper 80's. Most divers had shorties on, but when it cooled off abit in Rarotonga, those folks got kinda chilled.

My next trip will be to Cozumel and the Cenotes, and I'm bringing my drysuit shell, and just an UnderArmour underneath it. Or maybe just shorts and a t shirt.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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brownick
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by brownick » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:15 pm

Thanks again everyone! Sounds like I might bring the drysuit down and at least give it a shot. Wayne, I didn't even see your post until just now. I think I was typing my last post when you responded. I'll try and stop by the shop sometime this week and touch base with you. Thanks again!

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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by lizard0924 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:50 am

Given that you will be living in the tropics (and presumably diving regularly), I think you will find that your tolerance for the water temps will decrease as your dive numbers increase. Yes, 84 degree water is super-warm to a vacationer, even in a shortie (I've never been THAT tolerant...LOL), but things change when you dive those temps regularly.

I recently moved to Bonaire and find that after doing multiple dives per day on a near-daily basis (I am working in the industry), I am already thinking about a thicker wetsuit and a hood. My 4 mil just isn't going to cut it long-term. I know several people here who have tropical drysuits.

Enjoy St. Kitts. There is nothing better than living in the Caribbean. :)
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by citycatred » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:13 am

I say take the drysuit, I was diving 3-4 dives a day for a week and a half in Honduras and used my shell drysuit with a base layer. Yeah the first few days I had been diving wet, but the "warm" waters didn't seem very warm after multiple dives each day.
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by BlowBubbles » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:50 am

When I was in St Kitts I did not need a wetsuit. It was in July and the water temp was 80F. I only did 3 dives per day. I would get rash guard one-piece suit or a thin wetsuit. Mostly for protection from stinging things. DM are required there and they never wear wetsuits.

Great diving with good reef. See if you can get a dive on the wreck of the Christina, a sad story, but a good dive. Only time I have ever seen human remains on a wreck. There are hot springs on the reef that are within rec limits.

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Tom Nic
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by Tom Nic » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:44 pm

I would die.

Period.

Surface temps in the 90's, and water temps in the mid 80's - I would die. (I'm picturing myself sweating profusely in a T-Shirt and Shorts in full sun in Bonaire gearing up for another shore dive, then trying to imagine myself putting on a dry suit in those conditions. Like I said, I would die.)

But I'm a big guy and I overheat easily.

LCF is a wisp of a girl! :) (With utmost respect!) If you're skinny and get cold easy and will be doing multiple dives, why not use a dry suit!? Liz gave the perfect example of a DM doing multiple dives during a day. Even in 84 degree water you won't maintain core temp if you're spending 6 hours or so a day in the water.

However, for the occasional single recreational dive in mid 80's water a dry suit would be overkill - for me.

Now - If I was in Hawaii or parts of Mexico with mid 70's and lower temps, then definitely a dry suit would be wonderful!

Great advice in this thread... you know your heat / cold tolerance and should be able to make a decision from there!
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by RoxnDox » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:20 pm

Tom Nic wrote:...
Now - If I was in Hawaii or parts of Mexico with mid 70's and lower temps, then definitely a dry suit would be wonderful!

Great advice in this thread... you know your heat / cold tolerance and should be able to make a decision from there!


What if we don't know our heat/cold tolerance? I'm heading to Hawai'i in April (first trip there), and I have absolutely no idea what tropical waters are like... All my diving has been here in the Sound. I've got a decent idea how I react around here with a 7mm wetsuit, and a neoprene drysuit (Bare D6), but no experience in how that would compare to warm waters. Is that the sort of thing you find out by going there and trying out the waters (so to speak) once you arrive?

I'd assume the best way is talking to folks who've dove there, and the dive shops/charters, to see what they usually recommend?

Jim
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by BlowBubbles » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:33 pm

Warm water is nice not to need so much lead. When I was in Phuket the water was 86F, I was too warm in a 3mm. With the 3mm I was good with 12-lds lead using AL-80, AL backplate.

In Hawaii I saw a DM with 7mm Farmer and a 7mm top over that. I asked whynot a drysuit. They responded its tropical, no uses a drysuit. I'm ok with a 5mm, but drysuit would be nice there.

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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by Tom Nic » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:40 pm

RoxnDox wrote:
Tom Nic wrote:...
Now - If I was in Hawaii or parts of Mexico with mid 70's and lower temps, then definitely a dry suit would be wonderful!

Great advice in this thread... you know your heat / cold tolerance and should be able to make a decision from there!


What if we don't know our heat/cold tolerance? I'm heading to Hawai'i in April (first trip there), and I have absolutely no idea what tropical waters are like... All my diving has been here in the Sound. I've got a decent idea how I react around here with a 7mm wetsuit, and a neoprene drysuit (Bare D6), but no experience in how that would compare to warm waters. Is that the sort of thing you find out by going there and trying out the waters (so to speak) once you arrive?

I'd assume the best way is talking to folks who've dove there, and the dive shops/charters, to see what they usually recommend?

Jim


Definitely get in touch with them and ask questions.

In my experience water temps in the islands can be mid 70's and cooler at times. If you're a skinny wisp of a person that gets cold easy you will need minimum 3 ml or 5 ml fullsuit. When I went to Kauai last year I dove a 2ml shorty and was fine, however, as I mentioned, I run warm.

All the DM's that dive regular will be in fullsuits. When I dove the red sea the folks who lived there that were our instructors even wore hoods - thin blood and all that!

Exposure protection is a VERY individual thing, but advice that fits is usually abundant and easy to find.

Good luck!
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Re: Drysuit Warm Water Diving

Post by RoxnDox » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:04 am

Tom Nic wrote:
RoxnDox wrote:
Tom Nic wrote:...
Now - If I was in Hawaii or parts of Mexico with mid 70's and lower temps, then definitely a dry suit would be wonderful!

Great advice in this thread... you know your heat / cold tolerance and should be able to make a decision from there!


What if we don't know our heat/cold tolerance? I'm heading to Hawai'i in April (first trip there), and I have absolutely no idea what tropical waters are like... All my diving has been here in the Sound. I've got a decent idea how I react around here with a 7mm wetsuit, and a neoprene drysuit (Bare D6), but no experience in how that would compare to warm waters. Is that the sort of thing you find out by going there and trying out the waters (so to speak) once you arrive?

I'd assume the best way is talking to folks who've dove there, and the dive shops/charters, to see what they usually recommend?

Jim


Definitely get in touch with them and ask questions.

In my experience water temps in the islands can be mid 70's and cooler at times. If you're a skinny wisp of a person that gets cold easy you will need minimum 3 ml or 5 ml fullsuit. When I went to Kauai last year I dove a 2ml shorty and was fine, however, as I mentioned, I run warm.

All the DM's that dive regular will be in fullsuits. When I dove the red sea the folks who lived there that were our instructors even wore hoods - thin blood and all that!

Exposure protection is a VERY individual thing, but advice that fits is usually abundant and easy to find.

Good luck!


Thanks. I'm probably closer to your end of the spectrum, I suspect (it's been a good many years since I was even within shouting distance of skinny...). With the dates we're going (first week of April) I imagine I'd be happy with a thinner full, but I will probably try out a shorty with some snorkeling (just to be sure, ya know...) to see how that feels. We're going to be on Kuaui, really really looking forward to spending some serious time underwater (while my wife attends her medical conference).

Jim
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