In 2006 we took up scuba diving. I have progressed in my certifications and include many of the basics and some of the more advanced including Wreck diving, advanced nitrox / deompression diving and solo / self reliant diver. This serves me well for both local and tropical destinations. While I would like to add a rebreather, at this time I cant justify taking it on the tropical trips in addition to my camera gear and I don't get in enough local dives to stay sufficiently proficient. I was all set to do this and then the Merge acquisition hit. Maybe if work dies down again a bit at some point... Teal is a Master Diver as well. Solo at night is a wonderful experience especially for fluorescence photography. It is naturally complemented by underwater photography. Currently I use:

With underwater photography, it is not a matter of IF but WHEN you will get a camera flood. This started ominously when I was looking to move up from a point an shoot (Sony DSC-P1), to a DSLR. Making the switch meant selling all of my Pentax film camera gear and converting to Nikon or Canon at the time (no film + digital, go all in). So on a trip to Bonaire, I rented a Nikon D-80 and all of the fixings with a pretty aluminum housing at Captain Don's. We headed over to the pier and Teal went down the steps first and Then I handed the camera rig down to her and turned back to fetch the rest of my gear. She called up asking "Are there supposed to be bubbles?". Well I got back down too late - first camera gone. Fortunately, I had not opened it since picking it up (and was tempted to put in a bigger storage card). So I was not out the cost of the gear, but this did make me reconsider changing at first.

I sold off all of my 35mm gear and went with a Nikon D200 and Ikelite housing. We did several successful trips and then we went to Wakatobi and I lost the Nikon D200 with a brand new 60mm macro to a flood. This was at the end of day 3 of a 10 day trip. I had only got in 1000 or so shots. On the Palau trip, the GoPro flooded as we headed down to a hook in dive. This is a case where having a special equipment rider insurance policy really pays off for the DSLR rigs. When I got back I had a check for the setup, including housing and then moved to the D300s as the D200 was now discontinued. The GoPros unfortunately have to be treated as disposables in the case of a flood.

I have gotten ever more fastidious in my prep and have a flashing leak detector in the Ikelite housing, but there is no room in the GoPro housing. The leak detector is from : Shipping time to the US was pretty quick. It flashes very brightly if there is even a tiny water drop that touches the sensor. This has worked well even with tiny dribbles that may otherwise go initially un-noticed but are still damaging. So don't be afraid of diving with a camera, but when the flood or other leak happens you just need to carry on. Don't let it ruin your trip. We share the GoPros among the group for back-up camera coverage. On the Palau trip, there were 3 flooded but we as a group still had a great time. On most trips we have no damage, but that one was particularly hard on the GoPros.

We have been travelling with a group of friends for a number of years. Our big Pacific and Asia trips are typically in the fall. During the trip we will vote on upcoming choices and send Colin Zylka, our trip leader with a shopping list to DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturers Association ) show each November. Based on the list and deals he can find we will then book the next trip(s) for 18-24 months out. The lead time for reservations at some of the more special locations is often 12-18 months, plus we need time to save up.

Here are some photo albums of a few of the trips: