Category Archives: Gear Reviews

Hollis SMS 100

Hollis SMS 100
Hollis SMS 100

Uwe has decided to do a full gear review of the Hollis SMS 100 Sidemount BCD.  It just so happens it’s the BCD that we chose for use on our PADI Sidemount course with Jeff Loflen early this summer.   I have to say, I would have to rate it as a 9 out of 10.  I have been very impressed in the Hollis SMS 100, it;s easy to wear, easy to customize and also, fairly well priced for a BCD.

I have had about 40 some odd dives on the Hollis SMS 100, the BCD is a sturdy, easy to dive.  I have not used it as a back mount BCD but I have a couple of the local divers who have and they were very impressed.  In order to cold water sidemount, I decided to turn my bungees around and use the clips on the assessor D-rings in the back on the bcd instead of the quick links, and on the quick links I put a big 3 inch Stainless still sliding gate clip, so it was easier to use when wearing dry gloves.

Though I have not used many Sidemount BCD’s I think the Hollis SMS 100 is a well made, rig, and I think this will be the main BCD for diving from here on in.

If you are interested in Sidemount Training let us know or contact Ocean Quest Dive Center about the training course.  They have the Hollis SMS 100 in rentals for use on the course, so what better way to know which one to buy then to dive it first!!

Whites Fusion Thermals

UWE has been doing some gear trials and we have been trialing the Whites Fusion Thermals.  These thermals have easily scored a stunning 9 out of 10.  After about 15 dives on these thermals, it is easily the warmest thermals we have ever used.  These have been trialed along side the BARE T100’s, Weasels, and the new 4th Elements Halo’s.

The BARE thermals did not even show up to the game and were blown out of the water after the first dive.  The Weasels and the 4th Elements did a great job with warmth, but mobility was reduced a fair amount compared to the Fusions. Here is a video showing the Fusions.

Gear Review: UK Sun Ray LED Light

[singlepic id=215 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=right]I just purchased the new UK Sun Ray LED light, from Suncoast Diving in Sechelt, and WOW what a light. I used to have UK Light Cannon and this new Sun Ray has just about TWICE the power along with a low and high switch which I found to be very effective, especially during night dives.
The other thing that I like about Sun Ray is that I dropped it on the floor and it was just fine, not like Light Cannon, if you dropped it then it may or may not work again.
In my humble opinion this is the BEST light that UK has brought out and it comes complete with a rechargeable battery so no more buying batteries all the time.

Yours in Diving,

Bob Hodgson

Gear Review: Galileo Sol

Wrist Mount Computer, Transmitter, Heart Monitor


Easy to code, easy to read, easy to navigate.
Simple to set the transmitter, and found even if you’re a bit longer getting into the water and don’t get a chance to purge lines to change air pressure and the default surface mode time (3mins) has passed and the computer turns off, once you get in the water the computer pops on and picks up your air pressure a few seconds later. Large screen with legible display big enough for your buddy beside you to read without eye strain. When in surface mode, travelling through the various menu options is intuitive, with the only procedure of “exit” from a general screen option needing to be looked up in the manuel.  The logbook feature is my favourite, with your dive profiles in graph form being displayed right on the computer (no PC upload needed!). The graph profiles also have concurrent temperature readings, as well as your heart rate.

If on an angle, the digital screen started to become illegible/blur together, so looking almost directly ontop of the screen is needed. Has a setting “remaining bottom time” RBT, seperate from your remaining No-deco time, that takes into account how much time you have remaining, using your current SAC rate, at that depth before you reach your pre-set reserve gas. It has an audible alarm at 3mins RBT, 2mins RBT, 1min RBT,0mins and pretty much all the time after. It also set an alarm off when your heart rate (if it was even being picked up) was increasing, indicating a higher work load. That would be fine if the fact that your computer sounding an alarm while your 70+feet under water didn’t set your heart a-pumping even faster, keeping the cycle going. The heart rate monitor itself seemed a bit more effort than it was worth. Being female, it must be donned in private, then getting confirmation from the Sol that it’s receiving a BPM transmission is difficult. Then when looking at the readings received afterwards in the logbook, the information seemed all over the place. These difficulties could be due to insufficent contact between monitor and skin (moisture is needed, and unless your in a wetsuit, your drysuit leaked, you’re particularly sweaty or really wet down the sensors before hand and hope you don’t dry it out before you dive, keeping it moist is hard), distance between monitor and computer is more sensitive, or my heart really was all over the place and the computer was reading it just fine.

[singlepic=204,320,240,watermark,right]Overall, I’m happy with the inwater and surface functions of the Sol that we’ve used so far. I’d be interested in doing more with it for nitrox, possible tech diving, as well as it’s PC interface. A transmitter is a nice change, and especially one that isn’t particularly fussy over my time to get into the water (particularly good if you’re an instructor with students, a gear intensive person, a distance from your dive site, or a bit more detail oriented than time oriented when getting geared up). But I’m not quite sold on the heart rate monitor, though I like the idea of the information it can give you. The problems that I had with it could possibly be solved with more familiarity with it, further reading of the manual, and some persistance, but so far I’m not convinced. Plus it pinched a bit:P