For a long time, I have had a lifetime goal of spending a year under water and while I still have a way to go, I am making progress. What I didn’t expect is that my dive light would achieve my goal before I did! “What?” you ask. Here is the story!
Last year, a group of us went diving to God’s Pocket Resort in Port Hardy. Amazing diving! Walls of strawberry anemones fighting for space with plumose anemone, basket stars, red soft coral, brooding anemone, and coralline algea. Marching atop this carpet is a myriad of life including puget sound king crab, nudibranchs, shrimp and decorator crabs. Amongst the forests of bull kelp you can find Puget sound rockfish, china rockfish, blue and blacks, ling cod, kelp greenling, painted greenling and the occasional harbour seal feeding on all of the above. Round all this out with octopus and wolf eels and you are just starting to get the picture.
With so much life to see and a brand new Go Pro camera, I was busy taking video footage and not paying nearly as much attention to gear set up as I should have. My set up is pretty sweet: A Go Pro Hero 3, Black Edition on a Light & Motion Action Camera Tray. On one side I have the Sola Photo 800 set up and on the other a Sola Video 1200. This gives me the maximum range of options with red light to capture night behaviour, soft video light for shooting footage, a piercing white light when I want to see into cracks and crevices. The lights simply clip on to the action tray and you are ready to go … almost! One key step (and this is the one I missed) is to add a small tether to the D ring connection on the light. This way if you bump or bang the light head or damage the arm in any way, you have a back up connection.
At the end of our 8th dive in our week at God’s Pocket, we were reboarding the boat by way of the elevator lift (the resort is as amazing as the diving – you should really check it out) and I knocked my camera and light head against the side of the boat (hard!). The light, not being tethered on, came off the arm and back down to the bottom it went. I had just turned it off and while my buddy and I went down for a look, we couldn’t find it amid all the life. Disappointed in my loss, I considered it a gift to the sea and went on to enjoy another 6 dives.
Imagine my surprise when just over 6 months later – I got a call from the resort with the report that one of their guests had found my Sola Video 1200 light. And not only that, despite having a good scratch in the side and a small bit of damage to the on/off switch where I had knocked it, the light was in great shape and in fact, was still charged and came on as soon as they tested it. How is that for a product test … 259, 200 minutes of diving (that’s over 5000 dives worth in my world) at 90 feet in 42F water temperature and all the seals held, the casing is hardly damaged and the battery is still charged.
So when you ask me, what light set up should I purchase … you know I am going to recommend the Light & Motion Sola line up!
PS – How close am I to my goal of diving a year under water? With my last logged dives I am up to 1446 dives and 37 days 14 hours 30 minutes of cumulative underwater time. My average dive time is 46 minutes so I figure 10,249 dives more and I should reach my goal! See you with the fishes!