This summer The Weekly Newspapers will take you beneath the surface of our shimmering waters to explore the wrecks, reef, and wildlife of the Florida Keys – the diving capital of the world. Filing the report is Key West Bureau Chief and Florida native, Josie Koler, a former news anchor and graduate of the University of South Florida will be taking readers on new adventures throughout the Keys all summer long. Mixed with reports and conditions are product spotlights sponsored by Divers Direct, with two locations located at the beginning (Key Largo) and end (Key West) of America’s Caribbean island chain.
“I have fins, mask, snorkel, wet suit … but the stuff just seems old. They didn’t have the cool stuff I see now,” mentions Josie Koler Key West Bureau Chief and official reporter of the Keys’ Dive Report.
She’s seen the equipment at dive shops dotting the Keys – all showcasing the latest and greatest gear to ensure every descent ends with a safe entry in the log book.
“The gear is phenomenal,” says Tim Griggs, general manager of the Greene Street store in Key West. “If she started diving ten years ago they certainly didn’t have as much custom equipment. Only a few styles and colors from which to chose from, and the women pretty much had to wear what the guys did with exception to the wet suit.”
Which is exactly the arena where Michael Walker, Sales & Product Specialist decided to start building Koler’s water wardrobe.
“We’ve got a nice shorty by Evo. I’m having her try on two sizes. What a diver would wear in clothing sizes isn’t always the way the scuba gear will fit.”
Shorties, are desired by Keys’ divers in the summer because the water is pretty tepid, but long-sleeve skin-guards also provide protection from jellyfish and sharp coral without the extra warmth.
“I love the skin-guards and rash guards,” says Koler. “They’re so comfortable I could sleep in them! Plus, wear them under my wet suits or just with a bikini if the water temp is at 90.”
Most dive gear should be based on personal preference says Michael, but a knowledgeable salesman with diving experience is always the best source for proper outfitting. “We’re putting her in an Aqua Lung Pearl i3 Scuba BCD. This BCD is especially designed and contoured for women.”
The BCD features a mechanic weight system, so the diver doesn’t have to worry about losing the weights accidentally.
To match, the Aqua Lung Mikron Pink Vanilla Scuba Regulator.
“This regulator is so popular we’ve been sold out for two weeks! Everyone wants this one because this regulator is small and lightweight.”
The Aqua Lung Mikron has two positions. The “mini” which is ideal for avoiding free flows. In the “maxi” position, the inhalation effort is reduced, reducing the work of breathing.
For fins the Cressi Reaction Open Heel Scuba Fins, and Evo 2mm Low Cut Dive Boots, .
“I’ve advised Josie to opt for these versus the pull foot, which is what she wanted. Simply because, if she’s walking around on a sandbar, and takes off the pull foots, that means she’ll be barefoot with the potential to cut her foot on a bunch of shells and rocks,” says Griggs.
“With the gloves, it’s more a matter of personal preference,” says Michael, who showed Josie three gloves with different thickness. She opted for the Evo 3 mm Kevlar Dive gloves.
“My refresher course is going to be up at Captain Slate’s Atlantis Dive Center in Key Largo. Captain Spencer Slate has “pet” Barracudas, eels, sharks … I think some Groupers. I want my hands covered. I like the way these cover my wrists, and I’m thinking ahead to Lobster season. I’m going to be trying to get my gloved-hands on as many spiny creatures as I can!”
Join us next week, as we bring you the Keys’ Dive Report from Key Largo. A refresher course for diver’s reacquainting themselves with the recreational sport and Captain Slate’s world-famous Creature Feature!
Cressi Reaction Open Heel Scuba Fins $79.99 and Aqua Lung Mikron Pink Vanilla Scuba Regulator $488.00 come in clear with pink accents. The gear is smaller and contoured to fit a woman’s smaller frame to keep her moving fluidly through the H20.
Tusa M-16 Serene Mask $59.99 will conform to the contours of the face and is made with high-grade silicone for added comfort. The Tusa SP 170 Hyperdry Scuba Snorkel $34.99. The color choice is yours. This set will have you stylin’ in any one of the seven colors you choose. The hyper-dry system makes the snorkel one of the most feature packed snorkels on the market.
Rash guards by Roxy & Evo keep divers protected from the sun and in the water when it’s too warm for a wet suit. These rash guards retails from $24.95 – $34.95
The Aqua Lung Pearl i3 Scuba BCD $675. A BCD specially designed and contoured for women, featuring a mechanical weight system, so the diver doesn’t have to worry about losing the weights accidentally.