I just returned from a weekís diving in Bonaire. 18 out of 22 dives were on my KISS Classic, now equipped with a Shearwater Pursuit and HUD plugged into the loop. I did a few dives with students for which I switched to outdated 20th century technology.
When I first told people about my plans to bring the rebreather to Bonaire, many asked why bother. Most of the diving is recreational depth, reef diving. This was a shop sponsored, group trip and our diving was confined to recreational dives, but in the two years Iíve been diving the KISS Iíve come to greatly prefer diving closed circuit whenever possible.
I donít have a great deal of tropical diving experience, but the reefs in Bonaire were stunning- the best Iíve ever seen. It only took me a dive or two to be convinced that the rebreather was the way to dive here. In the warm, clear waters, most days I did 4 dives averaging an hour long on two 13 cu ft tanks and a single scrubber load. My deepest dive was a brief excursion to 140 ft followed by a leisurely return at shallower depths. It was a cheap thrill to venture down into the darker depths and occasionally glance up at my OC buddies cruising in the shallows to make the most of their gas supplies. At the end of the dive I still had plenty of NDL time left after an hour in the water.
Compared to my previous diving with just PPO2 monitoring and an external computer, the Shearwater Pursuit made diving very easy. It removed any concerns about strictly trying to maintain a constant PPO2. As long as I kept the loop O2 at reasonable levels and watched the NDL limits, everything was fine. The HUD gave me a reliable backup on the PPO2 monitoring and my OC Vytec computer could be tricked into providing backup.
It was a bit of a hassle taking the unit apart in the evenings and putting it back together in the mornings, but this was more than compensated for by not having to swap tanks during the day and for the freedom to dive without having to worry about gas supply during dives.
Iíd like to thank Kim Smith and Jetsam for making a beautiful product and Bruce Partridge and Curt McNamee of Shearwater for a computer and electronics that make diving the KISS even better. On Bonaire, Emile von Aesch runs a great rebreather friendly dive operation in Toucan Diving and hooked me up with Walt Stark of Rec Tek Scuba who provided me with scrubber and daily refills on those cute little dil and O2 tanks.
Scuba Diving for Middle Aged Woodworkers