Post by scubalawyer on Dec 21, 2019 18:32:59 GMT -8
Loved those Farallon masks! I went through several of them. Here is me in about 1980 with my Fara-Mask inside a freshly sunken sailboat off Catalina reading a novel that I pulled out of a drawer at 90'!
I SEE HOW IT IS. WHEN OTHER PEOPLE GO OUTSIDE IT'S "GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH" AND "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED." BUT WHEN I GO OUTSIDE IT'S A "CONTAINMENT BREACH" AND A "HIGH-LEVEL THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY." OK, BE THAT WAY.
This mask was originally with a plastic lens holder. That broke off, and so it is now yellow electrical tape that holds the lens in place. I use it only in he pool, but this mask has made several trips to Hong Kong and back, as I use it in the pool. I figure if I loose it, it's no big deal. So it is a travel mask for me to use in hotel pools. Being made of silicone, it will last forever, but with only a tape lens holder.
8. Scubapro Pressurizer Compact
This is a good, oval mask, seals well, and has nose pinching ability. Its strap broke, and I placed an aftermarket strap on it, with a yellow nylon/neoprene head band. I use it mainly in the pool, but have used it in the river at times. It is a sturdy mask, that has lased for decades.
9. U.S. Divers Company Champion
This is perhaps my favorite oval mask, as it is an original. This one originated in the late 1950s in France, and came over to the USA. The mask's skirt has lettering, stating:
"Rene Cavalero ETCIE" on one side, and:
"MARCEILLE B.DU RHONE" on the other on the bottom of the skirt.
On the front glass, at the bottom it states,
"TREMPE" "MADE IN FRANCE"
I have used a Champion mask (also known as the "Champion Deluxe") since the 1960s. It has great visibility, as it has no nose pockets. It fits like a glove, and seals tightly. This is the mask everyone copied. To clear the ears, I make a fist with my fingers toward my head, my thumb up by the first finger, and push up on the bottom of the skirt with the thumb and first knuckle of my first finger. This plugs my nostrils, and I can blow out gently to clear my ears. It is quick and effective, and can be done with one hand.
10. White Stag's Oval Mask
This is probably my best oval mask for swimming laps, as it has a purge valve under the nose. When I'm swimming laps, if water gets in on a turn, I can simply snort a bit and it's gone. It has a Scubapro strap (neoprene straps don't last like the masks do). I use this one both in the pool and in the river. Because it's got reinforcing ribs on the sides, it fits me very well.
It's amazing to me how far snorkel technology and design has come since I started in the 1950s snorkeling. I remember having my first "C" snorkel, with the pingpong ball in the top, and cutting the top off to make it a "J" snorkel. I used that for several years too. Well, here's some evaluations of various snorkels I have acquired. Please note, it's extremely easy to find good snorkels very cheaply at Goodwill. People buy these to snorkel in warm water, then give them away when their vacation is finished.
11. U.S. Divers Company Pivot-Dry Snorkel
This snorkel actually works pretty well to keep water out of the snorkel. It clears easily after immersion, and has only a minor breathing restriction. The restriction is just enough to clear the snorkel upon a hard exhalation. The only "down" side is that sometimes the pivot catches closed upon surfacing, and a slight exhalation is needed to free it and be able to inhale. It's a pretty good snorkel, which great mouthpiece and a very nicely designed purge in the bottom.
12. Sea-Horse Hawaii snorkel
This is basically a J-snorkel with a not-so-well-designed purge in the bottom. The purge is not deep enough, and collects water in the bottom which cannot be purged with normal or even a forceable exhalation. It appears to have been added just for looks. Purge it by putting your hand over the end of the snorkel and exhaling. This snorkel is best cleared using the blast method, although the displacement will work if it is forceful. With the purge valve high, the displacement method must be forceful to blow out the water from the other end of the snorkel, as much of your exhalation will go out the purge valve instead.
13. and 14. The U.S. Divers Company Luxe Snorkel
This snorkel has a protected end, and that does a fairly good job of diverting water from down the tube when a wave comes over. But the cost of that is a fairly high restriction in breathing. Because of that, I have experimented with using it without the end attachment (see #14). This works well, actually, removing several inches of dead air space at the same time, but at a cost of lower opening and greater propensity of water entering the snorkel. Without the end, clear it easily by putting a hand over the end and blowing. With the end in place, with the restriction, water can be purged by simply exhaling hard. Again, the breathing restriction applies, and was distracting to me. My reference is a J-snorkel without purge or end, and that is what I use to judge snorkels. This works for those who simply snorkel on vacation, but if you want to use it for a long time, the restriction will become noticable.
15. U.S. Divers Co. Air-Tech Valve Dry Snorkel
This snorkel relies upon a float that comes up and shuts off the snorkel's opening. It's basically for those who simply snorkel on the surface, without surface diving. If you dive with this snorkel, it's probably best to spit it out upon descent, and simply go without on the return trip to the surface. The down side to this strategy (which many freedivers use now) is that if there is something interesting in the water (green sea turtle, for instance), or dangerous (shark or barracuda) you will loose sight of it as you surface to get your first breath.
Well, that's it for this installment. Next up will be the second generation 1970s masks and snorkels. Stay tuned...
We owe a lot to the oval mask design. It was the first available, and a whole lot of diving has been done with the oval mask. It provides a lot of protection in cold water, which is where I started diving in Oregon/Washington, by covering the forehead area with an air space. It has great upward visibility, and good down visibility. The oval design restricts viewing to the sides, but not terribly. All my early days diving was with an oval mask.
HoodCanal by John Ratliff, on Flickr Here, I'm diving in Puget Sound in about 1963 with my orange oval mask, probably a U.S. Divers Company mask. Note that it has nose pockets too!
Dive Log--Clear Lake001 by John Ratliff, on Flickr In 1971 I dove Clear Lake in a research project. Here's my dive log of those dives, all of which were with my Champion Deluxe oval mask.
Clear Lake Research Dive1 by John Ratliff, on Flickr Here you can see me all geared up for these research dives, with my cardiogram being taken, my breath sampled, depth recorded, CO2 analyzed, etc. All with my Champion Deluxe oval mask, without nose pockets.
Clear Lake Research Dive descent by John Ratliff, on Flickr Here I'm descending with a weighted line (no work) to the work depth for a horizontal monitored swim. Note the oval mask, and also note the third generation Calypso regulator the University of Oregon researchers used for their rig.
What I'm saying is that diving with the oval mask design enabled a lot of work to be done, a lot of recreational activities to be accumplished, and a lot of research completed. The oval mask itself opened the underwater world to everyone. If you look at Hans Hass' book, We Came From the Sea, you'll see oval masks, and Hans and Lotti used nose clips to aid in ear clearing. So we entered the sea in the modern era using oval masks. They are a part of our heritige, and a huge part of vintage diving.
John Photos003 by John Ratliff, on Flickr A 1970 dive in Alexander Springs State Park, Florida while I was in the USAF. Note the blue Champion Deluxe mask, which is the same mask I used in the 1971 research dives depicted above. So from my start in diving in 1959 (actually probably 1957, when I was still snorkeling), to at least 1971, I used almost exclusively an oval mask.
PS, I have continued to add to the above post on oval masks and snorkels, so go back up and read that too.