HAVE YOU NOTICED that diving holidays are creeping up in price? The average Red Sea liveaboard has finally climbed decisively north of the magic £1000 figure, and the further you go to get wet, the higher the price you pay.
So there’s the first part of the challenge, to keep a full set of spanking new diving gear south of £1000 so that you spend less on kit and have more money left to actually go diving. That’s everything you’ll need for a week of recreational diving and not just the big, obvious stuff – which means a suit, BC, regulator set, mask, fins, DSMB and reel, compass, dive-computer, torch and a camera, plus a bag to carry it in.
Back in the day, you could pretty much rock up with as much luggage as you liked, and a cheerful check-in person would smilingly hand you a boarding-pass without so much as a glance at the scales. Not today. In the past year or two I’ve seen people charged excess baggage at half a kilo over the limit permitted on that particular flight.
And that brings us to part two of the exercise, keeping the weight of your kit down so that you breeze through check-in and arrive in duty-free with your holiday spending-money untouched.
But before we get to the shiny stuff, brothers and sisters, let us consider clothing.
A week’s liveaboard means clothes for eight days, and I advocate a minimalist approach. Most overseas diving destinations are warmwater, so four T-shirts, four pairs of shorts and four sets of underwear will do, plus at least two, and preferably three, swimsuits.
Here’s the process. When you get up in the morning you don a swimsuit, T-shirt and shorts. After each dive you take off and hang up your swimwear to dry, changing into a dry set, then re-don the same shorts and T-shirt.
The few hours between dives will usually be enough for your swimwear to dry; the third set simply increases the available drying time between rotations, and guarantees that you sit down to lunch with a dry rump. Then, after the night-dive, you shower and assume proper undercrackers, with clean clothes every other day.
You may feel that a mere four sets of shreddies doesn’t meet the requirements of basic hygiene, but consider, you’ll wear your smalls only for two or three hours each evening before bed, so surely they’ll do for a couple of days.
If you aren’t convinced, it’s your excess baggage.
Oh, and here’s a tip for the boys. Wearing swim-shorts instead of budgie-smugglers will reduce the total number of pairs of proper shorts required, as you’ll need them only for the evening hours already mentioned. Be aware, however, that this strategy will limit the amount of thigh and buttock available for tanning, and so may not be acceptable.
For the record, I take four T-shirts, two pairs of shorts, three pairs of swim-shorts and four pairs of unmentionables, total weight 2.5kg.
On to the dive gear…