The old addige "you pay for what you get" does ring true. But even then it's wise to shop around. After visiting a dive show, picking up dozens of leaflets brochure and all the rest of it, the Mares range stood as out as top of the line. I was split between the Ruby and a Vortex. The Ruby because it had all the whistles and bells I was looking for and the Vortex because I could afford it.

Doing quiet a bit of shopping around, I dropped on a guy going out of business, retirement, really so he was selling off his gear. I argued, barttered, negoiated, call it what you will and got the deal of my life, a ruby for the same price as a Vortex. Not sure if there is much differnce between them now, but back then the gap was large. Some shop will let you do a deal. Aqualung and Apek do some real good starter kits, most UK clubs start with these. There are basic but they do the job, then there's Oceanic,Dive Rite, Cressi, Beuchat,OMS,Poseiden, Mares, Seac, Scubapro, TUSA,

My stab jacket is Poseiden, it was the one that felt most comfortable of many I tried out at the dive show, and one of the biggest lifters, I'm not a lightweight and I wanted something that would haul my sorry but if I needed it to. AquaLung and Cressi has some really nice gear these days with built-in weight systems, useful feature, as do Scubapro. There are as many people making BCD's as there are reg manufactures.

I have a beaver dry suit, but I'd upgrade to an Otter suit if I had the chance to do more diving. In France Cressi is very large and second I would say is Aqualung. The choice of suits is staggering, any colour you like, think French Fashion than add dive suit. There's a store here who'll make your suit to order, pick a colour and style and away you go.

Kris, I'm sitting in my office, it's raining, it's cold, the wife and kids have gone away to the South of France where it's sunny, dry and warm. Two of my old dive buddies have told me they're going diving, one on his 25m yacht to the Red Sea, the other to Bora Bora for three weeks all-inclusive, and me I'm off to Belfort, which I think is the French equivalent of Detroit, for two weeks. Not a holiday location, if you know what I mean.

Edited by Stokie (02/27/08 09:21 AM)