Hey Happy New Year... quick post on my Stealth 2.0 sidemount diving experience in Maui. I am sure many of you have been through the trials and tribulations of diving sidemount while travelling particularly with recreationally focused dive operations. Usually it works out OK if you make arrangements in advance for DIN valves and then deal with two right hand valves.
Today despite making arrangements in advance the boat had no DIN at all!! Not even a Pro valve with insert.... What to do? I had the option to go single backmount but I didn't want to give up that easily. I asked if they had a Yoke to DIN converter... they did. I had to spend about 10 minutes cleaning the thread to get it to fit but once that was accomplished I was set... but they only had one converter... so it's single sidemount today.
Now I had not prepared for this so my primary regulator was not correctly configured with a alternate second stage but apart from that I was able to dive. I had to reassess my weighting and also counter the initial imbalance when my cylinder was full and then from about 150 Bar work with the balance shifting to the other side as the AL 80 became buoyant. The recreational dive plans had us exiting at about 50 Bar following our safety stop so the AL80 was very buoyant at that point. But ultimately no issues.
Now you might ask was it worth it? Perhaps I should have dived single backmount. So let's look at the advantages I had in SM. Admittedly I was the most experienced client on the boat but it was clearly easier for me to gear up and enter the water with my streamlined Stealth 2.0 and cylinder. It was also very easy to get back onto the boat. Even a single was more load than I had to carry up the ladder. My trim was good... thought not perfect... I needed to move the weight a little higher up the central weight pocket. We all know what you see with recreational backmount feet down orientation and this was the norm across the other divers. It resulted in some unnecessary coral contact. More experienced divers might have avoided that but I am convinced trim is easier in sidemount.
As we work into the year I'll post some more on equipment configurations including how to set up for single sidemount.
Maholo and happy New Year!!