London International Dive Show (LIDS)

Well I thought I would create a new category for scuba diving as I will hopefully get the chance to write about it fairly regularly. Louise and I drove down to London on Friday and stayed at the Novotel just next to the Excel exhibition centre in the docklands. We managed to find it fairly easily in the end although the drivers seem to drive more psychotically the closer we got to London… We decided to go to the first day on Saturday 1 April and had bought our tickets about a month ago. We got there just before opening on Saturday morning to see Jean-Michel Cousteau opening the show. We also saw him a few times during the weekend at our hotel. Once we got on our mission began… Enter all the competitions going on the off chance of winning something cool and find everything on our list. The first thing we found were our wet suits. We had done our research and had decided on a wet suit system that would be suitable for UK diving in the summer as well as places like the Red Sea. I got an Oceanic Shadow system which I was very pleased with. Full 5 mm semi dry wet suit, 5 mm shortie to go over it in cold conditions or on its own in warm conditions. It also came with a hood. Louise tried on about five wet suits I think and in the end chose a Body Glove wet suit system - it was a better fit for her but now we don’t get to look really sad on holiday with matching wet suits! After we got those we took them back to our room in the hotel and went back in for more shopping. I got my underwater camera enclosure and strobe for my Fuji F10 and found the Cressi Sub Matrix mask I wanted too. Then we went over to SDS (local dive shop) to look at their dive computers and other bits. They were probably the most helpful and I took quite a while deciding between the bulky Uwatec Aladin Tec and the compact Suunto Mosquito. In the end I decided upon the Suunto after flirting with the idea of getting a Stinger… Also got some split fin Tusa Xpert Zoom fins, some nice boots, an interface for my dive computer and a really nice Tusa snorkel from them. By this point we were starting to feel tired and took our bags back to the room and broke for lunch. We had got most of the stuff on our list now. I found a nice titanium dive knife, and then we got some bits from a few other shops and a dive bag to take all this stuff on holiday with us as well as a mesh bag for the beach/boat. Quite a bit poorer but happy with our haul we made our way back to the room just before it all finished at 17:30. After irritating Louise for a while checking out all my new stuff she made me go for some dinner with her. The buffet at the hotel was very nice as was the wine we ordered to go with our meal. I just can’t wait to try out all my new stuff now! Two weeks until we leave for Malta, although I have already tested out the free diving features of my dive computer at the gym… And we both tried on all our gear on Sunday night together to make sure it all fitted together OK and seemed complete. I need to test the underwater enclosures for leaks before we leave too.

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