‘Dry suit?’ I hear you scream, but it’s actually a necessity for all but the most hardened instructors. With water temperatures hitting 30 degrees in the summer, the drop to somewhere around 20 degrees is really noticeable and makes us cold (cue ‘ahhh, poor them’). Not that it’s that cold yet, but best to be prepared. When the water hits the coldest, around March, is not the time to realise you need new seals on the suits or that your zip leaks. If you do leave it this long, then invariably so has everyone else in Sharm and the waiting time to get bits replaced becomes nearer to Christmas!
So donning the suit for the first time, I start my mental check list of how to dive in the Drysuit. Must wear socks (to avoid sweaty feet), must be fully zipped up (obvious but accidents happen), must connect inflator hose to suit (little bit uncomfortable otherwise) and must open dump valve (to avoid unplanned ascents to the surface.
That all done, and in the water we go. A quick check around to count pairs and we are off. It all feels strange, as it does every year. Must put air into suit, to avoid the dreaded squeeze, I keep telling myself. A quick turn around to check on the guests reminds me that I must turn my body rather than neck, as I take a sharp breath to lessen the shock of the water that has just seeped down my seal. As I relax back into the suit, I remember why I quite like it. Warm, cosy with buoyancy control at the touch of a centrally located button. Soon I’m back in my stride, mastering fish pointing and other hand signals with ease. Even the two-handed lionfish signal poses no problems and my turtle was as clear as ever.
At the end of a lovely, if not a little sweaty, day it appears my suit is in reasonable shape (better than last year when the seals melted over the summer) and I’m more than happy to bring it out of hibernation for the winter season.
Don’t get me wrong though, the shorts and rashie will be back asap. Watch this space!