Friday, October 2, 2015

Mares Spearfishing Hero Scuba Knife

That's what my trusted dive knife looked like when I first bought it. There isn't really much of a need for carrying a knife when teaching or diving here in Roatan, but it's always good to have one. You just never know when you may come up on some tangled fishing line. Yanking on those lines may lead to pretty deep cuts on your fingers. Having a knife sure comes in handy. If you happen to be hunting lionfish with your authorized Hawaiian sling, that might be yet another instance where having a knife might be helpful. I just don't see the need to carry a Rambo knife complete with thread in the event one must perform their own stitching. Naturally when I saw this compact knife I had to have it. 

As most subscribers to Dive Gear Review know, the gear we choose to try gets used just about daily and multiple times a day. Perhaps the hero knife was not used for cutting or prying a whole lot but it sure did go along for the dives. It lasted less than four months. Today I'm left with a deeply corroded knife which may still very well work, but it looks revolting and has been reclassified as a paper weight up until I write this review. Afterwards, I'll take it over to the Mares store whom will most likely replace it. The issue is not how good or bad the warranty is, it's does the said product pass the usage test. 

The verdict is a loud NO! It lasted less than 200 dives. Dip and Dive has this knife selling for $39.95. It's not going to set you back that much, but we are looking for excellent gear. And so the compact dive knife quest continues. 

For those who may suggest rinsing gear after every use, done. Our gear gets rinsed in fresh water after every use. Other items such as D-rings, flash lights, and brass clips used as part of the daily gear didn't undergo such corrosion. Neither did the GoPro3, the screws on the housing nor the selfie stick. Even when replaced by warranty, we shall look for another option. 

We look forward to ramping up the dive gear reviews.

For a look at our latest adventures check out our YouTube Channel for scuba diving in Roatan as well as our Roatan Dive Blog.

Until next time,


Quality Time Divers - scuba diving in Roatan

Meredith gets her #PADI

Friday, September 5, 2014

After several years the opportunity presented itself to open up and run my own diveshop. Quality Time Divers is the new place. It is located down the road across from the Mares store. Right on the water behind the Roatan Sales and Rental building is where you will find us.

With a different approach to dive adventures we take out just one group, be it 1 diver or 10. The schedule is based on that of the group. The dive sites are chosen based on the group and what it wants to do. Dive Texas and Bears Den on the same day, then do some fishing on the way home.

We offer hot water showers, towels on board, fresh fruit, long dives averaging about 75 minutes. To date the record is a 90 minute dive. All the gear is new from the Mares store, who also happens to fill our tanks in one of the cleanest if not the cleanest filling stations in Honduras.

Visit sites like Spencer Rose's Garden and Rock Star by Pristine Bay. We are setting up two day overnight trips with stops at different hotels along the way. If you would like to visit Utila, Guanaja, Cayos Cochinos, let's go. The cost per dive depends on what you want to do. Yes we charge more for this exclusive experience, and to date guests have been thrilled.

In the future, Dive Gear Review entries will continue on Quality Time Diver's Blog. Thanks for following us. We look forward to providing you with useful information regarding continued gear performance reviews.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Combat Cord

If you use a back plate it is very likely you have either bought a more expensive version of a harness or using a continuous webbing solution. There is either a bit canvas with Velcro on it holding your BCD hose and low pressure inflator in place or rigged up with some surgical tubing to do the same. Both methods work just fine.

Enter Combat Cord. It is an excellent alternative. Perhaps it is an ideal replacement for the aforementioned. In case of an emergency you are left with extremely durable cord. Bar the emergency and it acts as a perfect keeper of the two hoses. One of the benefits is that it fits around the webbing, BCD hose and inflator allowing easy access to raise them above your head. It slides up and down so you do not have to undo the velcro to allow trapped air to release. After 300 dives of testing/using, my Combat Cord has not lost it's color nor has it frayed. Unfortunately I have not had an emergency which required deployment, but will continue to dive with it should the occasion present itself. Actually, I hope the situation does not come up, but definitely recommend Combat Cord.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oceanic SWIV SPG

I'm not the usual "Dive Gear Review" contributor, but there are a few items I've been meaning to voice an opinion about.

SPGs.  An extremely important piece of equipment.  You're not much good on a dive if you don't know the pressure of the contents of your tank (we're in the 21st century, so no more J-valves for us!).   As a working dive instructor, I've always opted for a mechanical SPG, as opposed to a transducer linked to a dive computer.  The reasoning behind this is twofold: mechanical SPGs are not as expensive, but I've also seen far cases of the transducers failing.

Or so I thought, until I replaced my old Sherwood SPG (many years of use) with an Oceanic SWIV.  A quick online search shows it retailing for between USD 75 to 106.  After the first one flooded after less than 10 dives, I thought I might just have a defective product.  I replaced that one with another one on a console I used to use.  Another 5 dives, and that one also failed.  At this point, I'm not happy.  No pressure gauge, no work.  I had to replace it with a THIRD one (given to me by a friend, brand new, who was getting rid of her spare parts), until the new one I ordered could be shipped down.  When that one failed, I put my other backup old old Dacor, until I could get a new one got delivered (it can take up to two weeks, minimum, to get anything shipped to the island).

Before people start jumping down my throat about dust caps and flooding regulators, that definitely isn't what happened.  After the first one failed, I had my regulator (1st stage Scubapro MK2) fully serviced, and had the o-rings on my (new) high pressure hose inspected.

So...moral of the story: three thumbs down (one for each bad SPG).

Next up from me:  the successful replacement.

(cross-posted to The Coconut Tree Telegraph)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Boat Coat

Here in Roatan we spend much of the year diving with 3mm suits or board shorts and a rash guard. That is all we usually need. The water temperature ranges from 80 + F  in the summer to   76 + F during the rainy season. Although some of us still do not use wet suits during the cooler months it gets chilly when you come out of the water. At times, with overcast and wind it becomes downright cold. Enter the boat coat. We bought a bunch of these for the entire staff at Coconut Tree Divers. They are a must have goodness of warmth when you come up from one of those dives. You do not even have to come out of your wetsuit, if you are using one. Simply throw this puppy on and you will skip the whole freezing during the surface interval bit.

We bought them from Trident and paid about $100 per coat. The brand was iDive. In a Google search the following came up from At the time of this entry, it was selling for $44. That is a steal and I highly recommend adding it onto the list of items to bring with you during the rainy season.

picture from

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Akona Caicos Mask

This is the mask Coconut Tree Divers uses as a rental. It is an excellent entry level choice. Really, you could just skip the mention of entry level all together and say it is a good reliable mask. LeisurePro sells them for about $20.00. With all the different types of people that come into Coconut Tree Divers it is hard to find a one size fits all mask. This one has come up real close to fitting the bill.
If you are in the market for a new one, do not feel as though the more money you spend the better the mask. There is no direct correlation regarding more expensive = better mask at all. Read prior reviews on this blog as that has been debunked through hours of underwater use. The Oceanic Pioneer is a prime example as is the Oceanic Shadow, expensive and comfortable but not built to last. Yeah I did just use that line.  
Rental gear at our shop is used and abused. Not by all customers, but indeed by some. Kind of like the people who rent cars and run them to the ground. If it does not belong to them, some simply throw things around with little regard to their function or that other people will be using them. Case and point for the Akona Caicos mask. With all the abuse they receive through our shop, they are still providing divers hours of viewing pleasure and comfort.
As with most new masks, remember to clear off the coating manufacturers put on them to keep them from scracthing. You need to get that off to help prevent your mask from fogging up. Use a lighter to burn it off, provided it is tempered glass. They usually read Tempered or have a letter T to signify that. You can also use SoftScrub, which is used to clean tiles. When we introduce new masks here at the shop both methods are incorporated. We burn the inside of the lenses with a lighter, rinse them and follow up with a vigorous scubbing with SoftScrub.
Hope that helps.
Due to suggestions provided by we are incorporating the Coconut Tree Telegraph blog and the DiveGearReview blog into one. We have also recruited to new writers, Diego and Kaela. They are both doing their PADI Divemaster training here with us and have long ties to Roatan, West End and ultimately to Coconut Tree Divers.
Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
And by all means, if you enjoy the blog sign up. Have a great day!