Saturday, 20 December 2014

Merry Christmas and a happy 2015

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

I have a nice feature in this months edition of Sport Diver about some fantastic scenic dives from the summer.
Mike Clark

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Suunto Eon Steel Dive Computer

I was going to write an in depth review of the Suunto Eon Steel Dive Computer for this edition of Scottish diver. Unfortunately they are very scarce in the UK at the moment and the computer I was sent to review was required back by Suunto for marketing purposes. I did however manage to get 2 dives in with the new computer.
Initial findings

Well yes it has a larger colour screen which is very easy to read underwater. This is a must nowadays as many dive computer manufacturers are selling devices with excellent screens. Personally with my deteriorating nearsight, I find it hard now to read my current Suunto Dive computers underwater especially my D9TX.
So Suunto a Major Dive Computer manufactures has produced a new and exciting dive computer with a superb colour screen that I can read easily underwater. That’s about as far as I got with my conclusions before the device had to be posted back.
The software for synching the dive computer with a PC is included but at the time of my testing it was still being developed and I can’t comment on the quality of that.
From what I have learnt the device is based on the same algorithm’s as used in the Suunto DX (see my previous review of that product).
The computer is very easy to use even though it leaves behind the menu style that current Suunto users are familiar with. The device has 3 buttons which are easy to use underwater.
Also included in the box is a protective rubber guard, standard mounting strap and a bungee set up should you prefer that style of mounting system.
The computer is heavy and feels to be very solidly built. A screen protector is also included although the glass itself should be very scratch resistant.
Trimix algorithms are included in the computer as standard and soon there will be a firmware update that will enable closed circuit rebreather divers to use set points as with the Suunto DX.
It’s a move away from the usual Suunto design and this is a good thing as the competition was putting up some great products. Suuntos addition to the dive computer market will cause a huge stir and I’m sure it will be an extremely popular product.
I do plan to get another device sent to me and I hope to conduct a fuller review for a subsequent edition of TSD.
Watch this space.

Mike Clark

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Northern Diver DRY GLOVES Second edition Dry Glove Ring System

Second edition Dry Glove Ring System

Northern Diver supplied me with a set of their second edition Dry Glove Ring System. I had been attracted to the system ever since January 2014 after a dive in a quarry. My hands were freezing when a lady diver touched my hand and said feel how warm my hands are. Now I have to admit that I was impressed and I set off in pursuit of a pair to review. There was some delay on me getting my hands on them as the 2nd generation of the product had just been produced. The main difference I noted from the original set was that rather than being supplied with the thick blue smurf glove the new set is supplied with a thin pair of chemical resistant black outer gloves. They were thin and I wondered if they would cope with the rigors of diving.
Securing the system to my drysuit
One of the things that I really liked about these gloves is that they can be fitted to any drysuit with either neoprene or latex seals. This is enabled by the clever set of rings that accommodate different thicknesses of seal. The system comprises 2 ring like components that fit together over the drysuit seal. Fitting them together they compress a third ring onto the inside of the drysuit seal. I must admit that I found it a real challenge to fit the system to my neoprene seals on my Otter Drysuit. At one point I was about to give up and send my suit to Northern Diver to have them fit the glove system. I did however speak to Al Wright of Northern Diver who gave me a few helpful tips that enabled me to eventually fit the seals. No sealant is required if you fit the system to latex seals. For neoprene seals you do require to build up multiple layers of sealant to form a clean seal for the ring to seat onto. Accurate positioning and application of the sealant is required and to be honest the amount of sealant supplied with the system is barely enough and I required around twice the supplied amount to do a good job. There are good videos on YouTube produced by Northern Diver that explain the process for both types of seal. Fitting the system to latex seals looks a breeze by comparison.
Donning the gloves
I have often been on dive boats and looked at divers trying to don their dry gloves. It always looked a huge hassle to me. This is probably due to earlier dry glove systems being very bulky with thick inner liners.  When it came to fitting my gloves for a dive I found it no problem at all. The Northern Diver ring lock system is very simple. The ring has an open and locked position. Once the glove is inserted in the housing, the ring is set to the locked position and a secondary lock stops the locking ring from moving. To remove the gloves it’s a push of a button and a twist of the locking ring. Once this is done the gloves can be pulled off or if you fit them just right they will pop off if you flex your wrist.
In the water
In the water I found the gloves to be very dexterous and I had no problems operating my camera’s buttons and levers. The dry inner liners were fairly thin and did keep my hands fairly warm. I will have to ensure that I can transfer air from my suit into the gloves to equalise the pressure and keep my hands warm. One niggle I found was the stitching on the dry glove liners. Putting the gloves on, I found that the stitching was fairly prominent and could be felt running along the side of my fingers. I found this a little uncomfortable initially. That said once I was in the water it didn’t bother me at all. The outer gloves performed very well.
 I was certainly took more care with these gloves than if I was wearing standard neoprene gloves but I did grab onto my fair share of rocks and wreckage. These thin gloves coped with everything I threw at them and I did not experience any leeks or tears.
I found these gloves a pleasure to use once I had successfully attached the system to my drysuit. It was a challenge getting them fitted to my neoprene seals but perseverance paid off. These gloves can be fitted to neoprene or latex seals which is excellent as not all dry gloves systems can do this. They are not permanently secured to your drysuit and can be removed should you wish to use standard gloves in the summer months. That said the system can stay on the suit and standard gloves can still be used. It is still the drysuit seal rather than the dry gloves that form the seal at the wrist. The ring system is a little bulky around the wrist but in the water I found they did not impede me at all and were very comfortable to use, if fitted properly.
The gloves are flexible and dextrous. They are easy to use and most importantly keep your hands warm.  The gloves themselves are easy to fit and remove.
Fitting the ring system to thick neoprene seals can be challenging. The amount of sealant supplied by Northern Diver in the kit is barely enough to do a good job.
I would recommend this product.
2nd generation NORTHERN DIVER DRY GLOVES rrp £69 as per the Northern Diver Website.

tel           01257254444

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Lots of Dolphins around St. Abbs and Eyemouth just now.
Mike Clark

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Norther Diver Dry Glove System

Northen Diver Dry Glove System

Just received a Set of Northern Diver Dry Gloves to test. Hopefully these will keep my fingers warm this winter.
Mike Clark

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Seal Diving at the Farne Isles

A great day out playing with the seals of the Farne Islands. Many thanks to Skipper Lee Hall of Farne Diving Services  Thanks also Bristol Aerodivers Sub-Aqua (SCUBA Diving) Club who made the day on board so enjoyable. Please like my video of the seals. the link is at the top of this post.
Mike Clark

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Underwater Photography Courses

I will be running underwater photography courses over the autumn and winter. Please PM me if you have any questions.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Dive On H.M.S. K17

K17 Video

See the video of a dive on HMS. K17. link above.

Mike Clark

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Images and viseo will follow shortly.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Cracking Dive on Steam Powered Submarine HMS. K17. more images and video to follow.
Mike Clark

Monday, 4 August 2014

Another wee dive at St. Abbs

Here is a video of a dive around great Green Carr, St. Abbs.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

70th anniversary dive on the Exmouth

Exmouth Video Link

Above is the link to a video showing a dive on the wreck of the Exmouth. it was the 70th anniversary of her sinking.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A day out of the Office

Pick Up video
Above is a link to a wee video showing me being picked up after a dive on the wreck of the Exmouth. Ian Easingwood of Marine Quest is at the Helm of their dive boat Jacob George. The trip was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ship sinking.
A full video of the wreck dive will follow here soon as well as more details of the trip.
Mike Clark

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Diving Cathedral Rock

Here is a wee link to a U Tube video of a dive out to Cathedral Rock Dive Cathedral Rock
See the friendly Ballan Wrasse.
Mike Clark

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

May Isle Magic

I Joined Marine Quest for a trip out to the Isle Of May in the Firth of Forth. Even before we reached the island, my day was made with spectacular close encounters with Gannets and Puffins. The diving was good with a nice dive on the Primrose. i decided to check out a couple of different sites, with mixed success. All on-board enjoyed a 3rd dive of the day with the resident seals. Getting out to the Isle of May is a great experience in itself even before we think about the diving. I will be posting images in due course as well as GoPro video on my you tube channel. I know i am a bit behind with the videos and i will be posting St. Abbs, the Aberdon and the Isle of May videos soon. Many thanks to Jim and Iain at marine Quest for a superb day out.
Mike Clark

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Aberdon victim of the U12

Marine Quest took me 40 miles offshore a week ago, aboard their dive boat Jacob George. We were off to the wreck of the Aberdon. This wreck was a victim of the famous U12 which is also a spectacular wreck in the area. underwater visibility was fair being a dark 5 metres with some plankton in the water but not as good as was hoped for.
The highlight of the dive for me was a stone Daltons Carbon Filter. This was discovered by a diver on the trip and left on the wreck for all to enjoy. 
It was a great experience to get out to this wreck and Iain made great use of a weather window. 
My thanks to Marine Quest.
Video footage of the wreck will follow as i put the GoPro Hero3+ through its toughest challenge yet, filming the Aberdon at 51 metres.
Mike Clark

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Topside Images

Hi All,
check out my topside images at mikes new Images 
Find Landscape and wildlife images that i have captured recently. If an image interests you just mail me for details.
hopefully as the diving season gets under way, I will soon be adding more underwater images to this site.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Framed Prints for sale

I have 6 Framed Prints for sale. If you would like a look please follow the link below.
local pick up only

Framed Prints


GoPro HERO3+ BLACK EDITION REVIEW Well here it is, my take on the new GoPro HERO3+ (3+) Black edition. GoPro cameras are happy to be Skied, Biked, Parachuted and surf boarded rain or shine. This review however, is angled towards underwater use as this is the main environment where I will be using the camera. This is a new model refresh as compared with the HERO 3 (3) Black Edition which has made half a dozen improvements. Most are great and benefit most users but 2 of these improvements that I noted impact directly on the deeper diver and may or may not be construed as improvements…….My experience has always been in stills underwater photography and video with the GoPro was a completely alien experience. I had to learn about resolution settings 720 or 1080p and there are more settings available too. Frame rate was another thing to think about. At 1080p I had 4 options with the HERO 3+ when shooting for Pal format used by TV’s in the UK. These frame rates were 24, 25, 48 and 50 frames per second (fps). Then there was angle of view Narrow, Medium, Ultra Wide and Superview. This last field of view is new on the 3+ and is ideal for selfies etc. I chose the Ultra Wide view and I found this ideal for shooting marine life and shipwrecks. There are also settings for still photography with an upper resolution of 12mp. All of this was a little daunting at first and the menu on the camera was a little clunky, when scrolling through the options to set it all up. Once you do it however and get the results you want, you will not require to touch it again, until you want to try something different. A new feature that can assist with going through the menu is that the 3+ has improved Wi-Fi and can connect to a supplied remote control or your smart phone through an app. The downside is that Wi-Fi uses up battery power very quickly.My setup was 1080p at 48 fps in ultra Wide view with the Wi-Fi off. With the camera all set up I was ready to go… well almost, three things slowed me down:-1.    The Weather has been extremely poor on the East Coast of Scotland. Drastic action was called for and I ended up in a freshwater quarry to test the camera before a newer model superseded the 3+. So I videoed car wrecks instead of my desired footage of the big new offshore wrecks.
2.    I had to give thought to how I would attach the 3+ to me when I was in the water. The head mount strap has been discontinued by GoPro but they are still available from third party suppliers. I thought about a helmet mount and even went as far as customising a helmet with one of the sticky mounting pads supplied with the 3+. Lastly I bought a tripod mount and attached this to the hot shoe of my underwater housing for my stills camera. Job Done!
3.    This is the big issue that will impact on deep divers. With older GoPro models the underwater housing supplied was always rated to 60 metres. With the 3+ the max depth of the supplied housing is 40 metres. If you do not dive below 40 metres this will not affect you and you will enjoy the benefits of Go Pros slimed down smaller housing. However, if you are a deep or technical diver this change will mean that you will have to shell out for the now branded dive housing at extra expense if you wish to dive below 40 metres.
The 3+ is said to have improved battery performance over the 3. I did eventually get into the sea to conduct a second test. Conditions were cold and the battery in the 3+ died after an hour. Three other divers on board were using the hero 3 and their batteries outlasted mine. This was very surprising as the 3+ battery is meant to be improved and I was expecting 20-30% better performance. That said the Hero 3 users may have been using a slower frame rate which does save battery power. The 3+ that I was using had only been charged up twice for my tests so perhaps the battery is still bedding in? Never the less I was expecting longer than 60 minutes of filming from a full charge.The lens has been upgraded in the 3+ and this was the big attraction for me. Image quality and distortion are improved over the 3. Let’s face it image quality is what photography is all about. The 3+ really delivers and I was amazed at the results delivered by this tiny camera. Passing dive boats moored in the harbour, I could clearly read the web addresses painted in small writing on the boats hull.The 3+ also features a low light mode and the camera can automatically use this mode when it senses low light. It really does work too. While my dive lights left dark shadows under the hull of a wreck. The 3+ slowed the frame rate down and showed detail in the shadows. This was accompanied by noise but for us divers often operating in dark water I found this a great new feature and I left it in auto mode. A definite improvement for UK divers.The final thing you have to think about with the Hero 3+ is how you will mount the 3+ for underwater work. GoPro offer countless mounting options from clips to brackets. If you choose to go with a GoPro you will have to buy into their mounting system. Unlike a tripod mount found on most camera systems, Go Pro have their own mounting system. As a plus mounting options are endless but it is likely to cost you more. This needs to be factored in when purchasing the system. The Go Pro Hero 3+ is supplied with a couple of adhesive mounts and a bracket that will get you started though. In ConclusionThe GoPro 3+ is the most expensive action camera available in this class. Some of its competitors such as the Intova Sport HD II are less than half the price, include a built in rear screen and come fitted with a standard tripod mount. Image quality is said not to be as good as the GoPro3+ but I have not tested this for myself as yet. (I may conduct a future test to compare the performance). So if you are on a budget this may be worth a look. Ultimately though the 3+ Black Edition is the market leader and a very nice camera to use, with great functionality and the best image quality in this type of camera. It has a great range of filming options and is well supported by a range of accessoriesProsThe GoPro Hero 3+ is a magnificent camera, which produces excellent footage from a device that is only slightly larger than a box of matches. The GoPro 3 was a vast improvement on its predecessor and while the 3+ is more of a refresh than a new model. The improvements over the 3 are significant with the upgraded lens being the most important of them. The image quality is noticeably better. There are more shooting modes with higher quality settings and faster frame speeds.  The all new shooting mode Super view may be a fantastic option for divers to use and I will try it out if I have an opportunity. It is so wide angle that it may be fantastic for shipwreck photography. The Low Light Mode works well and recovers detail from deep shadow. These are all great points and should I experience the predicted better battery life where both dives of the day can be captured I would be very happy with the 3+ indeed.ConsThe new housing is only limited to 40 metres deep. Divers will have to buy the dive housing which is rated to 60 metres if you wish to dive deeper with your go pro. You have to buy into the GoPro mounting system which can be expensive.If you would like to see my initial attempts with the 3+ please see my two videos on U TUBE. Here are the links-Preston Hill Quarry Wreck Dive on the Glanmire hope you like themMike Clark 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Dive on the Glanmire

Hi All,
follow the link below to see the video of my recent dive on the Glanmire. Vis was around 6 metres which was better than i was expecting for the first of March. I was testing The new Gopro HERO 3+ Black Edition. This is my second dive with it. im quite pleased with my attemps so far and i just have to figure out a better lighting system. A full review of the Gopro HERO 3+ Black Edition will feature in Scottish Diver soon and on here too.

Link   Dive the Glanmire

Mike Clark

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Topside Images

After my freshwater dip in a quarry earlier this year, no further diving has taken place, due to the terrible weather affecting the East Coast. Hopefully this will improve soon and we can get the season started. I have lots of products to review and hopefully some exciting dives and photos to talk about. I bumped into an old friend "Robin" from work today and i promised to put some images up here. i dont have any new underwater material at the moment but if you follow this link to my flickr site you will see a load of my topside images. Getting these has kept me sane through the bad winter weather. I hope you enjoy looking at them. great seeing you again Robin.

Mike Clark   Mikes Topside Photos

Sunday, 19 January 2014

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition First Results

Hi All,
First use of the GoPro 3+ Last weekend. it was great to use and it kicked out some great video. Its taken me all week to figure out how to get it uploaded to U Tube, but I'm glad to say that its on there now follow this link Mikes U Tube Video. Due to Stormy weather I'm only getting to use the camera now. First use was in Preston Hill Quarry in Fife, which was nice enough. I am looking forward to trying the camera out on some big wrecks in great vis to see how it performs.
I hope you like the video feel free to give me some feedback.
Mike Clark

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sperm Whale stranded on Edinburgh beach near Joppa 11 Jan. 2014 news

2014 starts with dramatic but sad news as a very large Sperm Whale washes ashore at Eastfield Beach, Joppa (right off of the bus terminus). The whale looks to be around 9 metres long if i assume the sea kayak in my image is around 3 metres.
The Whale is being moved around a little by the tide but i do think that the animal is dead and i did not detect it breathing. Its a magnificent but sad site. Right now at the time of writing is high tide and the whale may be able to be floated off but i fear it will be stuck there for a while, when the tide drops. If you do plan to visit for a look wrap up warm as its freezing.
Mike Clark

PS i did contact the coastguard and they had already informed British Marine life Rescue Divers