Scuba Gear Reviews by Wendy C.
Rating: Nice BC 12/25/2008
I had the previous version of the Athena, and loved it. When it became too small for me to use, I tried a Scubapro Ladyhawk, but never did get used to the back inflation style. So, when this new Athena went on sale, I jumped on it to return to my comfort zone. The Athena has the soft pack, which makes it easier and lighter to pack for travel, but can also make it easier to slip around the tank if you didnt tighten your bands enough. The new buckles for the integrated weights is a big improvement over the previous style with all of that annoying velcro. However, if you are doing skills training or checking your optimal weights and bouyancy on the sandy bottom of your first dive, it is difficult to get the buckles snapped into place just right underwater. The weights also interfere with use of the pockets, so dont plan on taking a lot of stuff down with you - even a spare flashlight might be too wide to fit in the pocket if you have a lot of weight in the bc. Lastly, it could really use more d-rings in various spots (along the shoulder straps, for example)to help disperse your gear, but with a few clips and retractors, you can get everything you need onto the ones that are there along the bottom. Good lift, good positioning, and good comfort.
Sherwood Magnum 2 Mask
Rating: Good for a backup 12/25/2008
I purchased this mask to have as a backup for a liveaboard trip based only its the low price. I decided to use it on my very last dive of the trip just to give it a decent trial run. I found that the seal was great and it fit my face well. It had no leaks at all. However, it was quite uncomfortable since the design of the separate windows caused the edges of the lenses to press against the bridge of my nose. I felt this no matter how much air/pressure I allowed to be inside the mask. So, it functions well, seals nicely, and didnt fog after I scrubbed it. But it was highly uncomfortable to wear. I will be looking for another backup mask.
Sherwood Magnum 2 Mask
Rating: Great wetsuit! 12/11/2008
I dived with this wetsuit on a liveaboard in St. Croix in December. I only got chilled on two of my dives the whole week, and some people were using 5mm suits. The Akona is very flexible, easy to don, and still allows room for comfortable movements. I really like the fact that there is no strap to put around your foot like other lightweight wetsuits (I also have a 1mm Henderson with this). I find that the strap makes it mandatory to have the leg fit inside your dive bootie, and you end up sloshing around in water-filled booties. Alternatively, this Akona lets you put the leg on the outside of the bootie so that the water drains. I also had comments from the other divers that the pattern on the back looked like mesh underwater and was "cool" ! Definitely recommended for a tropical dive suit, or for a wonderful layering piece.