I'm a wetsuit diver. So I said it! I always dive in a wetsuit, even during wintertime. Insane? Some people have indeed called me that. I have a 7mm thick Mares suit with attached hoody. The coldest waters I defied with this suit where 1 degree Celsius for over 20 minutes. However, recently I got the change to scuba dive in a dry suit. A totally different experience and yet also very familiar.
Perhaps your first question is why in '%&*$# name I dive in a wetsuit during wintertime. The answer is very simple. In the beginning I didn't have the money to buy a dry suit and afterwards I simply forgot. The wetsuit always did it's job. Me and my buddy (remember Victor) found solutions and creative ways to handle the cold waters and wintry scenery in the Netherlands. Changing into our gear in Holland usually happens outside near a dike, in the snow or rain and almost often with a harsh wind, it's important to bring warm cloths you can change into after the dive. To set the heater in our car to 'high' and drink a lot of tea to get warm. Before the dive we fill our suits with warm water and heat packages in our gloves. But this post wasn't mend for tips on cold water diving in a wetsuit. I wanted to share my experience with the dry suit.
Putting on your dry suit has some challenges. I found that some talk powder and a buddy are a great help when it comes to the seals and closing the zipper on our back. I have no idea how someone would manage that alone. The dry suit I rented was a 'CD4 pro dry' from Bare.
Once I was in the water it felt a bit weird because you don't feel the water on your skin. Your nice and warm within the suit. The biggest difference was in buoyancy and maneuverability. In the first dive I was trying to regulate my buoyancy with my suit and BCD at the same time, big mistake! Hence I was going up and down continuously. On my second dive I didn't touch my BCD only used the suit. This was way more stable and I had the feeling of being in control again as I'm used to. Also the dry suite (at least this one) gave me more maneuverability then my 7mm wetsuit.
After the dive the biggest advantage is also in the name of the suit. You take off your gear and then you take of your suit and you're dry. Not standing but naked in the snow of rain, nope just pull down the suit and put on your jacket and that's it. I have faced different circumstances many times ;)
This experience was quite an eye opener. I'm definitely going to take a closer look into the possibilities of a dry suit. All though in my hart I will always will be a wetsuit diver...