After some time of being resistant to buying any dive equipment I have lost the battle.. or rather, my wallet has lost the battle with my heart! Because of course I want to buy pretty and good equipment to use, it’s the cost that makes me a little hesitant. But I am very happy with my recent purchase, and I would like to introduce you to MY NEW GULL VADER:
It’s a really beautiful and recently released 2-color design. Gull Vader has a wide range of colors available and I was actually looking at the burgundy one (on the right but a little less purple-looking in person). Unfortunately, very few places carry it and it’s actually an old color.
I was all ready to settle for an aqua, maybe a pink or red but then… I found my beautiful aqua and white combination 😀 So of course I had to buy that instead. Plus, it’s relatively uncommon and not many people have it yet ~
Introduction to A Dive Mask
Deciding On A Mask
Some things to consider for your mask:
1. Clear or Tinted Lens:
Most masks have clear lens but some have tinted or mirrored lens. I was actually drawn to mirrored lens at first cause I thought they looked cool but realized that it acts as sunglasses underwater and cuts out light, making it harder to see in all but bright and clear conditions. Though fish will get less scared off when they can’t see your eyes or would even be attracted by the reflections. A light tint would be beneficial in adding color back to your vision at depth where reds and yellows tend to be absorbed. This increases visibility, contrast and clarity.
2. Clear or Black Skirt
A clear skirt would offer a less claustrophobic sensation and allows some peripheral vision so you can keep an eye on the general shape of your buddy as he swims beside you. However, it lets light in and increases glare which would not be an issue with the black skirt. Also, the clear silicon might yellow over time while the black one would not discolor.
3. Single or Dual Lens:
Personally I feel that the main difference is that you can get prescriptive lens for the dual lens mask but not the single lens one. Other than that, the single lens doesn’t have the center frame, thus giving you unobstructed forward vision though you could definitely get used to the dual lens and not feel much of a difference.
4. Lens Angle
A downward inclination angle is available for some masks to extend the downward field of view. This makes it easier to perform diving related tasks such as looking at the spg, and adjusting things around the torso area.
So why I wanted a gull vader.
Firstly, I am very taken with their coating. They have a UV400 block amber coating that helps block UV and protects my eyes. It also amplifies light and makes things look brighter and clearer underwater. Coupled with the single lens, it enhances vision and gives a wider field of view. Which sounds pretty important to me because I go diving to admire the views underwater. But…at the risk of sounding shallow, my favorite part is that it looks super cool! From the outside it looks like sunglasses and blocks my eyes/face from view.
Then there are also other benefits like the low volume which makes it easier to clear and places the lens closer to my face. The soft skirting with a curl lip end makes it pretty comfortable to wear and doesn’t leave an awkward mask-shaped impression on my face after removing it. The 100% high-grade Japanese-made silicon used ensures that the skirting will not warp, harden or crack over time.
After deciding I would really like a Gull Vader it came time to try on the mask and make sure it fits. Cause no matter what, the fit is the most important. Any wonderful mask would be useless if it lets water leak in when you wear it. Then you’ll spend all your time trying to clear it or looking out through a blurry film of water.
[Good news is that the Vader is designed for Asian faces (and is supposed to fit nearly any face) so there was a high likelihood it would fit!]
Few steps on how to test if a mask fits:
- Place the mask over your eyes and nose gently (don’t press it in with too much force) and breathe in through your nose. Make sure no air leaks in and shake your head around to make sure it wouldn’t fall off. Ensure that it feels comfortable.
- Put on the mask by pulling the mask strap over the back of your head. Adjust it to ensure it stays on but is not too tight to be uncomfortable. Try reaching your nose in the nose pocket and see if you can easily pinch it when needed for equalization.
- With the mask still on, stretch out your mouth to mimic breathing through a regulator and breathe in through your nose. Listen for any sounds of air leaking into the mask.
Now that you’ve chosen and bought a mask, it’s important to take care of it so that it will last for a long time.
Many masks have a thin film of silicone on the inside of the lens due to the manufacturing process and it is advised to scrub it out with toothpaste or a mild liquid scrub before diving, otherwise it would cause rapid fogging. However, for some masks such as the vader, this might damage the inner coating so it’s extremely important that you don’t do it! You can use off-the-shelf anti-fogging agents instead. Do ask the shop for specific care instructions for your mask.
Never put your mask on your forehead! It is easy for it to fall off and sink to the bottom of the sea where you most probably would not be able to retrieve it. Instead, pull the mask downward to remove it such that the strap remains around your neck.
Don’t tighten the mask too much as that might deform the skirt and cause leakage.
Rinse the mask after using, warm freshwater would be better at dissolving any salt crystals. Let it dry completely before storing in a plastic mask box. The box would keep away insects that eat the silicon and also ensure that nothing presses on the mask and deforms it. Store it in a dry location out of direct sunlight.
Now you’re all ready to go out and get a mask of your own! Happy searching and buying ~