After hearing many enthusiastic stories about diving with a Full-Face Mask from colleagues and friends, our instructors Nienke and Martijn got really curious and decided to try it for themselves. They joined a course given by our Dive Inn Location Manager and Ocean Reef Specialist Jeffrey in September.
A Full-Face Mask is exactly that: a mask that covers your entire face! They were previously only used by military and professional divers, but a recreational version is now available for all divers to enjoy the fun and advantages of having your whole face inside one mask (along with the integrated regulator). Say good-bye to fogged-up and leaking masks! Even the mouthpiece is gone, no more jaw fatigue! You can breathe naturally through your nose and experience a wider field of vision compared to regular masks. More than enough reasons to give it a try!
The course began with a morning coffee and some background information on the Ocean Reef Integrated Dive Mask. The first time you put on the mask, it feels a bit strange to start but once you adjust the straps and other features, it becomes very comfortable. You also want to ensure that you adjust the nose plugs correctly as you will use them to help you equalize (you can’t pinch your nose in the Full-Face Mask!).
Before the open water dive, they learned to perform some regular scuba skills with the Full-Face Mask. First, they practiced putting the mask on and taking it off a couple of times on the surface to get comfortable with it. After that, they practiced several skills underwater such as disconnecting/re-connecting the low-pressure hose that supplies air to the integrated regulator, clearing a flooded mask and finally taking the whole mask off underwater and putting it back on. Taking off a Full-Face Mask underwater is a bit more work than with a regular mask as without your mask on, you can’t breathe since the regulator is integrated into the mask. You have to make sure you switch to an alternate air source (either your own or you buddy’s) and put on a spare mask. Then you can actually see what you are doing again. However, with a bit of practice, it is easy to do!
After learning these new skills, the group headed out to test the mask in the open water. Diving with a Full-Face Mask is a lot of fun! You actually do see a lot more because of the wider field of vision compared to a regular mask. You can even see your buddy out of the corner of your eye when they are slightly behind you!
As an experienced diver, Nienke started out breathing through her mouth only (old habits…), until she realized it was also possible to breathe through her nose for the first time underwater! After the dive, Nienke said “I don’t know if it’s just me, but it took me a while to adjust to breathing out of my nose. However, it is quite comfortable to breathe through your nose and I can definitely see that it will be beneficial for some people who have trouble with breathing through a normal regulator.”
Surprisingly, the group was also able to communicate very well underwater. Although, they didn’t try out the add-on communication set yet, which can be fitted onto the side of the Full-Face Mask, they
were able to speak into the masks and hear each other when they were close by under water. Together they sang ‘we are the champions’ underwater to celebrate competing the course.
They really enjoyed diving with the Full-Face Mask and will definitely do it again. Take the leap and dare to try if for yourself; you might just love it and never go back to your regular dive mask! We offer Full-Face Masks for rental and sale at our Dive Inn location. Stop by anytime to find out more!