The first time you use a rearview dive mirror you get a “why doesn’t everyone use this?” experience. A while back we tested and raved about the ScubaSight mirror (see http://www.scubagadget.com/?p=602). It is still a good product and is great for checking on both your buddy and your own gear. But over the years we have not seen many divers using the ScubaSight. On one hand I am slightly surprised because it is such an inexpensive but useful accessory. One of the primary reasons that may have hindered it catching on was the companies’ poor marketing and a mediocre web site.
There is one other modification I always wished for in a dive mirror – wide angle. The ScubaSight is simple and amazingly robust. But it is a flat mirror and you have to wiggle around to cover the range you are scoping. I put it on my long-range todo list to find a convex version.
A few weeks ago I saw that a dive buddy had a small spot mirror on the back of his Sola dive light. He told me that he had seen the ScubaSite article in ScubaGadget and been inspired to make his own design. I became re-inspired. That day I stopped by the local auto parts dealer and spent the full $1.79 on convex spot mirror. I trimmed and taped on some Velcro to my own Sola dive light and viola! I had a wide angle buddy spotting mirror for under $3.
On a side note I had a fun brain teaser moment in the process. I remembered that ubiquitous automotive warning on all convex mirrors that “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” But the water in which we dive makes object appear closer than they actually appear. So using the mirror underwater cancels out a bit of the illusion.
The Live Test
On the first dive I was sold. I had a wide angle view all around my personal dive space. I dive a black mask and am used to constantly keeping my head on the move to make sure I stay in contact with my buddy and not missing a seal, or a six-gill shark just out of my peripheral vision. I am looking forward to the first time I miss running into a lion’s mane jelly because I spotted in my mirror. I could back away from an octopus hole without worrying if there was another diver in my path. With the new mirror I could not only see all around me with ease, but I had a full view of my on kit. I could see if I had some bubbles where they shouldn’t be or if there was some kelp ready to catch on my tank valve. It was so much more relaxing to dive this way. If you don’t have the Sola (best dive light in the world), you can stick a small spot mirror on anything (e.g. glove, dive computer).
This is a simple and cheap “scuba gadget” that anyone can make to enhance both their diving fun and safety.
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