Gerard almost ready for a backward roll

Sidemount diving

Cecil donning his kit on the boat
Cecil donning his kit on the boat

Sidemount diving involves a diver wearing his cylinders under his arms alongside his body, instead of on his back as with traditional recreational scuba configurations. It is popular with cave divers, because the arrangement makes it easier to fit through narrow spaces, and also lends itself to easy switching between gases. Two individual cylinders are also easier to handle for some than the extremely heavy twinsets that are used by some cave and technical divers.

Gerard almost ready for a backward roll
Gerard almost ready for a backward roll

The cylinders they use are aluminium (you can see they don’t have nets or boots like the usual steel cylinders used in Cape Town) which give a little extra buoyancy as they empty. You can also see Gerard’s special wing (BCD) inflated on his back. For this kind of diving you need a lot of lift.

Cecil & Gerard's aluminium cylinders
Cecil & Gerard’s aluminium cylinders

Cecil and Gerard have recently been diving with a sidemount configuration in Blue Rock Quarry. Cecil has moved in this direction because he has been extending his education as a cave diver! They came for a dive on board our boat Seahorse, to Outer Photographer’s Reef, and tested their setup on a sea dive. We enjoy catering to all kinds of divers and as usual found Gerard and Cecil’s company to be extremely entertaining!

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Tony

Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals

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