Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back in Hong Kong

After six weeks in Beijing, I am back in HK, and back in the water. I went out to meet Victor and Stephen. They wanted to test prototypes of new underwater camera housings, while I got to play with the first production sample of a 100US$ snorkel. The snorkel sucked, the tests went better. Raymond came and dropped us some tanks.

Water was turbid, visibility at 1-3 meters. The top layer was about 30C warm, there were two termacline at 2.5 and 6.5 meters. I spent a good hour in the water, saw several baby pufferfish, three large starfish (30-40cm, gray-green with 8 long and 1 short arms), and a bizarre but tiny scorpion fish which I yet have to identify. After all, its bizarre shape might have been the product of an attack by a larger fish. Only, I had left my camera at home.

Afterwards, the three of us went for dinner in Hang Hau, and necessarily talked about scuba and cameras. This is what I learned: polycarbonat is a superb housing material, but YOU MUST KEEP IT AWAY FROM CHEMICALS, especially, from fresh plastics containing large amounts of softeners. The easiest way to ruin your polycarbonat housing is to wrap it in kitchen cling-wrap, let it sit for a couple of days, and then take it underwater. The solvents from the wrap will have weakened the housing and it is certain to crack. The same applies to any product containing mineral oils.