When I filled this modest Casio F-91W, with olive oil, I promised that this summer I would dive with it, down to at least 40 meters.
It has gone down even further, and I made 11 dives with it.
By being hydrolyzed, its water resistance is almost limitless. And so it’s that a modest watch, which is no more than Water Resistant, has been able to accompany me on all my dives this summer, reaching unsuspected depths for a Casio F-91w.
I did not take pictures during the oiling process photos, but I show you a couple of them, so you can see how I did it.
I put the watch face down in a small glass. I opened it with a screwdriver, and covered it completely with olive oil. Then, I closed the watch inside the same glass.
Once I took it off the glass, I slightly loosen two screws, to let out a couple of drops of oil (which would allow forming a bubble inside the box). I closed it. And that's it.
You will see this picture again, but I show it to you as an advance. This is not the maximum depth that the F-91 reached this summer (you we'll see it on other photos), but this was not bad: 41.5 meters.
I will explain you how this F-91 spent the summer, and incidentally I will explain how we do the dives. There will not be all underwater photos that I would like, because I do not take pictures underwater, and I can only show photos of the dives where one of my dive buddies had a camera with him.
As I explained, a friend gave me this F-91w very "worked".
I already have an F-91, in better condition, and decided to hydrolyze this one. I did not have silicone oil, and did it with extra virgin olive oil.
You can see here my two F-91, one beside the other. The hydrolyzed is the one at right. The watch at left is in perfect condition, just as when it came out from the factory.
The oiled watch works perfectly. The difference I've noticed is that the oil bubble is not round, as often happens with silicone oil. Usually you can see it at the corners, but it often hides.
Well, let's go to the diving issue. I do not need to take with me an F-91 -or any clock- when I dive. My computers control my dives every moment. They tell me how long I've been underwater, how deep I am and if I have to do decompression. Yes, I wear a Citizen Aqualand (as backup, and because of my "watch madness"), but basically an Aqualand, because it's got also a depth gauge. This summer I decided that the F-91 would accompany them underwater.
I made every dive at the Medes islands, on the spanish Costa Brava, an underwater nature park that is a real paradise of underwater life.
Here you can see the group of islands at sunrise, from the beach of l'Estartit, when I was arriving to the dive center.
At eight o'clock, the divers that will leave on the first boat to the Medes are already cheating about the next dive. On the background, the van with the equipments.
A bit later, a short path leads them to the dive boat.
You are going to see them a lot more, but I start showing watches. The Casio F-91 (you can notice that the bubble is visible in the oil, down, at right), side by side with its diving buddy: the Citizen Aqualand I, that I wear with an extra long (30 cm) NATO/Zulu, to fit with my wetsuit.
Here you can see all the instruments that I take on my right wrist. Alongside with the watches, a compass, in case I have to guide myself underwater. The F-91 is already with the stopwatch at zero, ready to mark the time of the dive. The Aqualand shows the depth: 0.0 m
These are some of the boats waiting for the divers.
The tanks that will allow us to go underwater. On the background, the diving suits, that have dried overnight.
Each diver takes his tank with him to the boat.
After loading the tanks, everybody puts every piece of the gear on place.
Boats can be very full, but everyone adapts to the space they have.
At the bow, the boat captain and the dive center guides check the dive list, so that everything and everybody matches.
Boats depart towards the diving place, with the sun still going out from the horizon.
The Medes Islands are very close from the harbour, just one kilometer. That gives you just enough time to equip and get ready.
Almost every boat leave at once. In summer they usually made two trips in the morning, at 9 and 11. And in the afternoon, they come out again.
We approach to the second largest island of the archipelago: the "Meda Petita". At left is the "Meda Gran". At right, the named "Carall Bernat"; and the lesser islands, where we will do this first dive.
A closer view. At left, the islet called "Tascó Gran". At right the smallest islet, showing a point ahead of the largest and most imposing one, the "Carall Bernat"; our destination, and where we will dive.
Tying the boat to the buoy that we had scheduled that morning. At the natural park of the Medes Islands it is forbidden to use the anchors, to avoid damaging the sea floor.
Let's go to the water. The F-91, with the stopwatch ready to measure the dive time. At right, the Citizen Aqualand, that will also show me how deep we are. On the left wrist (not shown) are the computers, which give even more data. They are the ones that really control the dive.
We are already going down. I am the diver at top, with yellow fins.
Along the way, we encounter a school of European barracuda (Sphyraena sphyraena). Although they have a reputation for aggressive, they are not dangerous at all. Sometimes you can get very close to them (at the Medes Natural Reserve, but not out of there).
Near the bottom it's easy to see brown meagres (Sciaena umbra) groups, a beautiful fish that always moves at a very leisurely pace.
There are many different biotopes on the islands. The richest in life (and most beautiful) are the gorgonian forests (Paramuricea clavata). It's a pity that this photo does not reflect all the colors of these fan corals.
Among these gorgonians (which have regained their color, thanks to the flashlight) we can see a medium sized grouper (Epinephellus marginatus), the king of the Medes.
This is the underwater photo of watches that I showed at the beginning of the thread. The depth shows that the F-91w is already more than a "Water Resistant" watch. Here we have it next to a computer Mares Nemo Wide, at 41.5 meters deep (that was the first dive .... not a smooth start).
Close to us, a moray eel (Muraena helena) watched us. Despite its appearance, it is also completely harmless, unless it's disturbed.
Approaching the F-91 to a deepwater red star (Hacelia attenuata).
A closer view, where you can see that we were at a depth of 23 meters.
Groupers are very common.
They are not afraid of divers, and they let you get much closer (as you will see now).
An example of this is the following video, where this great grouper swims towards the camera, and allows me to swim for a while with him, and even get to touch it.
A snapshot of the previous video.
Going up, we find an eagle ray (Myliobatis aquila), also called "Milana" in Catalunya. They live at the open sea.
A dive deeper than 40 meters almost assures to do decompression before reaching the surface. In this case, the computer tells us that we are at four meters, that we must stay there one more minute, that the water temperature is 22 degrees and that the dive time is now 39 minutes. The F-91w returns safe from his first trip to the depths. There will be more ...........
We return to the harbour. Pleased by the magnificent divie, and also because the F-91w has accomplished its baptism dive, without any incident.
Tying the boat. The divers that will leave at 11 o'clock wait for us.
The evidence (and on following dives where there will not be photos of the watch at depth ... you will have to trust me that the F-91w accompanied the other .... but I assure you that this happened): 41.5 meters. And very happy.
This photo was taken on the next dive. I look like a one-man band, with so many things on my arms. Actually, this is unusual. I explain what's everything. On the left arm I have (from left to right) my primary computer (Mares Nemo Wide), a computer Suunto Solution (for safety, but this computer does not calculate Nitrox dives), and -exceptionally- another Suunto computer that a friend asked me to test that day. On the right arm is, first, at left, a compass; then the safety watch (a Citizen Aqualand, with a depth gauge); and little visible (being the same black color as the dive suit), next to my hand, the F -91w. I usually carry four instruments on the wrists (two computers, watch and compass), but really, a computer and a compass would be enough.
Let's go alternating pictures of surface and watches, with pictures underwater, to explain the other dives that made the F-91w this summer.
In this dive you are going to see how big Medas islands groupers are, and that they are not afraid of divers.
Nearby we saw a grouper under a rock.
We saw it quite calm, and slowly approached my hand. It allowed me to pet him under the jaw.
Now, with my left hand. You can see that the F-91 wanted to join to the game.
Here you can see the video where the two previous stills come from. Groupers don't have big teeth, but a kind of very scratchy lips. But the strength of their jaw is impressive. If it wanted to hurt me, could have done it.
Aftert 45 minutes of diving, we were already doing the safety stop at 5 meters.
At that depth, we saw a couple of colorful nudibranchs (Flabellina affinis), moluscs with no shell.
Already on the boat, the Aqualand shows us the maximum depth of the dive: 40.3 meters.
The imposing presence of the islands is always present.
The stopwatch of the F-91 is stopped at 8:35. Add one hour, and you will know how much lasted the dive.
Now I'll show you a dive in which the F-91 went down to 50 meters (though this was not the deepest dive, as you will see later).
The boat and its inflatable, moored beside the island where the cave is. Because today we would dive in a cave.
Entering the cavity. At the Medes islands there are very deep caves.
An octopus (Octopus vulgaris), face down in its burrow, watching us curiously.
In the depth of the cave we see this Cylinder anemone (Ceranthius membranaceus). This brown tube is made sticking sand to its mucus, and the animal hides inside it in case of danger.
During the decompression stop, I pressed the button that shows the maximum depth of this dive. You can see that the F-91w reached this time 50.9 meters.
Already dry, you can see that dive lasted more than 55 minutes (decompression was not short).
Another day, and back to the islands.
Another school of barracuda.
And getting to the bottom, this group of brown meagres.
Deeper (you can appreciate it, because it's darker), appeared this great grouper.
Once we arrived to the surface, we can see that this time we almost went 40 meters deep, and the F-91 marked nearly an hour and four minutes underwater. No traces of oil internal problems ... still works.
On this next dive (always at the Medes Islands) you are going to see a curious animal. Not particularly rare to see (although it doesn't appear frequently), but with an spectacular behaviour.
It is a Sea hare (Aplysia fasciata). A mollusc with some resemblance to a slug, but much larger. With a very small and hidden shell.
The particularity that have these animals (living always crawling on the bottom) is that when they want to quickly change the area where they are (usually when they think they are in danger), instead of crawling slowly, they move the mantle (these kind of seals that they have on the top, that behave like wings).
And they swim. Here you have it with me, trying to lose sight of us.
The movement of this Sea hare underwater is really spectacular. Those two mantles behave almost as if they were a ballerina skirt. So much, that a similar sea hare that lives in the Red Sea and is completely red, is known as "the Spanish dancer".
Surfacing, we saw another Flabellina, a relative of the sea hare, but much smaller (and colorful).
Out of the water, the Aqualand told us we had been again almost down to 40 meters: 39.5, and the F-91 that the dive lasted one hour and ten minutes.
You can see that the depth that shows the computer does not exactly match the depth gauge of the Aqualand. That usually happens because sometimes they are not adjusted equivalently, and vary in centimeters.
Penultimate dive that I show you. The calm sea invited us to dive.
Descending we saw another school of barracudas.
Along the way, another eagle ray swam close to us, not giving us much attention.
When we had dived for half an hour (and this time it was a quiet dive), we took a photo with sea urchin (Paratocentrus lividus). In my opinion, one of the most dangerous animals under the sea .........
As you can see: 30 meters and one hour and two minutes diving.
For closing this post I will show you the deepest dive that made the Casio F-91 this summer. Again at the Medes.
Casio and Aqualand, eager to return again to the depths, with displays to zero, ready to count meters and seconds.
Down into the abyss, a big Common Dentex (Dentex dentex) passed us. That day we did not stop much to watch it. When you make deep dives you cannot waste much time going down.
Once at the bottom, one of the most grateful inhabitants to see: a Mediterranean lobster (Palinurus elephas). Always usually at the entrance of their burrows, with antennas outside, watching the environment. Unfortunately, the abundance of groupers (they have lobsters as one of its most valued foods) has made these animals very difficult to see. And they appear only quite deep, and hidden.
And another inhabitant of the caves and the depths, the conger eel (Conger conger). They do not have to be very fearful of anything (its size makes that they virtually have no predators), but they are always very secretive animals. Some are bigger than my leg size.
Already rising from the depths, and looking for an area where spend the long minutes of decompression.
This particular site is ideal for decompression. Close to the rock, you do not have to worry about depth changes, and from there you have a privileged view of what happens to your side and below. As if you were on a balcony.
During decompression, from five to three meters, you have time for many things. Here I was looking for a symbiotic small crab that lives among these anemones (Anemonia viridis). It was so hidden that we could not take a picture where it could be seen enough. I moved my hand trying not to be poked by the sea urchins.
The final photo, in which the maximum depth that I reached this summer shows. Me and the F-91w casio, which has deeply shown that a non-submersible oiled watch works perfectly down there. 55.7 meters is almost the maximum depth that I would dive, breathing compressed air.
I hope you enjoyed this underwater trip. I have to thank the underwater photos (because I never dive with camera) to an Italian buddy, Claudio Mortella, who accompanied me on most of the dives you have seen.
I apologize for my mistakes in english .....
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