Impressions on my new Halcyon (kinda long)

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Posted by msblucow on August 13, 2000 at 18:06:00:

After a long dry spell, where I had to take care of some family problems as well as travel back East for a few weeks, I finally got a chance to go diving yesterday with the Halcyon rig I bought last month. Although I've posted my impressions of the Halcyon this spring when I was still taking it out on demos (thank you Michael Kane, Terry Lee and Reef Seekers), I thought another post might be helpful for other people interested in the Halcyon, since I have since gone through quite a learning curve.

Over the last year I've been buying equipment a piece at a time. First a wetsuit, then a computer, lastly a reg and octo. Usually I would make a purchase only after renting a variety of gear, doing a lot of reading and talking to other divers. By this summer, the only thing left was a BC. So far, I had hated every BC I had tried, even the "women's" BCs that were supposed fit my form better. I couldn't put a finger on why I was having so many problems except that the BCs always felt bulky and awkward to me. I felt like the Pillsbury Dough Girl every time I hit the water. Well, to make a long story short, I saw an ad for Halcyon in a diving mag and knew just by looking at it, this was something I had to try. Fortunately, I was able to hook up with Mike and Terry and they lent me a rig to demo. So with their help, I got fitted, took it out a few times, and decided to order the rig from Reef Seekers.

Here's what I bought: A SS backplate with a single-tank adaptor, 36 lb. Pioneer wing, ACB integrated weight system, and a 6 lb. keel weight that mounts on the tank (to use when I dive with an aluminum 80). Halcyon threw in a safety sausage for free because the backplate was out of stock at the time I placed my order.

Mike and Terry helped size the rig to me, which is by far the most difficult thing about the Halcyon. It is truly a pain in the neck at first (especially when it's brand new and all the webbing is stiff) and can be especially frustrating if you don't know what you're doing. (For instance, you have to remember that the shoulder straps and the waist strap are all the same piece of webbing and if you adjust one, you affect the other.) The good news is that once you get the grunt work over with, you shouldn't have to touch the adjustments again.

So yesterday I finally got to try out my new stuff. I took the Great Escape out to Santa Barbara Island where I did a total of three dives, the deepest dive being only 48'. I wore 6lbs. of ditchable weight for a total of 18lbs.(including the backplate and keel weight), I wore my octo DIR-style (with a necklace of surgical tubing, so it rested just under my chin) and my console clipped off on my left hip. That was about it for gear.

Overall, here are my impressions:

I was very happy with how we adjusted the rig. It felt slightly loose around my waist, and although it was not enough to bother me, I plan to tighten it up before my next dive. The shoulder straps were loose enough so that I could comfortably hook my thumbs under the straps to remove them if needed. In general, the rig felt secure, but not binding - both in and out of the water. The rig was easy to get into and out of. Walking around with it fully loaded and strapped on was surprisingly easy since most of the weight was distributed evenly across my back and away from my hips.

Underwater, the rig felt very secure and stable, even when I was twisting and turning constantly to keep up with the sea lions. I could even flip upside-down without it riding up on me. When I wasn't doing contortions, the rig did a nice job of keeping me horizontal. I never felt like I was fighting it. Overall, the rig made me feel incredibly fluid and flexible. I never felt bound up or rigid. I could just forget I had the thing on and enjoy myself. Once at the surface, I found that the keel weight did wonders to keep me upright. I never felt like I was being pushed forward into the water. Fully inflated, the wing made a nice raft for long surface swims back to the boat (gotta work on my navigation skills :-)). I would just flip on my back and swim. It kept me well above the water and felt very comfortable.

Well, that's about it. If anyone has any questions or there's some info I've left out that you would like know about, let me know. I'll do my best to answer.

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