You will need to watch this TED Talk by Hamish Jolly to see for yourself. When I first heard of this or at least read the email someone sent to me, I was completely skeptical. After watching the video and seeing the data, it kind of made sense. You be the judge for yourself.
Would you try it?
As I was walking the expo halls of DEMA in 2013, I ran into Dive Caddy demonstrating their newest version of their dive bag or folding blanket or backpack or what is this thing as I was trying to figure it out; Chad, the founder and inventor, was demonstrating the product to his audience. Suddenly, as he started to unfold the contents, he pulled out a some clothes like shorts, t-shirts, etc. from one section, then a 5mm wet suit from another section, then long fins from another section which he unzipped, and then he unfolded another section which really impressed me which was a full size BCD (not just a travel BCD), basically he had almost everything a diver needed in this folded bag which actually was a back pack and I was thinking to myself, he forgot the mask, snorkel, regulator, dive computer, etc. but then he suddenly showed another compact bag that was to the side which had all these item inside. He called them your life support equipment and later showed (after he reassembled everything very neatly together and compactly) that the life support bag attached to the top or bottom of the back pack and had a separated sling strap that goes over the shoulder so if you had to check in the bag instead of carrying it on the plane, you could quickly unclip the life support bag and pull out the shoulder strap and attach it to the bag and carry it on the plane. The system even came with an oversized light weight folded duffle bag that you could quickly pull out and cover your Dive Caddy and it could be protected and then checked in and no one would know that it contained dive equipment before you gave it to the flight attendant on the plane to check it in for you because the plane’s overhead compartments were too full or too small for small single engine or propeller regional planes.
After seeing the demo, I knew I had to try this for myself and ordered one on the spot. They were being made and delivery was expected a few months later. It turned out they were due to arrive just before my shark dive in the Bahamas that same week so I was hoping to get it just before the trip to give it a try. Unfortunately that was the same week a major snow storm hit the State of Washington where the company headquarters are and when I emailed Chad, he said he just got them but was not sure he could get it to me in time. Well, Chad pulled a miracle, he risked his life and got into his truck and braved a bad snow storm and just made it to the UPS center before closing for next day delivery, the day before my trip. Thanks Chad.
I had to watch the video (below) once to remember what generally goes where since I was in a rush to pack and I have to admit, the first time was a little tricky with all the straps and options. But the second time it was a breeze.
Now, before the shark dive, I had to go on a weeklong business trip to NY in a snow blizzard then to the Bahamas to Tiger Beach for the shark dive via Florida so I did had more bags than I wanted, plus complete underwater camera gear and laptop computer stuff so I did put the Dive Caddy in a 30” rolling hard suit case with some other equipment. But it was very convenient to have all my dive gear rolled into one place so that when I got on the boat to unpack and set up my tanks and such, I did not have to carry stuff back and forth from my room to the boat and worry if I had forgotten anything. More importantly, when I got to the airport, since I had too much luggage and was overweight for the small plane (propeller plane) to the Bahamas and not flying my usual airlines, they wanted to charge me $500 more in fees for having 2 extra bags overweight. But I asked if I spread the weight over 3 bags since I was a Gold Star Alliance member, and asked if that would help?; it actually brought the price down to $225, go figure. So I quickly opened my suitcase, pulled the Dive Caddy out, pulled the empty duffle bag it comes with and covered the Dive Caddy back pack, put a lock and name tag on it and checked that in as my third bag and saved $175 - dang airlines.
Anyways, it is clearly one of my new favorite bag (almost paid for itself on that trip alone) in my large collection of bags/luggage that I have for traveling. I told Chad, the Holy Grail however, would be if he can invent a bag that can do the same thing for underwater cameras. He said he already has designed one and it was coming out soon. I can’t wait and I would wait in line for the first time like all those crazy people waiting in line for the first iPhone at the Apple store for days in advance if I knew there was one coming out that would work and could be compact and I could carry-on a plane while protecting my gear.
- Lots of adjustable straps
- Durable material that comes with a repair kit if necessary
- Sections for BC, wetsuit, fins, clothes
- Extra small bag that detaches for mask, regulator, computer, etc.
- Comes with large dive bag that can cover entire Dive Caddy in case you need to check the bag
- Zipper on small bag got stuck on mine and would not open so I had to return but got replacement right away.
- Second small bag had same problem but not as bad so I was able to fix
- A little pricy until you try it but once you use it then you see the value
*DiveWet does not get paid advertising or marketing fees. This is an independant piece.
As I was preparing my gear for a recent Tiger shark dive, I heard someone in our party ask, “Who has the yellow fins?”
“I do,” I responded.
I was warned that just a week earlier, another diver wore yellow fins and had to surface after less than half a dive because sharks had relentlessly beleaguered him. When he got back to shore, he drove to town and bought black fins in order to dive unharassed in the future.
At first I thought they were joking or teasing me. I had been on several shark dives including an out-of-cage Great White shark dive. I had never noticed sharks showing any unusual interest in my yellow fins. I normally wore them to ensure my dive buddy could always see me from a distance or in bad visibility. No one had ever warned me about yellow fins before.
On this, the first day of the Tiger shark dive, there were no extra fins on board. I was not about to miss this dive, so I had no choice except to forge on in my blaringly yellow fins. The water was freshly chummed, which was unnecessary as sharks crowded around the boat whenever it set anchor.
I saw more than twenty Caribbean reef, lemon, and other types of sharks circling the boat. Some of the reef sharks were twice the size of the black tips I had seen on a previous dive in Tahiti. I had never been in the water with Tigers and I knew they were responsible for the second highest recorded number of attacks next to the Great Whites.
I admit it – the sight gave me pause, but only for a second. Other than that fact that Tigers are deadly hunters and apparently have a yellow rubber fetish, what was there to worry about? Heck, I was not going to come all this way and miss this dive – nope, not me. So I jumped in and sank to the bottom quickly as recommended by the expedition leader, Amanda Cotton, and got into position to take photos with my huge camera rig.
I had my wide-angle lens and 9” glass dome with a Go Pro Hero next to the dome recording the event while I took photos (See Video Gallery). In addition, I also had a second Go Pro on a miniature stilt facing the rear of my camera so it could record what was behind me. Later I would be able to play it back and see what had gone on behind me. If I got attacked from behind, I wanted to be able to see it!
After reviewing several days’ worth of diving video, I concluded that sharks did not seem any more attracted to my fins than those of anyone else. In fact, I was disappointed I didn’t better close-up shots because the sharks didn’t come closer. But, the Tiger sharks were bumping some of the other divers, far more than me!
A few times, I was warned that I was not watching my back enough because I was too focused on taking pictures. Sharks were coming behind me and the safety diver had to make sure I was not being bothered. Actually, I did see this – twice on the video. On the other hand, I have many hours of video of with no incidents.
Even though I did not see an increase in shark interest, I decided this warranted further research. Had I just been lucky in the past or was there some truth that some colors, such as yellow, attracted sharks more than others. I did not find academic or scientific studies on the subject, much less any proof either way from these sources. However, I did find a diving forum that discussed the topic and from there, found a link to a YouTube video to a Myth Busters show that had investigated this topic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmt5gF1fqZo). For those not familiar with it, Myth Busters is an American show that explores and tests widely held beliefs, folkloric wisdom, movie portrayals, adages, and news stories. (http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters). The show’s hosts re-create the myths and put them to the test, precisely what they did regarding the danger of wearing yellow in shark-infested waters.
They discovered that, in fact, sharks are attracted to the color yellow. To reach this conclusion, they put chum into several porous bags, each of which was a different color: black, silver, blue, red, yellow and white. They tied the bags to a line, dropped it into the water, and counted which bag was bitten the most. They then switched the positions of the bags on the line to see if that made any difference. It did not. The yellow bag still had the most bites overall. (See photo of the count board below)
I watched my videos again from the Tiger shark dive and I thought back to all of my previous dives with sharks, including the Great White. On the Great White shark dive, I recalled that when we went down in the shark cage to approximately thirty-five feet, almost every time I got out of the cage, I saw a Great White or one came near me. However, whenever another diver had his turn out of the cage (twenty minute rotation among four divers), several had no Great Whites approach them. Some didn’t even see any during their rotation.
I reconsidered my position. Now, while I don’t think sharks will always attack something that is yellow, but they may be attracted to it when they see it moving, especially in the sun or in the open. For instance, in the Myth Busters episode the chum bags are at the surface where the waves are pushing the bags in the sunlight. They bit those bags but that was because they contained smelly, bloody chum. When I was on my knees waiting for the Tiger sharks to arrive, the sharks did not notice or bother me. However, in one video as I was swimming back to the boat as opposed to slowly crawling the bottom on my knees, a curious Tiger shark followed me. I kept a close eye on him and did not ascend to the boat right away. I sat on my knees until he swam away and then I made my ascent.
Everyone on the Tiger dive had an Octopus (spare regulator) with a yellow hose and the sharks did not go after the hose. I think the attraction depends on the size of the yellow object and whether it is waving in the right light.
At the end of the day, I don’t know for sure if it makes sense to throw out your yellow fins. But there is one thing I definitely know to be a fact: on my next shark dive, I am still going to be curious and probably keep the yellow ones on and have even more fun. Yes, I have a spare pair of red or black fins, just in case.
Let me know what you think.