Christmas is coming soon: the countdown to everyone’s favourite day of the year has officially started. If you have not started yet your Christmas shopping for your loved ones, here is a selection for scuba diving addicts. This Christmas gifts idea list is based on my favourite items. I’m sure it will make another scuba diver happy!
A scuba diving coffee table book: a thoughtful gift at the best price
Books are an excellent choice of Christmas gifts for scuba divers. I have myself a large collection of scuba diving travel books at home. My favourite one remains “100 diving sites” that I bought it at Kuala Lumpur Airport for almost nothing on my way back home after my divemaster training, and it has remained the book I always make sure to consult before any trip project. It mainly focuses on recreational tropical diving, but it also features a good number of cold water diving destinations too.
I love the way the information is organised with beautiful large pictures. The map at the beginning of the book is really practical to see where all the best scuba diving sites are. It just crazy how cheap this book is now. It’s the best value for money gift for small budgets!
Here are a few other ideas from my personal library:
- “Ultimate diving adventures“: the perfect complement for advanced divers. This book focuses on more technical dives with the details of the best wreck dive sites in the world but also adventure dives including animal encounters or challenging scenic dives (not many books mention St Kilda in Scotland where you can dive a tunnel crossing below an island).
- “The place to be today“, by Lonely Planet: This is my reference book to check for marine animal migrations or cultural festivals all around the world. I also like reading it randomly to pick new ideas based on where I’d like to travel.
How to start underwater photography with the best affordable underwater camera on the market
I personally own a G7X Canon camera with a Fantasea housing, a Fantasea wide angle dome and a Nauticam CMC macro lens. The results I now get adding to it the external light from my S-2000 Inon strobe are surprisingly professional for such a small compact camera. Its ability to be fully manually set and its low light capabilities make it one of the best and most versatile compact cameras for underwater photography on the market. However, the total budget for this set up was about 2000 € (about £1800). For information, the latest model available is the Canon G7X Mark II, prices start at 479€ (about £430).
So if you are looking to spoil a scuba diver who is longing to get seriously into underwater photography, I think it is a too pricey option. If you are looking for Christmas gifts for scuba divers that will impress but stay within a reasonable budget, please forget about GoPros. I bought one this year to have a back-up and I was extremely disappointed with the results for underwater photography (it is only fine for wide angle videos). I used to recommend the Canon PowerShot D30 which was a super budget-friendly option for underwater photography beginners. However, Olympus has now convinced many divers around the world since its TG4 waterproof built-in compact camera with its astonishing results.
While I don’t own it myself, I had many dive buddies diving this year who were diving with an Olympus TG5 and a video torchlight. The results are not as good as of course than with my Canon G7X set-up but still amazingly good for the budget. Look below the nudibranch picture my dive buddy in Japan, Shengnan, took with her Olympus TG5. If you are not looking to do deep diving and underwater photography (most of the interesting marine wildlife is usually quite shallow anyway – shipwrecks excluded), you don’t need to buy a housing (maximum depth is guaranteed to 15m, but most of my buddy take it to 20m without any problem), that is why it becomes such a budget-friendly option with a price starting around 400€ (about £360).
The best scuba diving fins for world travellers
I couldn’t travel anymore without my Aqua Lung Hot Shot fins. When you rent fins, you usually end up with bulky, ugly and cramp-giving fins! This is why scuba diving fins were among the very first pieces of equipment I bought for my own scuba gear. I had 2 other pairs before and the huge advantage of these ones is their compact size: they fit in a carry-on suitcase! They are also very light, making them the traveller’s best friend. These adjustable fins can be used with or without booties, and the strap at the back makes them easy to put on. I used them in Scotland and Indonesia, and I can tell that even if they are shorter, they are very efficient fins. Thanks to their shape, they also perform well with frog-kick. A great and useful Christmas gift for scuba divers at a reasonable price.
A quality dive computer is a gift that will make a big impression
If you are looking to spoil someone, a good dive computer is the best gift you can think of. Without getting in the totally insane price zone, I think my Suunto D4i offers the perfect balance: a stylish watch style computer you are not ashamed to wear during your holidays, and complete functions including freediving and nitrox modes. My favourite feature is the record of the dive profile. In the dive log of the computer, you can see a curve showing the depth at every minute of the dive. I have also the pressure transmitter fitted on my regulator. It allows me to check if I’m making progress on my air consumption and my depth management during the dive. Prices start at 449€ (about £405)
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Aqua Lung i100 is currently the best choice for beginners with prices starting at 159€ (about £145). It includes both Nitrox and Free diving modes which is quite rare for entry range dive computers. Another key budget-friendly feature is the fact that the diver can change himself the battery and avoid high maintenance costs each year. This dive computer is definitely the best Christmas gift for scuba divers this year!
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