When you look back in your logbook and see thousands of recorded dives, you may think to yourself ‘What more could I possibly learn about diving?’. The answer to that is pretty simple, as throughout our entire diving career we always have room to learn. Sometimes we learn new diving skills, sometimes we learn about new equipment, or even an entirely new concept of diving.
Mares XR is not just about new products, but an entirely different approach to diving. To get to the heart of the matter, there’s no better place in our area than the Kron Diving Center, Croatia, where we were lead through this subject by SSI Instructor Andreas Kron. Diving all over the world, we have had the opportunity to try various top-quality diving centers, but Kron Diving Center left an impression as one of the best centers in this part of the world, for both recreational and tech diving.
The island of Rab is pretty quiet at this time of the year, because there are mainly just its residents. These were the ideal conditions for us, because we could peacefully devote ourselves to the XR equipment, even going into the smallest of details.
We used the first day to prepare our diving configuration. There was a lot of equipment, still unpacked, which needed to be prepared for use. Joyous work which required our full concentration.
Andreas Kron’s precision to detail demonstrated itself to its full extent while properly adjusting the plate straps, setting up the wings, assembling the regulators, arranging the karabiners and the double-enders. We also figured out that the buoys, spools and knots needed were a whole story of their own. Configuring the stage tanks was also very specific, with an emphasis on setting up the pressure gauges and regulators.
Underwater illumination is an important part of the XR configuration, and we had the opportunity to use the newest DCTV and DCTS canister lamps, which, of course, needed to be assembled properly on the equipment and prepared for diving. With all these ‘diving toys’ the day went by pretty fast, and the dives themselves took their turn.
At the Kron Diving Center, rib boats of 7.5m in length are used for diving. They are powered by mighty Honda engines and we had the pleasure of using the beasts two times. We properly packed our XR sets in the central equipment holders to enjoy the ride if, by enjoying the ride, you mean zooming across the sea in February, at 50mph.
There are numerous diving locations in these waters, among which the most attractive ones are Prvić, Lun and Sika Tanki for recreational diving, and as for tech and rebreather diving there are beautiful wrecks at acceptable depths.
During our stay, the locations themselves were not in the spotlight, as we were focused more on using the Extended Range configuration. Proper trim, movement technique and procedures in case of emergency were in the spotlight. Water temperature was, as per usual, 11°C, so we could dive comfortably for a long time with the help of Mares' XR1 dry suits. What’s interesting is that, even with all the technical configuration, while underwater, a diver feels weightless and free, thanks to the already mentioned XR1 dry suits and excellently designed plate with wings. With the 25XR–DR and VR second stage regulators, diving was a pleasure with maximum security.
All in all, when we look back on the time spent in Rab, we can conclude that we expanded our knowledge of diving and had the pleasure of using state-of-the-art XR equipment. This is definitely a huge step forward, and we’ll be able to use our new skills soon when we go under the ice at Weissensee Lake in Austria.
Stay tuned on our MARES blog!
Text by Janez Kranjc