Diving with a propeller - Seadoo Supercharged Scooter
My first opportunity to use the Seadoo Supercharged Seascooter was recently on a dive in the Tweed River, northern NSW. Visibility was quite good (15m) and water temperature was warm (24 degrees). Our plan was to head over to a wreck in the middle of the river, which can require a bit of a swim across the current, so the motorised assistance was a temptation for a lazy sod like me. The weight of the Seadoo Supercharged was reasonable to carry into the water, and the operational functions uncomplicated.
Having descended, we started it up. I was surprised by the forward surge of the scooter and did feel a need to hold on with both hands to retain control. It is also necessary to keep the ignition switch depressed, which is a good thing, yet does add to a fair amount of handgrip required. There are 3 speeds: go, go-a-bit, and go-some more!! To step through the speeds simply depress the left and right hand levers simultaneously. Remove presserure on the right hand lever to stop the engine. Easy, quick and she didn't falter.
If you recall your first ride on a motorcycle as a thrilling and freeing feeling, then you'll enjoy this little toy. The sense of automation that comes with the experience of diving with a scooter is pretty neat. I loved the ability to move around the water more quickly than on a drift dive even if it did take a few minutes to become acclimatised. This contrasted with the fact that each time I cut the engine - to check depth or pressure gauge, I did realise that one thing I love about diving is the silence that usually comes with being underwater.
However, we had borrowed the Seadoo Supercharged to get us across the river and it served an excellent purpose. A previous visit to this wreck was a fight with the current that I didn't enjoy. This time at the wreck we had good visibility and took the chance to check it out in greater detail than on that previous visit when we had to hold on with one hand, or fin constantly to remain in one spot. I didn't put any weight in the nose of the Seadoo Supercharged , which presented a quandary when I wanted to turn it off for a few minutes and swim slowly around the wreck. Also we didn't have a lanyard to attach us to these toys, which is something I would recommend. Thus, I needed to swim with the Seadoo Supercharged placed crossways under me, to compensate for the positive buoyancy and to keep it nearby. The ride back to shore was a hoot. The Seadoo Supercharged easily kept pace with the bigger Explorer that my buddy was using, and by this time I had settled into using it. When the scooter was turned on, little fining was required, thus saving effort and gas.
The second opportunity to use the Seadoo Supercharged came a few days later when the plan was to scout for a survey site in Cape Byron Marine Park and conditions presented rolling swell and current. Using the scooters was totally the right move for the purpose of this dive especially in the presenting conditions. We were easily swept in the direction of the current while scouting around - no worries! When it was time to return to the entry point however, uh oh! I was stationary on some occasions as the Seadoo Supercharged Seascooter buzzed away in the face of the ocean. However, with some fining I gradually moved forward. This time we installed some weight in the nose and were attached to the Seadoo Supercharged by a lanyard. With weight in the nose, and the lanyard, it was never far away under the surface when I switched it off.
It is a compact size and didn't hinder the already limited space on the dive
boat. The Seadoo Supercharged was reliable, starting every time. It was not
too bulky nor heavy and manageable when combined with a divers other underwater
tasks. I'd recommend the scooter if you want an inexpensive and quick mode of
transport to a site, or if you need to look around a site generally.
* Read a review on the comparison between the Seadoo VS Supercharded and the Seadoo Explorer.