Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Argonaut Kraken as a vacation Kauai!

One of my favorite things about the Argonaut Kraken is what geeks call its extensibility. This means that whatever you are referring to as extensible, typically software, was engineered with future expansion in mind. The Kraken definitely fits that bill, as it was engineered as a vintage style regulator that you can grow with and add things to such as a low pressure inflator hose, a pressure gauge, a drysuit hose, an octopus, etc. Having said that, as a travel regulator for warm waters, it excels in my opinion when it is in its most basic configuration.

My wife and I vacationed in Hawaii for a week. Everyone knows how airlines screw you at the drive through these days with costs, and baggage fees are no exception. For a one week vacation, diving with minimal gear, my wife and I managed to check only one full size bag with all our dive gear, shoes, and beach clothing. We then brought a carry on with our nicer clothes and hygiene items. Try that with two full sets of modern dive gear. Our checked bag was under 50 pounds as well, so we didn't get dinged again for it being heavy. Packing minimal scuba gear saves room for the few comfort things that you do want to bring. As an example, we were both diving high end (read heavy) technical diving computers, so it's not like we were cramming tables into our swimsuits or anything.

It's so simple to strip the Kraken down and make it a more minimal regulator. The last time I dove my Kraken, I was running a drysuit inflator hose, low pressure inflator hose for my BCD, and an alternate second stage. By stripping it down to just the regulator itself and an SPG, which takes all of five minutes with a wrench, I was sure that I could dive vintage style with rental tanks (pretty much no rental tanks come with a J valve anymore), but that I could also monitor my gas supply with a rental tank with a K valve (without a reserve built into it).

The venerable J valve. It's hard to find on rental tanks!

If you couple a minimal scuba regulator with minimal exposure protection in the form of just wearing a swim suit, then you can fit everything you are going to bring in one of those cheap Wal-Mart snorkeling mesh bags. That's actually what we did, and it was incredibly useful. It also allowed us to rinse our gear in the mesh bag at the end of the day, without taking everything out of it.This leaves more time for walking on the beach, telling obscene jokes around people you just met, and drinking more Mai Tais at Dukes.

Diving minimally during your warm water vacation makes life a lot easier. We managed to dive every day except the day before we took our airline home. Our dives were easy, our cleanup was minimal, and our hotel room was not covered in scuba crap. It gave us the time to enjoy a dive or two every day, but then have plenty of time for important things like hiking, coffee tasting, and rum distillery tours. By the way, if you haven't been to Kauai yet you are totally missing out! If you want to see how awesome the Argonaut Kraken works as a travel regulator, then check out our video at the bottom. I set the video to Cemetery Gates by Pantera. Diving usually has relaxing music as a soundtrack, but man we really stomped the guts out of this vacation and got a lot done during a week so we stayed pretty stoked. I think the fish picked up on our energy, but that could just be because I was mostly drunk. Check it out: