…Oh, didn’t I tell you I’m a window cleaner as well as a scuba diving instructor?!
Ok, not a traditional window cleaner. I specialise in underwater windows! Seeing as we’re in and out of lockdown at the minute, I’m jumping on any opportunity to get wet because you never know when we’re going to be stopped from diving so when I was asked to volunteer to clean the windows at our local aquarium, I bit their hand off!!
There’s two big exhibits at Tynemouth Aquarium – Seal Cove (an outdoor enclosure for the resident grey seals) and Aztec Ocean (a big tropical tank with a walk through tunnel). They’re too big to clean with brushes from the surface or those neat little magnetic slider things, so the only way to keep on top of the housework is for divers to jump in! Our job is to clean the algae build up on the glass and re-lay the gravel beds after the stingrays have been having a good root around.
The funny thing is that even if there was nothing living in the tanks, I still enjoy doing this kind of thing… I’ve cleaned big swimming pools before, and of course I have to keep on top of the cleaning in our own training tank at Honest HQ. The fact that these exhibits are full of marine life that I absolutely love makes the job even better! It’s like I’m getting my little fix of seals and tropical fish that I’m missing so much right now.
Fourth Element sent us their brand new Xenos 7mm suit to try out, so I took it with me on my latest window cleaning round.
The brand new fourth element xenos 7MM wetsuit
The Xenos range has been around for a while now. It’s designed to be a quick transition suit – meaning that its super fast to get on and off. This has made it a perfect wetsuit to take on liveaboard trips – it dries quickly on your surface interval and you don’t need to spend ages shoehorning yourself into it (when that 5am wake up call goes off for the first dive of the day, I’m in no mood to struggle with a suit!).
Fourth Element took inspiration from triathlon suits for easy donning and doffing and it features cut away ankles (to make it easier to push your plates of meat through) and smooth linings in the arms and legs so it just glides on.
The 3mm and 5mm versions have been super popular with divers heading to tropical waters, and it’s so cool that they’ve brought out a 7mm version for cold water divers.
The honest truth
They were right about it being easy to put on! When I was kitting up, it took no time at all! I normally use my Proteus II suit when I come to the aquarium, which is a mint suit especially now that I’ve worn it in a bit, but if I think back to when it was brand new, trying to get my feet in and pull the suit up my legs took a bit of time. Not with the Xenos, it was dead easy – even with this brand new one!
With fast transition suits, there’s usually a compromise between speed and flushing. Because the ankle, wrist and neck seals are designed in such a way to make them stretchy and flexible for easy suit ups. this usually means that you’re going to get cold water flushing in the suit when you’re diving. As I stood on the edge of Seal Cove, I was bracing myself for the cold water rushing down my back! But when I jumped in, you know what… it didn’t happen! I was pleasantly surprised! It seems that the neoprene they’ve used makes the suit fit so well, it’s totally minimised any flush. That was a big relief seeing as the water temperature in there was about 9 degrees celsius!
As I got to work, I was toasty warm. I was in there for about half an hour or so and felt great! I forgot how much those little guys smell though… but it was nice to get in some good old North Sea water, even if it is pumped into the tank.
FIND OUT MORE
You can get your hands on this awesome suit in the shop and if you’d like to chat to find out if this suit is perfect for you, let’s set up a video call!