Thermal Protection Under the Ice

By | Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, Women Underwater | No Comments
The Santi Ladies First Suit


lf_drysuitReliable drysuits are critical for survival in cold water. Without proper exposure protection, one could expect to survive for less than 45 minutes in water near freezing. In less than 15 minutes, unconsciousness would be likely.


Santi Diving has outfitted the Sedna team with the first drysuits ever designed specifically for women. These “Ladies First” suits have many special features. The crotch has been recut and reinforcement for better leg motion and comfort. But beyond custom tailoring the suit offers many unique features. It has been redesigned from their unisex line with a right shoulder to left hip zipper. This permits better placement of the left shoulder dump, especially in small women. The zipper is a TIZIP Masterseal design that is flexible and therefore comfortable. The ripstop nylon fabric also allows for stretch and easy movement. As with all Santi suits, they have not cut any of the features made for serious divers. Larger gusseted leg pockets are easy to reach and the right pocket has an extra zipped small pocket for quick access items.


The Santi Ladies First drysuit is produced from lightweight Ripstop nylon fabric especially designed for Santi to achieve the best possible stretch. It is light and soft but at the same time very durable and flexible, which is exactly what any diver needs. The cold water hood is made with supple stretchy neoprene. Recognizing that women’s head to neck ratio is great than a man’s, they added an expansion zipper in the back of the hood. Now it can be easily donned without tearing hair and then zipped for perfect fit.


lf_undersuitOur exposure protection is a full package. Each woman will wear a custom engineered and fitted undersuit made of Thinsulate. The garment also has a net layer, which makes the undersuit even more durable and practically indestructible. The lining is made of soft 190 gram micropolar insulation and the outside layer is constructed of polyamide additionally reinforced with polyester fabric in the most vulnerable areas. A layer of Merino wool next to the skin will add to comfort and warmth.

In between the Merino and the undersuit, swimmers will wear an electrically heated vest which covers the torso and is connected to electrically heated dry gloves. Cinematographers who are likely to experience longer exposure times will wear a heated full undersuit. Dry gloves dock to rings on the wrist to keep the heated gloves from getting wet and a double layer ice hood will keep heads warm. The only exposed flesh will be around the swimmers mouth.


HeatingPackageThe wiring for the heated undergarments is ported through the dry suit inflation valve, which has been replaced with a dual-purpose thermal valve. An E/O connector hanging from the chest plugs into a lithium ion battery pack provided by Halcyon for the project. These specially designed battery packs are intended to provide up to two hours warmth. Electric undergarments demand high-amperage and therefore high capacity lithium batteries are the best choice. The pack will be mounted on the diver’s harness.


The entire package should allow each woman to remain submerged in water that would be categorized as deathly cold. Close to icebergs and floes, we expect temperatures as low as 28°F/ -1.8°C. One tenth of a degree colder and the entire ocean would be solid!


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By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, Women Underwater | No Comments

RosecastleJelly5066lI was diving on the wreck of the Rosecastle this morning with Cas Dobbin and used my new Santi heated gloves for the first time. It was glorious. I can’t imagine how I worked without them. We had an hour on the wreck which sites in 150 feet of water. The temperature is 1°C on the bottom and I was comfortable for the duration of the dive.

The under gloves are great insulators even without the heat. They sit inside my Kubi dry gloves and mate to the suit with a metal ring that is sealed with an O-ring. A small wire runs from the chest area where it connects with the thermo-valve on the suit. The wire divides and runs down the arms inside the undergarment. The wiring snaps into the connector on the back of insulator glove. The Halcyon battery pack that powers the gloves and other heating accessories can be easily worn on the hip like a primary light pack or in my case across the back of my sidemount rig. It connects externally to the thermo-valve with an E/O connector.

The addition of heated gloves makes operating my camera so much easier. Normally my fingers stop working at some point on a cold dive.


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Ladies First for Sedna

By | All Posts, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Women Underwater | No Comments

SantiLadiesFirstThe mailman just arrived with my box of goodies for the Sedna Expedition in the Arctic. The Ladies First suit totally exceeded my expectations. I was so excited I couldn’t even wait for my husband to get home to take a photo! I’ll prepare some videos and pics to show you how the heating system works, but if you are thinking of getting a new suit, this is it! I’ll get it wet tomorrow!!




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