I decided that I did not want to limit myself to just single tank dives with the Pelican kayak, so I also bought a 15 1/2 foot long Ocean Kaiak Trident Ultra 4.7 New Zealand model pictured here that has a higher weight capacity which will allow me to use it for multi-tank dives.
The weight capacity of the Trident Ultra 2 is 550 pounds so I will be well within that capacity on two tank dives using aluminum 80’s.
I also upgraded it by having the rudder system installed on the back of the kayak to give me more maneuverability in the water and make it easier in the currents of the open ocean. The Trident Ultra 4.7 is already setup for the addition of a transducer so I can add a sonar unit easily to the kayak to make finding dive spots easier.
I am also having additional anchor points added to the kayak to attach clips to for my equipment that I will hang over the side of the kayak when I am ready to enter the water.
Since this kayak is quite a bit heavier than my Pelican, I am also having a new kayak rack installed onto my Suburban that will assist me in loading and unloading it. I decided on the Thule Hullavator system which will make it a lot easier for me and keep me from denting or scratching the new paint job on my truck. The kayak should be ready by Wednesday for me to pick up and we will install the Hullavator rack system then.
The new kayak and rack system has cost me $3,000.00 so far, and I still have to get additional items to make it dive ready like a dive flag, current line, anchor, etc. Luckily all of the really expensive items are out of the way now.
This weekend I will be testing out the new kayak and getting used to it in shallower waters over near the Koko Craters dive sites that I dive frequently. I wont be diving from it yet, I need to get used the the handling of the new kayak first, so this weekend will be spent just cruising around the bay taking it for a “test drive”.
The rear tank well of the Trident 4.7 New Zealand model is the largest on the market giving me lots of rear deck room to secure my dive tanks and gear and the front hatch has plenty of room for my oxygen tank and other emergency equipment that I always take with my when diving.
Since the New Zealand model of the Trident 4.7 has a tank well that is so much larger than other kayaks I am able to lay two aluminum 80 cubic foot scuba tanks side by side instead of having to strap the second one on top of the bow hatch. There is still room behind the tanks for my 200′ current line and buoy.
I have been wanting to try something new that I have not had a chance to try yet, diving from a kayak. I have seen a couple people from a distance while onshore or onboard the dive boat that were diving from a kayak and I just met someone in a CPR class that I taught whose husband is really into kayak diving and is getting others involved in it.
I have a Pelican Castaway 116 DLX kayak like the one shown to the right that was designed for fishing that I bought a few years ago that has just been sitting in the garage collecting dust. I thought I would look more into kayak diving and what is needed in a kayak to see if mine would work for diving or if I would have to buy a new one. Mine has a large rear cargo deck with bungee tie-downs already installed, and a closed cargo well underneath the bow deck. There is also an additional dry storage area directly behind the seat back for smaller items that need to be kept dry.
After doing a lot of research on the subject online and talking to other people that dive from kayaks I was fortunate to find out that the kayak I have meets most of the diving “necessities” already in its factory form. I just needed to make a few minor additions like a mounting for a dive flag, some additional attachment points for equipment tethers, an anchor, current buoy with at least 200′ of line, etc.
Unfortunately this dark green kayak is not the most desirable color for kayak diving as bright colors are more desirable to make them more visible, but the design and layout of the kayak is workable for single-tank diving with room for one aluminum 80 onboard.
I have attached a 42″ flag pole to the bow of the kayak that can be laid down flat or removed when not needed that has both the standard red and white U.S. version of the dive flag attached to it as well as the blue and white international version since we have so many tourists from all over the world here in Hawaii. It also has a light on top that can be seen for 2 miles for better visibility for night diving.
Technically the red and white “Diver Down” version is for protection of the diver by requiring other vessels to stay 300′ away from the flag and the blue and white “Alpha” flag is for protection of the boat meaning to stay clear that it can not be maneuvered normally to get out of another vessels way to avoid a collision. Even though I am only required in Hawaii to fly the red and white version under state law, I choose to fly both of them for safety.
Over the next few weeks I will be making additional modifications and additions to it while I test it out and get used to using it as a dive platform. I will try to keep you up-to-date on what I find out, and my progress as I delve into a new adventure in the world of kayak diving.