Underwater Torches 101 : Choosing the Right Kind of Light for your Dive

The Deeper you go, the darker it gets. That’s how it is in scuba diving. But even if you’re diving a shallow reef during the day, there might be instances wherein you’ll wish you had something handy to illuminate a dark patch or crevice during your dive.

An underwater torch (or dive light) is usually handy during these situations. During the last couple of years, underwater torches have undergone many developments that make them better compared to what was available in the past. Torches nowadays often, if not always, use LEDs for its bulbs. LED bulbs are brighter, last longer, and consume less power (giving you more time to use your underwater torch) compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Batteries for torches have also seen changes- remember when you had to run to the convenience store to buy a couple of alkaline batteries for your portable electric device, only to throw them away after a couple of hours of use, and buy a new set? Most underwater torches nowadays use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged and recharged hundreds of times.

With the number of models of torches available these days choosing one can be a bit overwhelming for some people, especially those who are looking to get one for the first time. So how do you determine if it’s the right torch for you? Ask yourself this important question first: How do you plan on using it? A compact torch won’t be of much use during a nighttime dive, while a high-power torch would be overkill during a daytime dive. Determining how your underwater torch will be used for most of its life will make it easier to choose between the different available models out there.

If you’re doing some technical diving, you’ll need a torch that’s durable and has a powerful and bright bulb, preferably with a narrow beam angle. For a mix of nighttime and daytime recreational diving, a less powerful torch with a wide beam angle will suffice. For daytime diving, a compact torch that you can easily put into your pocket will be perfect (and it also doubles as a nice, waterproof, everyday flashlight that you can drop in the pool without any worries).

Aquamundo Underwater Torches

Aquamundo has 4 different models of underwater torches which can cover most types of diving, from the recreational daytime dive in shallow reefs, to the more advanced night dives or exploration dives. All these torches use LED bulbs, powered by rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries, encased in light and sturdy aluminum bodies (polycarbonate for the LED-12). They have a depth rating of 100 meters (300 feet), and have been tested to its maximum depth rating in Anilao, Batangas, Philippines. For more information about the Aquamundo Underwater Torches, contact or visit the nearest Aquamundo Dive Shop near you.

Recommended Freediving Equipment

Long before scuba equipment were made, humans have been stepping out of their element and diving into the water by freediving. Ancient people dived without any mechanical apparatus for breathing to harvest food and valuable items. The earliest written record that mentioned the use of freediving could be found in Greece, where the ancient Greeks relied on freedivers to harvest natural sponge, as well as to sabotage enemy ships and dismantle underwater obstacles set up against the Greek navy.

Aquamundo Freediving

With the invention and development of the scuba equipment, freediving has transformed into a recreational activity and a sport, although there are still a number of people who freedive for commercial purposes. One of the main attractions of freediving is its simplicity, relying mainly on the freedivers own ability to hold their breath while diving until they resurface. But whether you’re freediving for recreation, sport, or your livelihood, having the equipment especially made for the job makes freediving more efficient and enjoyable.

Aquamundo Nero and Bianco Masks
With its low profile design, the Aquamundo Nero and Bianco masks are our recommendation for freedivers. Although different face shapes and sizes might mean another mask might have a better fit, starting with the Aquamundo Nero and Bianco masks is a good idea.

Aquamundo Low-Volume Masks

Lalum Long Blade Fins
Especially made for freedivers, the Lalum has long blades that make it more powerful than standard scuba fins, requiring less finning effort, and conserves your energy. These fins also come in 2 stiffness levels (flexible and medium) as well as smaller sizes, making it a good choice even for those who are just starting freediving. The Lalum Long Blade fins also come in two design: in plain black, and camouflage pattern.

Aquamundo Lalum Long-Blade Fins

Aquamundo Neoprene Socks
Aquamundo offers two kinds of neoprene socks that you can use with the Lalum fins; 3mm high-cut, and 5mm low-cut. Both socks are double-glued and blind-stitched, and ensure a comfortable fit, and the 5mm low-cut socks also have ankle strings to help secure it in place.

Aquamundo Neoprene Socks

Lalum Snorkel
Although optional, a snorkel will make freediving easier. It enables you to conserve your energy on the surface while keeping an eye for prey (in cases wherein you’re freediving to fish), or just looking in the water before you take a deep breath and dive. The Aquamundo Lalum snorkel is floatable, so it returns to the surface for easy retrieval in case you lose it during your dive. It’s also made with a soft mouthpiece to provide a comfortable bite, and lessen the chances of jaw fatigue.

Aquamundo Lalum Snorkel

To know more details and availability of Aquamundo’s freediving line of equipment, don’t hesitate to contact or visit the Aquamundo dive shop nearest you. We’ll be more than happy to assist you with your freediving equipment needs.

The Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch

With its experience in water sports, especially scuba diving, Aquamundo has produced many products for both local and foreign divers looking for tough, practical, and competitively-priced diving equipment. This year, Aquamundo will be expanding the range of products that it will be offering to its customers with the addition of the Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch.

Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch

Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch

The Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch was made to meet the stringent requirements of the diver. Rated to be waterproof up to 300 Meters (1,000 feet), this watch will go to great depths with you. Everything that makes it tick is enclosed in durable, marine-grade stainless steel to keep it highly resistant against corrosion from exposure to sea water. The expandable band and clasp is made of the same material. The timepiece’s face is covered with sapphire glass, making it resilient against scratches.

But even with its tough features, the Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch is at home on land as much as it is in the water. With its classic design, powered by reliable automatic movement, the Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch will always be ready to face the rigors of diving and accompany you in your everyday engagements.


  • 30ATM / 300 Meters (1,000 Feet) Professional waterproof technology
  • 316 Stainless steel casing, band, and clasp
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire glass crystal
  • Nh35A Automatic movement


  • Magnified date indicator at 3 o’clock position
  • Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Rotary Bezel

The Aquamundo Sport Dive Watch, now available from Aquamundo Sports. For more information, contact

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Side Mount Scuba Diving

“Side Mount” (sometimes written “sidemount”) is a scuba equipment configuration that has been steadily growing in popularity among divers in recent years. Instead of the usual configuration wherein your cylinder is propped behind your back, side mounts, as the name implies, place your cylinders to your sides.

A scuba diver using the side mount configuration

Side Mounts used to be confined among cave divers, but with recent advances in scuba technology and equipment materials, other types of divers have been adopting the side-mounted configuration as well, and there are some pretty good reasons for that.

  1. Better control
  2. An advantage to using a side-mounted configuration is improved streamlining. Cave divers used this advantage to gain access to areas with restrictions and proceed diving without much disturbance to their underwater environment. For other types of diving, such as open water diving, using side mounts can decrease drag and provide you with better buoyancy control and enhanced response with each kick, even with challenging currents.

  3. Improved safety and comfort
  4. Perhaps some of the main advantages to using a side mount configuration lie in the improvements to safety and comfort. With your cylinder to your side, you’ll have better visual and physical access to your cylinder valve and first stage regulator, which makes it easier to spot and solve trouble while you’re in the water. Being more visually aware of your cylinders and having them tucked in a more protected position underneath your arm, you also lessen the risk of damaging your valve and first-stage regulator while diving.

    Being in a side mount frees your back from the bulk of a traditionally mounted cylinder, which enables you to flex your spine and, in the case of smaller divers, move your head more freely. Your improved profile underwater also enables you to use your fins more efficiently by lessening drag, making you spend less energy to move around, and therefore consume less air.

    With side mounts, you also have the option to mount your cylinders while in the water, which is a relief if you find entering with a cylinder to your back cumbersome, or if you have a condition which makes it difficult to do so. But if you’re used to doing a back roll or giant stride for your entry, they’re still possible even if you’re on side mounts.

  5. A side mount provides you with room to grow and develop your diving skills
  6. When the itch for more advanced dives (such as wreck diving) bites you, rest assured that you already have a capable system with you. What’s left for you is to get the proper training and certification for the dive.

Aquamundo offers side mount certified divers the Aquamundo Side Mount System. Made of high-quality materials and featuring a flexible design, Aquamundo’s Side Mount System comes complete with everything you need in a side mount configuration. Aquamundo’s Side Mount System has been tried and tested by renowned Technical Diving instructor Andy Davis, and recommended for both recreational and technical divers alike.

Aquamundo Sidemount System

For more information about the Aquamundo Side Mount System, don’t hesitate to contact us at Aquamundo Sports.

Panglao Island Scuba Diving and the International Dive Fiesta

The International Dive Fiesta will be held in Panglao Island tomorrow and it’s going to be a big event where divers can check out the latest gear, talk with fellow dive enthusiasts, and watch or participate in special diving events. For those who haven’t been to the place yet, or plan on doing so in the future, here’s a primer on Panglao Island and why it figures prominently within local dive groups and communities.

Panglao Island is a small island located southwest of the island of Bohol. It has a population of more than 68,000 people, and most of them rely on tourism for their livelihood. The terrain is hilly, and one of its interesting geological features includes the Hinagdanan cave, a limestone cave which houses rock formations and a lagoon. Another prominent feature of Panglao are its beaches and dive sites. With white coral sand and clear blue waters, Panglao Island has been a favorite among divers and simple beach-goers alike.

Rich Marine Life
Panglao Island boasts of its diverse marine life, and it is no empty claim. In a study, more species of mollusks were found within a 15,000 hectare area of Panglao, compared to the 300 million hectares of study area in the Mediterranean. Due to the rich biodiversity of its marine life, it has attracted the attention of conservationists and recreational divers alike.

There are a number of beautiful dive sites within the area of Panglao Island. These include Napaling, Doljo Point, Kalipayan, the Habagat Wreck, and the Balicasag Dive Sites, to name a few. Panglao Island’s dive sites offer different kinds of diving experiences, with dive depth for the different dive sites ranging between 3 meters to 60 meters. A multitude of marine life can be spotted within these dive sites like lion fish, white tip sharks, moray eels, sea snakes, and a whole lot more, often with colorful corals as their backdrop.

International Dive Fiesta
Panglao, in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Tourism, will be hosting this year’s International Dive Fiesta. A lot of activities have been prepared for divers from all over the country and abroad, and Aquamundo will be a part of the festivities. Aquamundo will be holding a Technical Repair Seminar, and is inviting everyone to join. The International Dive Fiesta will be held at the Alona Central Parking Area, and will take place from June 12 – 15, 2014. See you there!

Aquamundo International Dive Fiesta Panglao

The Spartan III Gear Review

There are many different kinds of Buoyancy Control Devices (BCD). There are jacket type BCDs, back-inflated BCDs and backplate-harness type systems used for technical diving. Then there are the most often used and abused BCDs of all – the resort rental BCD.

Day in and day out these BCDs take the daily pounding of diving guests with varying degrees of proficiency, from student-diver to more advanced users. They have to be able to provide stability for a diverse number of body types. At the same time they have to be durable enough to last a long time under not-so-ideal conditions, like getting dragged through sand and rocks, over-inflation, scraping against corals, long exposure to the hot sun and being left without being rinsed for long periods of time.

I may have found the closest to an ideal in Aquamundo’s Spartan III BCD.

The first thing I noticed was that it was comfortable. It’s generously padded in the lower lumbar area and in the neck area, providing soft support to your neck and back (a feature more typically found in higher-end bcds). It is also blessed with a robust, easy to handle inflator / deflator mechanism that fits well in the hand – even with gloves on. It provides quick access for inflation or deflation, the wide oral inflation port makes it easy to manually inflate the bcd.

What truly sets this bcd apart are three key features:

2 levels of shoulder adjustment – In most jacket style bcds, you would find adjustable shoulder straps attached to a quick release buckle at one point. The Spartan III has two quick release attachment points at the shoulder for an even greater range of adjustability

making this bcd comfortable for different body types. For a resort owner, this means less worry about sizing differentials and not having enough bcds of the right size. For a dive professional conducting resort courses, there’s less worry about ill-fitting bcds that are either too large or too small.

Octopus hose loop pocket- I found this feature really neat – literally. It’s a custom-shaped pocket on the side of the bcd that holds a loop of the alternate air source hose that keeps it secure but allows instant access with one gentle pull. It beats trying to wrestle the hose out of a hose clip any day. Did I say hose clip? You’ll never lose one again, because you’ll never have to buy one again.

Console sleeve – Another reason you won’t need a hose clip. The gauges slide through this built in sleeve and emerges in front of the bcd just below chest level. All you have to do to check your air is look down. It prevents your gauges from dragging on coral too.

In case you’re wondering about durability, most resorts in the Philippines already use Aquamundo gear, and they have been for quite some time now. They know it can take years of abuse. I’m inclined to agree.

Gear Review – Ventec Fins

There are fin designs that come and go. And there are some that have stood the test of time. Some designs are simple, and some are novel. And then there are some designs that don’t change because there is no need to. The Aquamundo Ventec is one such design. Used by dive professionals and paramilitary organizations for decades, the vented fin design delivers forceful fin strokes that provide power to fight stiff currents but provides very little resistance on the return stroke, giving your muscles a slight rest each time. This makes it ideal for prolonged use with all manner of kicking styles. The all-rubber construction adds another dimension to the word “durable”. I’ve heard of these types of fins being passed on from father to son. How’s that for “timeless classic”? The one drawback with the old models, was its one concession to durability, it’s weight. The fins seemed to get heavier the longer you used it. Those were the older models using older materials. Technology is a wonderful thing. The new Ventec fins make use of a new mold injected, lightweight rubber compound that reduces its weight without sacrificing durability. Now you can enjoy all the benefits of this classic fin and continue this legacy of style and durability, in total comfort.

Gear Review – Wave Cutter Fins

When I first started scuba diving, the first pair of fins I ever bought was Aquamundo Wave Cutters. That was years ago. My instructor told me “These things are great! The V-pocket forms a channel that forces water on the blade!” I had no idea what that meant, but the fins looked good and I trusted my instructor (as a newly minted open water diver, those were the only things that mattered). As I gained more diving knowledge and experience, I started to understand what he meant. I grew accustomed to the Wave Cutter’s power combined with its easy kicking efficiency. The fin is constructed with a composite of high-impact ABS plastic and mold-injected rubber, giving it a combination of strength and flexibility. This is where the Wave Cutter draws its power.

Surrounded by ABS composite material is a V-shaped channel of flexible rubber that runs down the center of the blade. As force is applied, the channel bends, forming a scoop that pushes more water on the face of the fin blade. The more water the blade pushes, the faster you move through the water. Simple enough.

Through the years I’ve used other brands of fins. I always end up comparing them to my trusty Wave Cutters. Some models share the same configuration, having channels along the face of the blade, but results vary. Some are as comfortable but I don’t seem to feel myself moving as fast. Some models seem to give me as much power but they feel stiff and my calves end up cramping after a long swim against a current. I feel that the Wave Cutter is a well-balanced fin that is both comfortable and powerful when needed.

Gear Review Aroq 1 & 2 2nd Stage regulators

In scuba diving there are three things you must be able to do with ease and safety. These are: the ability to see, the ability to move properly, and most importantly, the ability to breathe. The easier you breathe, the more comfortable the dive, the less you have to worry about. It contributes to a better and safer diving experience. Which is the reason why I wanted to try out the Aquamundo Aroq series of 2nd stage regulators. What makes these 2nd stages different is that these are balanced 2nd stages. Balanced regulators usually refer to the 1st stage only (where direct tank pressure is reduced to intermediate pressure). The problem before with unbalanced regulators was they became harder to breathe from either with an increase in depth or with a decrease in tank pressure. Balanced 1st stages solved that and most regulators in the market today are either balanced diaphragm or piston type regulators that give an even flow of air even with low tank pressure.

The problem with most of these 1st stage regulators is that they are mated with unbalanced 2nd stages. Adjustable, yes, but they are still subject to variations in breathing resistance at deeper depths. This means more work inhaling air when it counts the most. The Airoq series 2nd stages are balanced to give the least amount of breathing resistance comparable to any 2nd stage in the market today. The Aroq 1 features a venturi-assisted airflow switch that gives the user control over the amount of air needed in any situation. In pre-dive mode, it prevents accidental free-flows that would spoil any dive. The Airoq 2 is blessed with an additional feature: A fine-tuned airflow adjustment knob for precise adjustment of the air you need.

Both 2nd stages can be mated to any Aquamundo balanced 1st stage regulator (namely models QR5 and above) turning it into a high-performance setup worthy of even the most demanding technical diver.

My first breath on the Aroq 1 was a pleasant surprise. It was one of the softest breathing regulators I have ever tried. It ranked right up there with regulators that cost almost double what you would pay for an Aroq 1. High-end performance at a reasonable price, that’s a combination that’s hard to beat. As I descended, I was expecting the usual breathing resistance when reaching depths greater than 100 feet. Another surprise was that I didn’t feel any. It breathed as soft and as easy as before. Fighting against a current, you expend a lot of energy. Consequently you use up more air than usual. The Airoq was up to the challenge. Even when inhaling hard, the Airoq was giving me all the air I needed without flutter or resistance. Coming back to the surface, one thing was on my mind “Gotta get me one of these!” and so I did. I was so happy with the performance; I put one on my back-up regulator as well (you know, the one you used to use but now lend out to almost anybody, or use when your current favorite’s in the shop).

A sneak preview by Jim Thompson

I have recently been lucky enough to get sent a prototype sidemount rig produced by Aquamundo. Here at Liquid all of our rental equipment available is from Aquamundo. The equipment stands up to the battering and bruising that Open Water students,through to trained dive masters can throw at it. As a bustling 5* PADI Dive Resort we recognise the need for tough, long lasting and high quality equipment.

I had only spoken to Adie Espino a month or two ago, but decided it might be time to bother her again and see if they were any closer to a release. Low and behold, Adie was kind enough to offer to ship me the prototype rig to have a play around with before the coming release. A few subtle hints to some colleagues here at Liquid and some envious faces around. I don‘t quite know how this was managed in a country dispersed with so much water (lucky us) but the package arrived in what felt like about 12 hours! Top stuff and top service again.

So, unpacking the box…..exciting stuff. Without giving much away I am happy to say Aquamundo have stuck to a nice simplistic design. For the avid technical diver this is perfect. Less things to go wrong in the system in the first place! Setting up the harness was quick and easy, but then I am an old hand at this a little now. With six Aquamundo backplate and wing rigs available for rental, you get used to adjusting for divers on a regular basis. Getting the bungee setup correctly was a little bit more tricky, and as it was the prototype, I didn‘t feel obliged to take off what was on and swap it out for my own. This is something that would take all of five minutes and a few piston clips to sort out, given I had my own Aquamundo Sidemount equipment.

The plate design is exactly what I like and something I have been looking forward to fora while. 2 small plates of lovely stainless steel holds the webbing and components together. It also means that getting trimmed out into a zen like horizontal position takes 2 easy steps…..deflate and swim! I have never felt so streamlined in the water and frog kicks moved me more efficiently than in backmounted doubles. Unfortunately I didn’t get opportunity to test the rig for a more technically challenging dive, so I can’t comment on how well it would handle stage or decompression cylinders. I am certainly looking forward to finding out when the model goes on sale.

A huge advantage I see to those travelling around a lot is the weight of the entire unit.The Aquamundo sidemount set up with a set of their Ventec fins would serve the most demanding of divers and travellers, without tipping the scales at airport check-in or breaking the bank.

I am very reluctant to give away too much information about the product itself until the final release, however I can assure you of the following:

  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Easier to dive
  • Lots of fun
  • Fantastic customer support

Engineered to be a simple design that does exactly what I need
I would just like to say a personal thank you again to Aquamundo Sports for this opportunity and fantastic customer service and product support. The Liquid Dumaguete dive team looks forward to a long established relationship and working with Aquamundo in the future! A second thanks goes to Dennis Grunwald and Sandra Vennix for their assistance and photography during these dives.