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Gear Reviews

Tried & Tested: Typhoon International’s Totland Dog Vest



Typhoon say about their pet flotation aid: “Our Totland Dog Vest is bound to be a hit with canine crew members whose safety is just as important as that of the rest of the family.  The Totland Dog Vest offers the all-important buoyancy in an easy-to-spot bright orange tough coated nylon. 

It is easy to buckle up and has a handy haul out handle and lead loop attachment point, making it easy to help your dog on and off the boat.”

Test Conditions

  • Location: Trefor, UK
  • Temperature: 20 degrees C
  • No of Swims: 4
  • Equipment Used: Gucci the Golden Retriever
  • Test Equipment: Typhoon Totland Dog Vest
  • RRP: £20.95


The Totland Dog Vest is available in four sizes, and having consulted the size chart we went for the XL to fit our big Golden Retriever, Gucci. He is a good swimmer, so for a day at the beach does not need an aid to help him stay afloat whilst chasing his favourite ball, but if we were taking him on a boat we would certainly be using one.

The vest was easy to fit and the neck fitting was padded and looked really comfortable. Gucci certainly put up no complaints at wearing it and was happy to charge up and down the beach with it on. It did not impede his movement (both running and swimming) at all. The handle is really useful for close control, as well as being essential if we were to have to assist him back onto a boat or river bank. There is an attachment for a lead too, so for those who are training their dogs to swim or worry about their recall, a long lead can be attached to let them swim and have fun and still be able to get them back!

The bright orange colour is great to being able to keep track of your dog if they swim further away from you than you would like too. The float kept Gucci nice and high in the water and he was keen to try it out over and over again! It is a tough vest with secure clips giving you confidence that your best buddy would be safe if caught out in a current. We will certainly be using this to give our nervous puppy some confidence as he ventures into the water in the future.

Visit to see the full range and to find details of your nearest stockist.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit

Gear Reviews

GEAR REVIEW – Revolutionising Diving Comfort: The Sharkskin T2 Chillproof Suit




In a review written exclusively for, diver and blogger Katy Woodroffe from Katy Jane Dives takes a look at the T2 Chillproof Suit from Sharkskin.

Sharkskin wetsuits attract a lot of attention in online forums, with some divers swearing by them whilst others just can’t understand how a suit so thin and lightweight can provide the warmth they require. I too had my doubts, but I was able to put this suit to the test in one of the most challenging open water environments we know.

Embarking on an adventure in the Galapagos, I found the Sharkskin T2 Chillproof Suit to be an incredible ally. Designed to offer warmth, UV protection, and defense against the many marine stingers, this suit surpassed my initial reservations, providing a level of thermal insulation I did not expect and durability amidst the archipelago’s rugged underwater landscapes. Its lightweight, easy-to-wear design clearly sets it apart from traditional wetsuits, proving essential for divers prioritising comfort and efficiency.

Exceptional Performance in Varied Conditions

The suit’s performance was thoroughly tested in the Galapagos’ unpredictable waters. Despite its seemingly thin material, it offered extraordinary warmth and flexibility. The inclusion of Titanium Far Infrared (FIR) nano-technology within the fabric reflected my body’s heat, enveloping me in a warm embrace that countered the cold without adding bulk. This level of tech came in handy when we hit the common thermoclines, with my dive computer recording a drop of several degrees in water temperature. This, combined with the suit’s ease of use and quick-drying capabilities, in my opinion marks a significant advancement in dive gear.

However, the perception of warmth in the Sharkskin T2 Chillproof Suit can indeed vary among individuals. Divers accustomed to cooler waters may find the suit exceptionally warm and sufficient for their needs, due to their higher tolerance and acclimatisation to the cold. This aspect underscores the importance of considering personal resilience to cold and usual diving conditions when evaluating the suit’s effectiveness in providing thermal protection.


Durability Meets Innovation

Diving the volcanic underwater landscape of the Galapagos, the Sharkskin T2 Chillproof Suit proved its resilience. Engineered for both warmth and resistance to abrasion, it stands as a testament to high-quality construction and thoughtful design. I also tried out the optional accessories, including the hood and socks, which I felt complemented the suit well, and offered enhanced thermal protection and convenience.

The feature I enjoyed most about this suit was its neutral buoyancy, significantly lightening my load underwater. I found myself needing almost half the weight I typically would with a neoprene suit, making me feel incredibly free and unburdened.

It was a dream to travel with, folding up really small and didn’t take up much room in my dive bag.  It was also super easy to get on and take off, even when wet, compared to your standard neoprene wetsuits (we’ve all been there), particularly when I used the socks with it too.

I also appreciate how Sharkskin has produced two styles, one for males and the other for females. The female fit was flattering, and it’s clear that the design team have worked hard to achieve this, all adding to the overall comfort of the suit.

A Worthwhile Investment

The suit is certainly priced in the premium segment, but I think it does justify its cost through the unique advanced features and excellent comfort. Its innovative features, such as the chest zip design and FIR technology, provide divers with a unique blend of warmth, flexibility, and ease of movement.  

My personal journey from skepticism to trust in the Sharkskin suit has affirmed its value, making it a highly recommended choice for divers seeking excellent performance in diverse diving conditions.

Find out more about the T2 Chillproof Suit and other Sharkskin products at

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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Bigblue VTL2900PB Dive Torch: A Compact Powerhouse for Underwater Exploration




In a review written exclusively for, diver and blogger Katy Woodroffe from Katy Jane Dives takes a look at the VTL2900PB dive torch from Bigblue.

Bigblue Dive Lights has established itself as a leading manufacturer of dive lights, known for its innovative approach to underwater illumination. With a focus on creating durable, high-quality lighting solutions for divers of all levels, Bigblue combines advanced technology with user-friendly design.

Their product range, from compact torches to powerful video lights, caters to a wide spectrum of diving activities, ensuring safety and enhancing the underwater experience. The brand’s commitment to sustainability, seen in their rechargeable battery options, reflects a dedication to eco-friendly practices in the diving community.

First Impressions and Build Quality

Unboxing the sleek and compact Bigblue VTL2900PB immediately hints at its potential as a top-tier dive torch. It arrived with a comprehensive set of accessories including a Goodman glove, rechargeable battery, and charger, highlighting Bigblue’s attention to detail. While the inclusion of a dry bag is appreciated, a hard protective case might have offered better protection for this bit of gear which does come with a premium price tag.


Performance and Versatility

I tested this torch in various conditions whilst diving in the Galapagos Islands and was impressed with it’s power and range of lighting, all easily accessible at the push of a button.

Underwater, the VTL2900PB’s performance shines—literally. With a brightness of 2900 lumens across a wide beam and a 1000 lumens narrow beam, visibility in murky, or plankton filled waters like those around the Galapagos Archipelago, becomes a non-issue.

Its user-friendly interface, which allows divers to swiftly toggle between modes even with gloves on, enhances the underwater experience. I found the light’s beam distance and colour rendition to be excellent. The colour temperature sits at 6500k, or a “cool white” which does a good job at delivering a true display of colours, providing vivid visuals for photography and navigation.

Its versatility extends from illuminating vast underwater landscapes for photography to subtle communication with my dive buddies through its red light mode. I found this mode particularly useful when looking into small spaces within the rocks and coral, with the hope to not make anything stir and swim for cover.

Durably built from high-quality anodised aluminium alloy, and depth tested to 100 metres, the torch is both lightweight for travel and robust enough to withstand the underwater elements. I was quite confident that this torch would hold its own on the dive platform of a liveaboard boat without me having to worry about it too much.

big blue

Sustainable Power

Powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery, the VTL2900PB offers up to 1.5 hours of light on its highest setting—perfect for multiple dives. This eco-friendly approach not only ensures prolonged adventures under the sea but also aligns with sustainable diving practices.

Pricing and Value

Priced at £415, the Bigblue VTL2900PB stands out in the competitive dive torch market by offering exceptional value. Its performance, durability, and included features such as a red light and blue light for fluoro diving, make it a wise investment for divers at all levels, particularly those with an interest in photography and videography. Despite the absence of a hard case, its overall quality and functionality make it an indispensable tool for any dive.

Concluding Thoughts

The Bigblue VTL2900PB torch is a reliable, versatile companion for divers, offering a blend of powerful illumination and user-friendly features.

Its construction, long-lasting battery, and thoughtful design are evidently well researched and underscore Bigblue’s commitment to enhancing divers’ underwater experiences. For those looking to capture the undersea world in all its glory or navigate the depths with confidence, the VTL2900PB is a standout choice that promises not to disappoint.

Bigblue have been in the dive light game for years, and without a doubt, will be here for many more years to come.

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