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Buying a scuba diving mask is something I would not trust to the internet as you really do need to try the mask on as everyone has different shaped faces and so not all masks are suitable for everyone and my head is, while I think as being normal, others would say I have petite features and that is why I bought this mask from a dive shop in Milton Keynes for when we went to Egypt to have a holiday and take the basic PADI course as well as doing some snorkelling. I'm glad I did as the advice we got was excellent and with the correct advice the end decision was narrowed down to only two sets that fit my face and the X Vision was the best of the lot. It is specifically designed for my kind of face structure and has proven to be a reliable fit that forms a perfect seal around my eyes and nose. The other good news was that it was the cheaper of the two retailing at £35. It comes in a number of colours however the shop only stocked black or blue so I opted for the latter as fortunately that was also the colour of my fins.
It is suplied with a plastic case to stop it getting scratched when not in use and this has a secure clip on it. For those who wear glasses you can have a prescription lens fitted to replace the angled lenses that come supplied however there is an additional cost to have this done.
I found this mask to be so comfortable to wear whether under water at 15m depth or at the surface snorkelling, it forms a tight but comfortable seal and while there is a mark where the mask has been after diving it soon fades and as long as you keep the straps adjusted comfortably then there are no issues with it.
In my training I found it really easy to clear water when it flooded, this is one of the skiils you practice however I have never had to do this exercise for real when not in a training environment. The range of vision is excellent with the angled lenses giving a much wider range of vision than a standard mask. The silicane rim is secure and very comfortable as well. There are buckles on teh straps that are easy to adjust when putting the mask on and it is also very easy to remove once out of the water.
Overall this is a great mask both for scuba diving or snorkelling and I wouldcertainly recommend it.
I was first taken snorkelling years ago with my dad when we went to the Caribbean, possibly one of the best places for snorkelling. It was several years before I decided to take the plunge and try it again. This might have been due to the choice of holidays destinations. Recent trips to Cyprus have proved more fruitful for snorkelling, thanks to the warmer waters and tropical fish.
A Mare mask can be bought for around thirty pounds, but I had borrowed my dad's one and I believe he got his a bit cheaper than this. So why is this any better than a mask that you might find in a beach shop for twelve euros? Well the mask is very high quality for starters. The materials used are a lot more hardy than the ones you get from beach stores, which tend to snap or crack within a week or so.
The mask is fitting with crystal clear goggles that allow almost perfect underwater vision. This also means steaming up is reduced and you do not have to keep spitting into them and warming them. The fit of the mask is skin tight, meaning water cannot get in. This makes it ideal for either surface scouting or dipping down a bit further. With cheaper masks, the water pressure often forces water into the nose piece, then you have to come back up and readjust the mask. This holds steadfast and allows longer periods of snorkelling.
The strap is fully adjustable for comfort and the goggles allow vision from most angles which is great for keeping your wits about you when you snorkel. Coupled with a stylish look and a lightweight feel, they are a nifty accessory for a beach holiday and much better than the cheaper masks I have tried before.
Once I achieved my Open Water Certificate I stopped diving, I put this down to living in a country with a relatively uncomfortable climate for diving, although UK waters can be surprisingly clear and interesting. I'm sure that if I ever found myself living somewhere exotic with easy access to a dive boat I would get back into it, but until that dream comes true I have been using some of my diving gear for snorkelling, both on holiday and at home. This review is for a Mares Diving Mask, but as I have used it primarily for snorkelling recently, that is the use I will be reviewing this mask for.
Mares is a company that designs and produces a range of equipment for SCUBA diving, freediving and snorkelling. The founder, Ludovico Mares, established the company in 1949 with the production of his first masks and spearguns. The Italian based company is now a well known diving brand which frequently wins awards for its' innovative and technologically advanced designs. The Mares slogan is "Just add water".
The Mares X-Vision Mid mask is available from various diving shops and online from £32.00. It is available in a variety of colours, black, clear, red, yellow or blue, so you can co-ordinate your gear, if you are so inclined! The mask is supplied in a rigid plastic protective case, with a clip on the lid that closes the case securely. I have continued to store my mask in this case, and I find it really useful for protecting my mask when travelling. The case also contains a small leaflet with instructions on the care of the mask.
One of the most important considerations when buying a mask is the fit. I used this mask when I entered the World Bog Snorkelling Championships, and believe me when snorkelling through a trench filled with stagnant bog water I wanted to be totally confident that my mask wouldn't allow any stinky water or bog-dwelling nasties in! There is a simple test to find out whether a mask fits. Simply hold the mask up to your face, without putting the strap around your head, and breathe in through your nose, whilst breathing in look straight ahead, and if there is a sufficiently strong seal around the mask it will not fall off. It is worthwhile visiting a diving shop and trying several masks, as they are all designed for different face shapes, even if you ultimately decide to purchase one online where they can sometimes be found cheaper. The Mares X-Vision mid mask is a slightly smaller version of the original Mares X-Vision, it is designed for smaller, narrower faces, which makes it ideal for women. It is also a very lightweight mask, at only 190g, which increases its' comfort factor.
The lenses in this mask are made from tempered glass. They are angled to provide the widest possible field of vision, however some people may prefer a single lens, or lenses which also include side windows to further increase peripheral vision. I went for this design because it has a lower internal volume, meaning that if I had to clear my mask when diving there was less water trapped inside to expel. The glass can be replaced with corrective optical lenses, for short-sighted people these corrective lenses are available for prescriptions from -1 to -7, and for long sighted people they are available between +1.5 to +3.
The skirt of the mask is the soft part which covers the wearers' nose and runs around the outside of the mask, sealing it securely to the wearers face. The Mares X-Vision was the first mask to be produced using their innovative Liquid-Skin technology. Liquid-Skin was created by combining two types of silicone, a firmer compound to provide structure and support to the skirt, and a softer compound to make the skirt more comfortable when in contact with the face. Mares claim this makes the mask 45% softer and 270% more elastic than standard masks. I can't comment on how accurate these percentages are, but I certainly find this mask very comfortable to wear. I also find that although it fits securely and snugly, without allowing any water to seep in through the skirt, I don't have a red mark around my face when I remove this mask, even after wearing it for extended periods of time.
The final part of the mask is the strap; this is made of a stretchy silicone polymer, and sits snugly around the head, with adjustable buckles attached to the skirt. This means that when tightening the buckles, the skirt around whole perimeter of the mask is pulled closer, rather than just pressing the rigid frame into the face. This is great for me because I found increased pressure from the frame could cause me to experience headaches with other masks. I find the adjustable buckles are relatively easy to use; however I think they would be considerably more difficult with gloves on but this is true of any activity. I have mine adjusted to fit me perfectly, and because there is a great deal of stretch in the strap I don't need to loosen it to remove the mask, it just remains as I have adjusted it, and I stretch the strap to put it on and off with no need for further adjustment.
I was fortunate to be able to try several masks with the diving club I joined when I was learning, and to have a really helpful diving shop nearby, where they were patient enough to allow me to try their whole range. Despite trying numerous masks I eventually bought this one because it felt comfortable from the first moment I put it on. Since then it has proved to be reliable, functional and secure. Although I no longer dive, I love having it for my occasional snorkelling expeditions, and as it stood up well to even the extreme conditions of bog snorkelling, I would have no hesitation in recommending this mask.