What to pack, what not to pack

I’ve just finished packing for an underwater photography dive trip.  In a few hours I’ll be heading off to Bali and Komodo in Indonesia.  Can’t wait for some manta action in Komodo!

Packing is always hard work.  What do you take, what do you leave behind, how can you fit in everything on tight weight restrictions?

For this trip, I’ve added extra luggage allowance which should make things a bit easier but it’s still a mission sorting through all the gear and deciding what makes the final cut into the bag.

The first thing I do is pull out all my dive gear and lay it all out.  This includes wetsuit, hooded vest, gloves, socks, booties, fins, mask, BCD, regs, computer, poker stick, and for this trip, my reef hook and safety sausage.  I prefer to take my full kit of dive gear, after all, it’s mine and I know how it’s been treated and serviced and it fits me.

Next comes the camera gear – camera body, lenses, housing, strobes, arms, clamps, sync cords, focus light, chargers, spare batteries, snoot, cleaning gear, diopters, plenty of spare o-rings and grease, the list seems endless.  But when you are travelling to a remote location with the sole purpose of taking photos, you need to be prepared for everything.  I like to take everything I need and then some, I don’t want to be stuck without a camera because I’ve left behind a small piece of gear.

Lastly is the clothes and toiletries.  I try to pack just the essentials – bathers, underwear, shorts, t-shirts, dress, long pants, light jumper, hat, sleepwear plus shampoo, conditioner, tooth brush and paste, moisturiser.  Clothes do come in handy when packing as they can protect more fragile items in your checked-in bag.  And there are some medical supplies I always bring too including seasickness tablets, Aquaear solution, headache tablets, mozzie repellant, bandaids.  I’ve also snuck in some colouring books and crayons for the local kids.

And of course there are the essentials which pretty much get packed into a pencil case – passport, money, credit cards, DAN insurance card, pen, airline itineraries, sunglasses, lip balm.

I’ve made sure I’ve bought the lightest possible cases, only weighing a couple of kilos each.  You can lose a significant part of your weight allowance just in your bag!

Now, fingers crossed it all arrives in one piece.  See you in a couple of weeks!

This manta ray was in Coral Bay a few years ago, hoping to meet some of his Indonesian relatives.


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