What do you call someone who always wears a mask? Two-faced or a fervent diver!
Here in Las Galeras, we were recently presented with two brand new masks that a client had left in the sun with the resultant crinkled skirt. A sun damaged mask will flood every time you use it and most people would throw a damaged mask away and buy a new one BUT belay that process.
We looked at these and thought “Hmmmmmmm, wonder if” so we tried a little experiment and it worked!!
‘What did you do?’ we hear you ask. Simple, we put them on a small air bottle, arranged the skirt so that the creases were laid flat and left them alone for a couple of weeks.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that it seemed to have worked so thought we should try them in the water but a snorkel trip would be too easy so off we went to dive them.
At 20 meters they still didn’t let a drop of water in so this was a great success story.
However, although this worked with these masks, there is no guarantee that it will work every time so you really should learn to care for your mask.
Let’s start from the beginning when you bring your shiny new mask back from the dive shop.
There is a good reason why the lenses are so shiny and that is because they are covered, inside and out, with silicone to protect them from scratches. A new mask will fog, no matter how much spittle or posh anti fog spray you use, unless you get rid of the silicone from the inside lens. There are many schools of thought on the best way to do this but our favourite is to burn it off! Naturally, this must be done with care. We use the low flame of cigarette lighter. With the tip of the flame just below the surface of the lens, move the lighter slowly back and forth, taking care not to touch the mask skirt. You will quickly see, like magic, a film of black soot appear on the lens. This is the residue of the burnt off silicone. Take a tissue or piece of kitchen roll and wipe it off. Repeat this procedure once more and your mask should then be good to go!
Many people use anti fog spray but we prefer spittle – it’s free and always available – whichever you choose will not be effective if you apply to a wet mask. Seconds before you enter the water is when you should apply, rinse in the sea and then put your mask on.
After diving or snorkeling, rinse you mask in sweet water, no we don’t mean sugary water, just plain fresh water; shake off the excess and leave to dry naturally away from sunlight. If you dry your mask in direct sunlight please read paragraph one.