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Unveiling the Fog: A Diver's Ultimate Guide to Crystal Clear Vision

Unveiling the Fog: A Diver's Ultimate Guide to Crystal Clear Vision

Unveiling the Fog: A Diver's Ultimate Guide to Crystal Clear Vision

What Exactly Is Mask Fog?

Picture this: You're gearing up for an exhilarating dive into the mysterious blue, your spirits are high, and the underwater world awaits. But there's one annoying challenge—mask fog. You know the drill. As soon as you dip below the surface, your vision becomes a cloudy mess. Why does this happen, and what can you do about it?

Mask fog occurs due to the condensation of moisture on the cooler lens of your mask, a result of the warm air from your breath meeting the chill of the underwater environment. This phenomenon is amplified by factors such as temperature differences, moisture from your breath, and residues on the lens.

 

Here are a 3 reasons why this occurs more intensely at times:

Temperature Differential: The greater the difference in temperature between the inside of the mask and the water outside, the more likely condensation will occur.

Top Tip from us: Before we get into anything else to reduce this type of fogging effect is once you enter the water just before you descend fully submerge your face into the water as well as your mask to reduce this temperature differential and this too will acclimatize your face to the water temp as well.

Moisture: Breathing through your nose or having a mask that doesn’t seal well can introduce more warm air and moisture into the mask, exacerbating the fogging. 
Residues on the Lens: The Main Culprate!! Because new masks often have a thin layer of silicone residue from the manufacturing process, which can attract and hold moisture. Similarly, oils from your skin, sunscreen, and other contaminants can create a surface on the lens that encourages fogging.

So now lets see what we can do to keep that FOG AT BAY!

Soaps, Sudz, shampoos, commercial defogs, bodily fluids and a few herbal hacks all have their pros and cons…

For any diver making use of cheap readily available defoggers that may already be in your travel bag are always a great option. But there are some drawbacks and quite often these lubes, lotions & potions are not reef-safe, so you may be unwittingly damaging the coral without even realising it.

So It's time to get minty fresh
A really good way to prep your mask for 1st time use is to find a mildly abrasive, great-smelling toothpaste as this is a great way to prep your mask for 1st time use.

Simply put a pea size blob on each lens and give it a good rub with your thumb, this should remove the silicone layer on your mask, its best done in the sink at your hotel or dive lodging so when you rinse it out is goes down the drain so the chemical can be correctly dealt with.

Its not a great idea to smear toothpaste all over your mask just before a dive where these chemicals can come into contact with the environment as well as you dive gear and even possible be rubbed onto delicate parts of your body and you squish and tuck yourself into your wetsuit, and you may very well find your “nethers” get a minty fresh feeling during the dive as well.

From my side, I prep my dive mask on the 1st evening of any dive trip, I give the mask a minty rub to clean off any residues like old sunscreen, skin oils or other oils that may have been picked up from climbing on and off boats, this is my 1st step to a super clear dive weekend.

Rubbba dub dub theres a fish in my tub!
There’s nothing better than a post-dive shower or soak in a bath to dissolve those salty sea crystals away and to warm you up, and every diver always carries their body wash, soap & shampoo.

These actually work quite well for defogging your mask, but beware of the soap as if you get water in your mask and the soap hits your eye it's gonna burn like hell.

Some divers use no-tears baby shampoo and this is a great cheap way to keep the fog at bay, but just remember these shampoos are not reef-safe… So you can add a dollop of baby shampoo into your mask and smear it around and it does a great job but you can unwittingly still have shampoo residue on your hands and dive gear when you go diving and if you transfer this to the coral it can damage the Corals protective layer.

Where theres SMOKE Theres FIRE! 
Theres nothing better than a BIG BEACH BOMBFIRE with a few post-dive beers to share the stories of your underwater adventures and as much fun as a bombfire it's we all know you need to be careful so if you’ve ever considered the Burn method to prep your mask for a dive remember it's not a good idea to do it after a few beers and to be super careful with the type flame you use.

The Burn method is one of the more unconventional and risky mask prep and defog hacks, the reason divers do it is you can burn that silicone layer off the new masks and post-prep burns can remove any other debris and oils that settle on your lenses.

But you have to be super careful as it's very easy to crack the lenses or melt the silicone skirt of the mask. The secret is to get the flame super close to the lens so it gets flattened out and that the flame is not touching the lens at a superheated point, this is incredibly difficult to do with a normal lighter, its always best to do this with a lighter that has an extension tip similar to the ones you use for lighting a BBQ or a Braai as we call it in South Africa. 

The extension allows you to get right up to the lens without burning your fingers and allows even heat distribution. You hold the flame up to the lens to the count of 3 then pull away and do the other lenses and repeat that 2 or 3 times

Just to note! You void any warranties and guarantees when you do this, suppliers will not exchange any burnt or melted masks under warranty and you must NEVAAAAA burn a tinted lens! The lens tints on some high-end masks are often applied by a heat shrink method and when you then burn your mask you melt your lens tint off so just beware!

To spit or not to spit, that is the question?


Well it's pretty gross and honestly it freaks me out when I see another diver hack a loogie into the mask before a dive and smear it around, but I’ve heard drivers say on many occasions “The Greener, The Cleaner” and in a pinch, yes, this is an option.

The more cultured among us will lick their fingers and rub them in the mask but even that’s not so cool, and further to that I’ve heard of a few divers that have got eye infections from spitting in their mask and your saliva is not the best thing to have close to your eyelids for hours at a time…

How do you mask a Scuba mask dance?? - Put a little BOOGIE in it and its sure to dance its way through a dive, not so sure your fellow dive mates will appreciate it though…

Well now that we having fun... lets get into the urban legends, the old school divers from the small town of Umkommas off the Aliwal Shoal in Kwazulu Natal South Africa have always sworn by the Mootie / potions they get from the local umkomaasiaaan salty seaman, legend has it, the saltier the man the more potent his fluid….

Ok Ok, If you are not into any of the before-mentioned methods and you go more with the ebb & flow of the universe the good news is there are also some really cool herbal mask defog methods available…

Have you ever been stung by a jelly fish or Blue bottle, the local herbalists at the coast are super quick to run into the bush and come back with a magic plant to soothe your pain and most often the plant used for these stings are aloes and just as these aloes are good for relieving the burn of jellyfish and blue bottle stings it also does an OK job and preventing defog.

But the downside is we can't have every diver running round snapping off pieces of aloes for defog, so its best to leave them in place, and you really need to know your local plants as it's not a good idea to rub the wrong type of plants sap into your mask as you may very well have a reaction to it…

The weirdest way I’ve ever heard of or used to defog the mask, and the best news is it's readily available, 100% organic, and you can use it again and again and eat it when you done… So what is it?

Boil em, Mash Em stick em in a stew, yip you guessed it, the PO-TA-TOE

Bring a tater to the beach in your bag cut a slip of the skin away and rub a bit of tatter juice on your lens and that too will keep the fog away and best of all you can bring it back to your lodging to throw in that evenings hearty stew! 

Well, if you going to do it properly then there is no question! a purpose-made defog is by far your best option, they are reef-safe, and government-approved to ensure there are no bad reactions to your skin and eyes.

My personal favourite is SEA Gold, it's really not that expensive and its lasts a really long time as you only need a teeny tiny drop of it to rub in your mask before a dive and you are sure to have the best underwater experience possible.

But just remember it is called Sea Gold for a reason, as it really is, like gold to divers. So I gave my bottle of Sea gold a name and I introduce the bottle to my dive buddies before I let them use my magic position and my bottle of sea gold's name is GIVE IT BACK!

We hope with these top tops your masks will now remain FOG FREE!
Check out our Video here under where we practically demonstrate all of the above tips & Tricks

YOU TUBE - STOP THE FOG

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