Tracy, look at Faber LP85s rather than HP100s. Perhaps better buoyancy characteristics for same physical dimensions.
But you're right, that try-dive is an easy $10,000 check to Neptune.
Cost per 2 hr OC dive is at least $25.00 for Nitrox and O2.
Conversely : I purchased a used factory reconditioned Meg for $4500, complete and ready to dive.
Cost for the same 2 hour dive is about $8.00 for O2, dil, and sorb.
Annual expenses are O2 sensors at about $240 total.
So really, money isn't an issue. Diving or equipment philosophies are the main factor.
But no matter which way you ultimately go (and I do both OC and CCR), the important thing is to get training and experience. You seem to be enjoying it so far - welcome to a lifelong obsession!
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I'm convinced diving doubles is just cave diving initiation, it's pre-sidemount hazing
So, let me ask this question...
I'm in the same boat, love my doubles but leaning more and more towards sidemount. Since there is no one around me diving doubles or sidemount what's the best way to learn the techniques? I'm not interested in a card or certificate, just want someone to show me the ropes in setting the tanks up hose routing, etc... Do I bite the bullet and pay for a class or struggle to figure it out on my own?
Or... If someone is willing to do a ballroom dive at ginnie next time im in town to show me the down and dirty I'll pay for Air and Beer!!
The wormhole is much easier in backmount. Anything pipe shaped is better in BM, but the other 99.95% of cavediving is better in SM.
Doctor, the ony time my neck doesn't hurt is when I'm taking a hot shower or wearing Versace. "Wearing Versace?" he ask.
Yeah, you can't help but feel great in a Versace suit.