A Flooded Camera

When diving with a camera you understand the situation…  It is not a question of if you flood the camera, it is a question of when you flood the camera.

Pipe Dreams
The author diving the intake pipes at OTEC, photo by Pete Tucker
Yes, I flooded a camera this weekend.

Just 15-20ft down on a dive off the old Kona airport, I went to turn the camera on and saw something that made my heart miss a beat.  The camera case was half full of water.  Nooooo!

As we were just starting the dive I popped to the surface and drained the case.  I knew that the damage was already done, salt water and electro-optics simply do not mix. Re-seating the rear hatch I dive again, the leak has stopped.

Continuing the dive without a camera was painful. I dive to shoot, not being able to take photos takes the color out of the dive. At least nothing special wandered by, no 14ft tiger shark or underwater humpback sighting, that would have been excruciating.

The leak appeared to be on the rear hatch, I could see a trickle originating on the top right corner. Some small debris in the seal? A slight kink in seating the seal. Later examination shows nothing wrong, I will probably never know.

The memory card appears to be just fine, I read out the few shots that were on it.  This includes the photo of the folks drying coffee on the old runway.  I simply marked the card so I know which one it was in case there are questions about the reliability later.  The camera battery also appears to have survived the immersion, need to use it a through a couple cycles to be sure.

Otherwise the camera is an expensive desk ornament.

As Pete said after the dive… “Insert $400 to play again.”

Fortunately there is EBay… Inserting a mere $200 has a used G12 on it’s way for me to play again.  It appears the the G12 is old enough that used cameras are very available and the prices are falling.  I may want to pick up another one.  This is why I use a few hundred dollar camera underwater, not a few thousand dollar camera, it will happen again.  In the meantime Pete is currently assembling a Canon 5D MkII underwater rig.  Not me.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

One thought on “A Flooded Camera”

  1. Sorry to hear about that. It happens to all underwater photo hunters. Glad you were able to find and affordable replacement.

    Very nice tribute to Mr Dobson as well.

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