As much as I love how beautiful it is when we’re out on the water up here in the Pacific Northwest, there is one thing I am looking forward to experiencing when we voyage to the other parts of the world: warm water. The water up here is killer cold. This water is so cold that the idea of swimming or snorkeling in it makes me want to run screaming to my hot shower. But I love snorkeling and always wish I could see under the water when I’m in shallow areas in the kayak or in puddler. My secret dream is that I had been a marine biologist. Alas, another life perhaps.
So I was very excited when my daughter gave me this Reef Scope bucket from Top Shelf Marine for my birthday, just in time for our trip to the Gulf Islands.
I was so excited that she thought about this as a gift for me! She knows I’m always wishing I could see all the little animals that hang around the docks. The view from the bottom of this bucket is awesome! It’s just like wearing a good scuba mask, without the fogging up and getting wet problem. And the bucket is big enough that an adult can put her head down inside it. Also, I don’t have to remove my jacket!
The Reef Scope is a sturdy 5 gallon bucket with an extra strong, yet totally soft handle. The acrylic lens is 1/4″ thick, and you can actually use this as a bucket as well as an underwater viewer because it’s that well made. I appreciate that the handle is soft enough that it doesn’t hurt my hands when the bucket is carrying my treasures. The bucket comes with a lens protector made of expanded PVC. I understand from Brad at Top Shelf Marine that it is completely waterproof and UV stabilized, so it sounds like it will last a long time. But I’m probably going to get one of those canvas bucket inserts you can buy at the hardware store because I don’t want to take a chance on scratching the lens. It’s protected on the bottom by a little rubber ‘foot’ that holds the lens above the ground. Nice touch!
Lest you think this bucket is just for kids like me, think again! Mike can use this bucket to check our hull and rudder. If you are in warmer areas and you are lucky enough to scuba dive or snorkel, you could check for the presence of dangerous, toothy marine animals by using this bucket from the safety of your dinghy.
I got this photo hanging off the dock up in Sidney, BC. The lens makes everything look bigger, which is cool until a spider crab suddenly appears in your field of vision. Yikes! They are pretty scary looking up close and personal like that. Also, looking underwater is so hypnotic it’s easy to forget yourself and lean WAY over. Children should not be left alone with this thing.
If you don’t have a useful bucket on your boat, you can probably find a place for one of these. It would be a dandy place to store hats and gloves on the boat. At $49.99 it’s a pretty pricey bucket, but because it is so well built and useful, it’s completely worth it (especially since Claire paid for it). Now that I have mine, I will never be without one.