[Coral-List] need GPS recommendations

Steve S wpbdiver at bellsouth.net
Tue Jun 28 20:05:21 EDT 2011

Hi Sarah,

I have been using an original Garmin eTrex (circa 1999-2000) for several
years while doing a sea turtle survey project via snorkel. It's basic,
rugged and waterproof (although not for submersion) and it's what I already
owned when I decided to start recording GPS coordinates of the turtles I
see. I simply need to see the coordinates, nothing else.

I put it in a Pelican 1010 case and attach that to my dive flag, which is
towed behind me. The rubber lining in the bottom of the case keeps it
buoyant so the GPS faces upright in all but really choppy seas (which you
probably wouldn't be snorkeling in anyway). When I spot a turtle, I pull in
the line to read the coordinates and mark them on my wrist slate.

If I don't place the GPS in the case just right, water often leaks in and
the only problem I've ever had was with condensation obscuring my view of
the coordinates (if the water was cool and the sun was hot). When the GPS
takes a bath in salt water, I just clean it thoroughly when I get home.
Until this thing dies, I won't be changing GPS units.

However, the original eTrex (yellow) was discontinued in 2007 and replaced
by the Garmin eTrex H, which is supposed to have the same specs, but higher
satellite sensitivity. I'm only speaking about the original Garmin eTrex.

You can get the eTrex H and the Pelican 1010 case for about $110 retail
(combined) from the manufacturers, but a quick Google search could probably
save you at least $20 per unit (combined) if you shop around.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I'm happy to
share info. Believe me, I've been working on my project for almost eight
years and I'm still using the same gear because it works.

Steve S

On Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM, <freeds at pdx.edu> wrote:
> > Dear Coral-Listers,
> > Can anyone recommend an easy to use, durable, handheld GPS unit?
> > The units are carried in the water while snorkeling. We use a
> > combination of waterproof cases and bags to protect them, but there is
> > occasional leakage. We use the units to mark our research sites out on
> > the water, so we just need to be able to see the coordinates of our
> > locations, no maps or fancy features necessary.
> > We need something that can handle some water contact and that has a
> > TRULY watertight battery compartment- the compartments in our newer
> > units corroded despite being 'water tight'. We also need the unit to
> > withstand normal wear and tear of frequent battery changes and
> > button-pressing, which our newer units did not either. I have a single
> > unit that is about 12 years old; it has held up great and has outlived
> > the newer ones we tried (Garmin 72H). We would appreciate any
> > recommendations on waterproof bags or hard cases as well.
> > Sincerely,
> > Sarah Freed
> > Environmental Science and Management
> > Portland State University
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
> >
> >
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