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Drysuit Seals

After the zip, the seals are the next important part of a drysuit. They create a seal between your neck, wrists (and possibly your ankles) and the suit, preventing water getting inside. Why not order a set of spare drysuit seals that can be fitted yourself, or make up a dry suit repair kit for those longer dive trips.

For the neck and wrist seals there are three options, either Silicone, Latex or Neoprene. Seals are best considered as consumables and are likley to require replacing during the life of the dry suit.

Latex Drysuit Seals

Latex Seals offer the most waterproof seal when compared to neoprene, especially for the neck. Latex seals are cheap and simple. If you know your size it's pretty easy to swap them over yourself. Latex seals are soft and give a reliable seal, they come in a few thicknesses, the thicker they are the tougher they are but thinner ones give a softer seal so you don't loose circulation.

Latex stretches over time so your neck and cuffs feel really tight when you first fit them, to the point of cutting off circulation, so you have to stretch them over a cylinder for a few hours so they're more comfortable. You can cut them down to make the seal larger but if you do it too early and they continue to stretch you'll end up with a loose seal that leaks.

Silicone Drysuit Seals

Silicone seals have all of the best features of latex with very few of the drawbacks. Silicone is thin and flexible so you can don and doff your suit more comfortably. It's hypoallergenic so people who suffer from latex allergies are fine to use silicone seals. Silicone is more flexible and stretchy than latex, but some find them to be more fragile than similar latex seals.

Because very little sticks to silicone once it's set you need to use a ring system around your wrists and neck. While they first looked uncomfortable, the rings are now comfortable and practical thanks to newer more flexible and ergonomic designs.

Silicone seals are sandwiched between a hard internal ring and a softer external ring glued to your drysuit so you can change broken seals in minutes not days. Carrying spare seals in your bag is easy and can save a dive even when you're off shore on a boat as you only need a simple tool to swap seals over.

More and more divers are using dryglove systems that fit almost any drysuit, which is an added benefit of rings. The design of some neck seals adds a bellow so you can move your head around without breaking the seal. Silicone can also come in a range of shapes and colours instead of standard black. Bright colours are a great way to personalise your suit and stand out of the crowd.

Neoprene Drysuit Seals

Neoprene seals are warmer to wear compared to latex seals and are sometimes considered more comfortable. They also have a tendancy to last longer. Neoprene is good at spreading the pressure over a wide area so you don't end up with Latex love bites, but getting the right size can be tricky.

Neoprene does stretch, but nowhere near as much as Latex or Silicone so they can be harder to put on and the glideskin sticks to your skin so you need to lubricate to get them on. The glideskin is great at sealing against your skin but is quite fragile so you have to be careful pulling it on or it can tear. Ripped neoprene cuffs can be easily fixed if the rip isn't too catastrophic.

Isabella, Cape Nelson

Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Open Water Rated Wreck Dive Site

Three-Masted Wooden Barque | Max Depth: 10 m (33 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

The Isabella shipwreck lies in 10 m (33 ft) of water out from the shore at Cape Nelson, west of Portland, on Victoria's Discovery Coast. It's significant as one of the earliest known shipwrecks along the Victorian coastline.

Diving the Isabella Shipwreck

Access is by boat from the Portland Harbour, Lee Breakwater Road North Ramp or the Portland Harbour, Lee Breakwater Road South Ramp. The GPS mark should be right on, but use your sounder in the general area to locate the wreck.

Best dived in good conditions with a low swell with light north or northerly winds. See WillyWeather (Cape Nelson Lighthouse) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Isabella Shipwreck History — Built in 1826

The Isabella was a three-masted wooden barque of 255 l-ton (259 t), built in 1826, at South Town, Yarmouth, United Kingdom. The vessel had an overall length of 89.7 ft (27 m), a beam of 24 ft (7.32 m) and draught of 16.5 ft (5.03 m).

i>Isabella Sinking — 1 April 1837

The Isabella had arrived in Australia (Hobart Town) from London with a cargo of sheep on 11 February 1837. The ship left Hobart Town, Tasmania, on 22 February 1837 with 800 sheep, seven head of cattle and passengers bound for Launceston and arrived on 8 March 1837.

The Isabella left George Town, Tasmania, on 21 March 1837 bound for Adelaide, South Australia under the command of Captain John Hart, crossed Bass Strait and was reported wrecked at Cape Nelson at 10 a.m. on Saturday, 1 April 1837 whilst on a voyage from Launceston to Adelaide with livestock and passengers. (Reports vary with the vessel being wrecked sometime between 25 March 1837 and 1 April 1837. The date we've chosen is as reported by Captain Hart.)

Captain John Hart was an experienced navigator, however, on this eventful day mistook Cape Nelson for Lady Julia Percy Island at the head of Portland Bay. His resulting course correction sent him into the eastern cliffs of Cape Nelson. Longboats were launched after a number of failed attempts and the 25 passengers and crew rowed to safety in Portland Bay.

See also, west-coast-shipwreck-trail,
Heritage Council Victoria: Isabella, and
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Isabella.

Heritage Warning: Any shipwreck or shipwreck relic that is 75 years or older is protected by legislation. Other items of maritime heritage 75 years or older are also protected by legislation. Activities such as digging for bottles, coins or other artefacts that involve the disturbance of archaeological sites may be in breach of the legislation, and penalties may apply. The legislation requires the mandatory reporting to Heritage Victoria as soon as practicable of any archaeological site that is identified. See Maritime heritage. Anyone with information about looting or stolen artefacts should call Heritage Victoria on (03) 7022 6390, or send an email to

Finding the Isabella Shipwreck

Over the years we've been provided with different GPS marks for the Isabella. The GPS marks we know of in circulation for the Isabella are:

  • GPS (verified):
    Latitude: 38° 25.454′ S   (38.424239490545° S / 38° 25′ 27.26″ S)
    Longitude: 141° 33.409′ E   (141.5568234773° E / 141° 33′ 24.56″ E)
  • Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database:
    Latitude: 38° 25.800′ S   (38.43° S / 38° 25′ 48″ S)
    Longitude: 141° 33.600′ E   (141.56° E / 141° 33′ 36″ E)

    698 m, bearing 156°, SSE
Gunditjmara country
Gunditjmara country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people of far south-western Victoria which continues over the state border into a small part of south-east South Australia and is bordered by the Glenelg River to the west and the Wannon River in the north. This truly ancient Country extends 100 metres out to sea from low tide and also includes Deen Maar (aka Lady Julia Percy Island) where the Gunditjmara believe the spirits of their dead travel to wait to be reborn. We wish to acknowledge the Gunditjmara as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging.


Isabella, Cape Nelson Location Map

Latitude: 38° 25.454′ S   (38.424239° S / 38° 25′ 27.26″ S)
Longitude: 141° 33.409′ E   (141.556823° E / 141° 33′ 24.56″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2021-06-20 10:15:01 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-20 12:15:05 GMT
Source: GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Devils Kitchen, 325 m, bearing 192°, SSW
Three-Masted Wooden Barque.
Built: South Town, Yarmouth, 1826.
Sunk: 1 April 1837.
Cape Nelson, Portland, Discovery Coast.
Depth: 10 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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