Diving With My Arizona Sista!

3 06 2013

Friday, May 31st, 2013 ~

After picking up one of my bestest buddies from the airport the previous night, I brought Karen to work with me, on Friday. It became, “Bring Your Dive Buddy To Work Day!” We were able to leave a little early, and we made our way up to the quarry, to mess around a little, and do some skills. Christian met us up there, too!

Our dive plan was to do a few skills around the plane, drop down to the sub for an ascent, then mess around at the plane again. I did have my camera with me, but put it down for skillz.

We then went down to the sub, where we very quickly noticed one of the thermoclines. *Shiver!* We stuck around there for a bit, then practiced an ascent from 50′. Coming back up through the warmer water was a very welcome thing!

I did take some pictures, too!

Karen… I guess she’s moderately squared away… 😀

Christian is OK!

On our way back in…

….of course, we had to goof around, just a little…

When we surfaced, the sun had begun its descent…

Bottom Time: 42 mins.
Max. Depth: 56′
Water Temp.: 46F (below first thermocline)
Visibility: A little bit crappy

Group shot!

Karen and I headed back, and readied our gear for the weekend!

Saturday, June 1st, 2013 ~

We had loaded the van on Friday night, so we were ready to roll, around 7am, to head down to Mallorytown Landing. We were hitching a ride with Rick Lymer, to the Daryaw!

Joining us, were Lisa, Karen 2, Donna, Hong, Ivor, and Shawn.

The Landing…

When we got to the Daryaw, there was a small boat passing. We waved…

Karen and I splashed in. The surface current wasn’t too bad, but we had drifted a bit, doing our gear checks. We had scooters with us, so we weren’t really concerned. As we descended, we were a slight bit downstream of the wreck, so we made our way over to it. We did a full turn of the wreck, then underneath, where we tied off our scooters and stages, then ran a line inside. We peeked into a few rooms, where there was absolutely no shortage of freshwater eels. A few of them were poking out of their holes. We turned around, made our way out, then checked out one of the holds. We wanted to do a little more looking around, but were getting close to the end of our planned dive time. Very much fun!

On our way out, we did our gas switch, then drifted off. We didn’t follow the line up, so I blew a bag, and we ascended. What a blast!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 4 minutes
Max. Depth: 93′
Water Temp.: 53F
Visibility: 30′ (a bit milky)
Current: Not as strong as usual, for the Daryaw; low surface current

Karen C., checking out the River!

After we were all on board, we headed over to the Lillie. Some did a drift, some.. well… a few missed the current, but still had a good dive! Karen and I chilled on the boat, and helped the others with their gear.

Shawn and Ivor had a good drift!

Rock on, Hong!

Karen H. got photobombed!

Donna had fun, too!

Lisa “forced” me to taste that Vanilla Coke… For someone that doesn’t drink pop often, I was quite liking it!

Lisa, with Mike and Rick, up top!

The gang, minus me! There did seem to be quite a few “Karens,” on the boat. What a fun day! Boston Pizza was our dinner menu!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 ~

Today, to the Jodrey!

First, to customs – Leaving Boldt Castle…

There were only four of us, and we had the wreck to ourselves. The visibility was not the best, but at least we could see more than 5′ in front of us. As we descended onto the wreck, there was absolutely no ambient light, thanks to the clouds and to the thunderstorm that hit, earlier that morning. At least the storm had stopped, by the time we were loading gear.

Karen and I did a tour of the bow, peeked in the wheelhouse, and a bit of the crane. There was hardly any current at all, which was very surprising. We were even able to hover on the port side of the wheelhouse, which is usually a place where the current wants to push you up and over the wreck! Craziness! It was pretty cool to show it to Karen, though!

Myself and Karen, on deco. Taken by Kevin Abe.

Bottom Time: 55 mins.
Max. Depth: 175′
Water Temp.: 55F

Neil, chillin’. Is that a Sears catalog pose? 😛

“The Abe,” hangin’ on the bow…

Karen and I, after most awesome Diving Goodness!!!!!!!

Once we got back to Caiger’s, cleared customs, and unloaded, we went to the Family Restaurant, for a delicious meal! Lisa, Karen H., Donna, and Merv joined us too, since their charter was back around the same time as ours.

It was most awesome to have one of my AGGAST sistas visiting, and to meet some really fun and good people! *Cheers,* to next time! 🙂

Twenty-Twelve….. What A Year!

31 12 2012

Well, what can I say? 2012 has been a year of adventure, and even took us to far away lands, that we never thought we would see!

Of course, we always start the year off in the confines of the icy cold quarry water.

Of course, it stays like this until the beginning of April…

In February, we had another AGGAST adventure! Laurynn, Kathryn, Karen, and Sonya came to the Great White North, for some of this Ice Diving stuff! Of course, we had a bunch of other friends join us, too!

There were even really neat cupcakes!

Our group shot!

Le Princessi was out to play, as well.

We did have a blast, and we even ended up being DUI Dogs!


Here is a video of our weekend!

In March, the free divers came back! They are such a great group of people, and the fact that they free dive under the ice, just blows me away!

Steve and I then went down to Mexico, and did the DPV Cave Workshop, with Danny. What an amazing week!

We had a couple of days off in between, and went diving with Laurynn and Kathryn. Kathryn took some wicked shots of us, in Minotauro!

Lowering scooters down at Nohoch, was pretty crazy, too…

On our last day, Fred took us to a spot along the ocean that had some flow coming out of it. It was a most awesome day, in the ocean!

Pic taken by Fred Devos…

We had many fun dives in the St. Lawrence River, with new friends and already made friends.

Then, the trip of a lifetime… We were invited onto Elena’s boat, and took a trip around the world (40 hours of travel), to Truk Lagoon. I don’t think I have enough words to describe how incredible this trip was. We met some great friends, were treated like royalty, and did some absolutely amazing dives.

I saw my first sea turtle, got dive-bombed by some big fish (which made me shriek), played with “Nemos,” and saw some of the most amazing wrecks, that I could ever imagine!

Below pics taken by Kevin Davidson…

Pic taken by Leigh Cunningham…

Once we returned, and got back into the River, our 5 year search finally resulted in the finding of that darn truck. Many others have seen it before us, but we just couldn’t seem to find it… until July, 2012. I guess we had to go to Truk, before finding the Truck? Wah wah wah…

Pic taken by Eric’s camera, on a timer…

Steve taught some Fundamentals and DPV 1 courses, as well as did some Rec to Tech upgrades.

Ken and Debbie came for a visit, too!
Mike, Ken, Debbie, Me…

We made it to Kingston, for a long weekend BBQ, just like old times!

Eric and I joined in on a charter with Bottom Time Diving, to help with the SOS Eastcliffe Hall mooring buoy. Luc, Frank, and Sandy had most of it covered, so Eric and I tidied up some of the line. Some crazy surface currents, there!

Then it was time for the 5th Annual Brockville Canadian Invasion! People came from far and wide, and a good time was had by all (I hope)! 🙂 Fred Devos joined us, and gave us a presentation on the Mexico Cave Exploration Project (MCEP), with updates from Ox Bel Ha.

Jenni M was certified this year, and we went to the SOS BBQ, and a dive on the Connie! What a fun day!

The visibility has not been great in the River, this year. I wonder if it has something to do with how warm it got, so quickly. There is also a shortage of zebra mussles, these past couple of years. They are invasive, and cover absolutely everything, but they also give us better vis.

We did quite a few longer scooter dives, this year… and did some investigating in parts that we hadn’t been to before.

Our good friends at DUI made a trip to Alexandria Bay, and since it wasn’t too far, we went to visit! We also did a couple of dives (of course)!

Eric V., Susan L., Me, Steve, Frankie Boy!

Blake, Steve…

Andy, doin’ it Gangnam Style…

I even tried an RB80 on, for size…

We finally scootered out to the Eastcliffe Hall from shore, which was a lot of fun… Even though I came close to thumbing the dive, due to the 2″ visibility, which eventually turned into really nice vis.

…and even more dives, in different parts of the River!

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Eric, Raluca, John, Corey, James, Steve…

Eric, CoRal, Steve…

We also had more friends come to visit, from the US! Eric P. and Tim F. spent their US Thanksgiving weekend with us. We spent a couple of days at the quarry, and a day at the River! We did have other friends join us, too!

Kevin L., Tim F., Me, Eric P. …

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Eric P., Bob S., Tim F., John B., Oren L., Steve…

We then had a small army travel down to Mexico, for some cavezzzzzzz! There were over 30 in our group, and there were even more that we joined in with! Our group had different tasks, to help out with the Mexican Cave Exploration Project (MCEP), retrieving sensors from different systems, as well as helping out at Yax Chen/Ox Bel Ha. Thanks so much to Fred, Chris, Danny, Angelica, Jorge, and Eduardo for handling such a giant group, and helping everything to run so smoothly!

We visited many different systems, and were once again mesmerized by the Mexico CAVEZZZZZZ!

Me, coming out of Mayan Blue: B Tunnel. Pic taken by Ali Fikree!

Messing around in the basin of Mayan Blue. Pic taken by Ali Fikree!

Heleen also took some video of us, in Dos Pisos. What a stunning cave!

…and Xtabay/Chac Mool…

There are a few missing from the group shot, but most of us are here!

With such an event-filled year, it is hard to believe that we could beat this one!

*Cheers* to 2013!

Mexican Cave Diving Goodness!

31 12 2012

Saturday, December 1st, 2012 ~

This trip to Mexico would be a rather busy one, seeing as we had friends from all over the world join us, for some Mayan Riviera Cave Diving Goodness!

With a couple of our crew staying over at our place, on Friday night, we made our way to the airport, nice ‘n’ early . We checked in pretty quickly, went through security, then over to Booster Juice, before boarding.

We were pretty tired, having gone to sleep late, the previous night. That leads to some nice sleep on the plane. 😛

I watched a couple of movies, and we were starting our descent into Cancun. We had some pretty rowdy ladies beside us, who had started their party early…

Once we picked up our luggage (it was all there, yay!), we got a shuttle to the car rental place, where they only had two out of three of our cars. CoRal agreed to take the slightly smaller hatchback, and we finally got things sorted. Off to the shop!

When we arrived, we started to put our gear together, so we were ready for the next morning’s diving!

Becki and Dan were there, too.. and Jason came by to say hello! Nice shirt, Jason!

There were a lot of tanks to fill!

We finally went to the resort to check in, and loved our room! Then, dinner at the buffet, with Becki, Dan, Frankie, and Kathryn. After having some food, we went over to one of the bars, where we met up with some of our Dutch friends, as well as Kelly, Dave, and Warren! Heleen and Sander arrived late, but we were able to say a quick hello, before we all headed for some sleep!

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 ~

I woke up nice and early, thanks to the w00t birds ~ 5:30 am. Breakfast, then to the shop. Steve was going to do his instructor requalifications today, so I was going to Chan Hol with Karen, Frankie, and Dan!

After sorting out some gear issues, we were finally on our way through the entry. We made our way past the first T, then the second, and took a jump, which lead us to another jump that Karen knew about. We had one stage bottle each, and dropped them at the 2nd jump. There was some gorgeous cave back there, that I had not seen before! I saw a giant crawling shrimp, with a little tint of brown to him. I think he was the largest that I have seen in the caves, so far.  An excellent way to start off our dives! Thanks for guiding us to those jumps, Karen!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Max. Depth: 32′
Water Temp: 77F
Visibility: Gin clear!

On the way back, we stopped at Karen’s place, to pick up a motor, for one of our scooters, then back to the shop, where Steve was finishing up with his classroom stuff. Back to the resort for a quick slice of pizza, and we headed to Playa for the Ox Bel Ha Project meeting!

Chris and Fred gave the intros, then JP showed some video, and Ed also gave a presentation for us. Great meeting! There was also some talk of “Organic Matter.” 😀

Back to the resort for a night cap, then sleep!

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 ~

Not a great night’s sleep, but that’s ok… We’re going to cavezzz! We were quite a while at the shop in the morning, waiting for the project folks to pack up, before we got in the way. Once the way was clear, we loaded up!

Chris Le Maillot, helping to load the truck, to Yax Chen.

Chris Malinowski, getting ready…

Steve, working on one of our scooters, while we waited…

Today, La Boca! Love this dive! This would be the second time for Steve and I, and the others were in for a treat!

We had two teams of three ~ Boy Team: Steve, Frankie, Chris; and Girl Team: Karen, Kathryn, Chan.

We made our way through the cavern zone, ran our lines, took the short cut, and 6 jumps later, we reached the 40′ to 20′ ascent, through the “fresher” fresh water. w00t! We did a little happy dance, as we looked around at the highly decorated ceilings, and had big arsed grins on our faces!  We continued on until it got quite pinchy, then started our return trip. There were just a few moose ears, as we headed back.

We fooled around in the basin for a while, and as the Girl Team came through the cavern zone, I noticed a few bubbles, hiding behind a rock. I turned the corner, and saw Steve, waiting to surprise us! Caught ya! 😛 Frankie, too! We floated around for a bit, discussed our fantastic dive, then made our way back up the stairs.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Max. Depth: 49′
Water Temp.: 77F

As we packed up, there was a neighbouring van nearby, blasting “U Can’t Touch This.” C-Mal was showing us his fantastic Hammertime dance moves!

Laurynn really enjoyed her La Boca dive, today…

Back to the shop, where we tended to gear, checked on the scooters, and chatted about our wonderful day of cavezzz!

Heleen, me, Sander.

Then to the resort for dinner (yes, there is a pattern growing, here), and some of us had a night cap, while the resort had a fire show going on! Exciting stuff!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 ~

Breakfast, then to the shop for our Sensor Retrieval meeting! There were a number of us who would be collecting the CINDAQ sensors from different cave systems, bringing them back to the shop, where we would download the information on a temperamental laptop, note the time, date, system, etc., then leave them for the next group to bring them back to their locations in the cavezz. Our meeting explained what to do, and we assigned teams to different systems.

Steve, Frankie, Chris M., and I went to Mayan Blue, to do two dives. One, in the B Tunnel, and the second, to retrieve one of two sets of sensors. Joakim, Ali, and Johannes were retrieving another set of sensors, nearby. Dave L. and Ian M. also joined us in B Tunnel. We were to lead the way to E Tunnel… *cough*

Ali, Dave, Johannes…

Bad ass! Jo and Johannes…

Ian and Dave, getting ready to gear up…

Our team: Frankie, C-Mal, Steve…

Our team went in with two stages, to do B-E-F. When we reached what we thought was the jump to E Tunnel, our leader thought it was farther in, so we kept going. We ended up taking another jump, instead. It was not the jump to E Tunnel, but it was still a very cool dive… and we really didn’t care, anyway… except for the fact that the other two were going to follow our route. Oops! The cave started to get very much darker, and was nothing like the white and blue colours of E Tunnel. Hmm… I wonder if we are on our way to Naharon? Another jump and some swim time later, we jumped onto the end of another gold line, with the label, “Naharon.” Yep… we went to Naharon. How cool is that? We swam through some giant, dark, very decorated cave.

We made our way back, did a couple of stops as we came up, and chilled in the basin for a while. We ditched our stages, took turns clipping them all off on each other, and there was definitely Shenaniganry.

Us, chillin’ in the basin. Taken by Ali Fikree.
Clockwise, from top left: Frankie, Steve, Chris M., Me…

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 40 mins.
Max. Depth: 74′
Water Temp.: 77F

We surfaced, hung out for a little while, then discussed our plan to go into A Tunnel. We had pretty good directions, and thanks to Jo, for lifting the chain a bit, for us. We were able to find them pretty quickly. I jotted down which one was where, in my wetnotes, and Steve cut the sensors free. Very fun!

Bottom Time: 30 minutes
Max. Depth: 53′
Water Temp.: 77F

Back to the shop, drop tanks, socialize for a bit, then back to the resort! We headed to the bar, to meet friends, then had dinner at the Seaside Grill (really good – the spinach & cheese empenadas were incredible), then to sleep!

Chris, attempting to upload the sensors, on the temperamental laptop!

Man… Jorge and Eduardo worked around the clock, to keep everyone’s tanks filled! Thanks, guys!!!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 ~ 

Steve was headed for Yax Chen/Ox Bel Ha, to do a scooter dive, with the project. I was going to Xtabay, with Heleen, Chris M., and Frankie!

Steve and Sander, getting their gear together…

We checked on our sensors that we tried to download, and they still would not cooperate (thanks to Chris Phinney, for getting them to work). We loaded up, and headed out! Heleen was going to take some video of the halocline!

Some of our friends at the shop, in the morning!

Jason, Constança, and Samhi, heading for a cavern tour. Photobomb courtesy of C-Mal… 😀

Team Temple Of Doom! Dave, Kelly, Johannes, Chris, Warren…

CoRal, after getting their tanks loaded…

Fred and Chris!

Heleen jumped into my car, and we were on our way! When we arrived, Danny happened to be there, with his C1 fellows! Ali was tagging along, too!

Mike R., Kees, Danny, Heleen…

Heleen and Frankie were matching!

We geared up and got in. The goal of our first dive, was for Heleen to get some footage of the halocline. We were going to swim very slowly on the main line, and turn the dive on our stage drop pressure, instead of using our back gas. As we got ready,  I noticed that Steve had taken all of our stage regs, leaving me with… zero. Oopsie. Thanks to Chris, for loaning me one!


I ran the reel in, tied to the main line, and away we went. We waited for Danny’s team to go in, and we gave them a few minutes before making our way down. When we did go in, we watched them have an OOG drill, and steered clear of them, so that we wouldn’t be in their way. We went through the Wizard’s Den, which is one of my favourite rooms, here. I could spend ages in there, looking at everything. We got back to the reel, and Danny signaled to me, to bring in their reel. We were leaving ours in, so as we made our way to the other reel, I didn’t recognize the name on it, so I did not want to touch it. It made sense that it was theirs, but I would rather be safe than sorry. I figured we could surface, ask, and go back in for it. So.. yep… it was theirs. Frankie and I had quite a bit of gas left in our stages, so we went back in to get it.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 29 mins.
Max. Depth: 45′
Water Temp.: 77F

My buddy! Heleen and I!

We got out for a “spot” of lunch, then back in! We were just using back gas for this one, and no camera. It was play time!

As we went back down, I couldn’t find my fins. Then, some snorkeler in the cenote starts to hand them up to me! Um.. Really??? You just took my fins???? I was a little “irked,” so say the least, but I was at least thankful that he gave them back. Thank you.. um.. strange fin stealing guy. Pftt…

Ok.. back to business, and away we went… Sort of… Heleen had some issues with her primary light, so had to sit this one out. Frankie, Chris, and I went back in. We took a jump to the left, and ended up at a place called Rainbow Cenote. We surfaced in a very small dome, and could see a very small opening, with light coming through. Very cool! We ran a spool over to where we surfaced, as it was extremely silty, and we had to gently kneel, in order to pop our heads out. It was very shallow. We headed back down, and since Heleen was waiting for us, we decided to make our way back in, instead of keep going. I tried to tell Heleen that the dive was really crappy, but.. well… I knew she wouldn’t believe me. It really was a wicked dive!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 11 mins.
Max. Depth: 47′
Water Temp.: 75F

When we got out, we met a photographer that takes shots of the tourists there. He had a new Canon MKiii camera, with Sea & Sea housing. Really nice set-up, and gorgeous shots!

My team! I had just said something very silly.
Frankie, Heleen, Chris…

…and back at the shop, Frankie, Dave, and Ian…

…and photobomb from Heleen!

Steve, Frankie, Kathryn, and I went over to Danny and Libby’s for some extremely yummy Mexican soup! I actually tried to make it at home, and was slightly successful. 🙂 It was really cool to see the twins, too!! Thanks Danny and Libby!!!
(I really should have taken pictures)

Back to the resort, where we met some of our peeps, had a bevvie, then to sleep!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 ~ 

Dos Pisos!!! Steve and I have been wanting to come here for a very long time, and this would be our first time here! It was myself, Steve, Sander, Heleen, Kathryn, and Karen. Kathryn was taking photos, and Heleen was taking video, so we split up into a group of four and a group of two.

Heleen and Steve, at the entry…

The cenote is smaller than some of the others, and never mind all of the guano (bat shite) on the surface of the water… Do not drink this stuff.

The line starts in OW here, and the beginning passage is pretty restrictive, but very cool. Once you get through the first 100 meters (approximately), the cave opens up… and is stunning. The cave is very white, and absolutely full of decorations. We took a left at the T, and went through some absolutely gorgeous passage. Steve was in front, then me, Heleen, then Sander. When Steve would see that there was some neat passages to get on film, we would stop, signal Heleen, and she would move ahead. She would then signal when she was ready for us to start moving, and we would swim very slowly, through. Very cool experience in a stunning cave!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 35 mins.
Max. Depth: 27′
Water Temp.: 77F

Here is Heleen’s video of us, in Dos Pisos!


Such fun, together!
Sander, Karen, Steve,
Kathryn, Heleen, Me!

…and that is definitely a sexy skirt….

Back to the shop!

Getting some updates on the sensors…

The GUE Ontario sensor, from Xtabay!

We finally got to go to the Mexican restaurant, on the resort. We had a little fun with Laurynn.

Chris and Laurynn…

Warren and Laurynn…

Steve and Laurynn…

Jorge and Laurynn…

Cas and Laurynn – Photobomb by C-Mal…

There was a LOT of this going on, throughout the week!

I headed back up to our room early. I think the Mexican place gave me a bit of a bloated tummy.. even though it did taste yummy! I was greeted with the resort’s “Rock Show,” out of our back door. They covered everything from the Stones to Michael Jackson, White Stripes, and Guns ‘N’ Roses. It was definitely.. rockin’!

I actually woke up in the wee hours of the morning, really not feeling too great. I feared that I wasn’t going to be able to dive the next day…

Friday, December 7th, 2012 ~ 

Well, I was feeling ok, went down for breakfast, and after eating something, started to feel a bit yucky, again. I loaded up anyway, as I really wanted to do this dive!!!

Cas, with his Mickey Mouse pancakes!

We went to the shop, and we all met to do the group photo! What a fantastic and giant group, from all over the world!

James, Eric, and Cory…

Amazing! Everyone was out diving. The place was pretty empty, but there were still a couple of sets left!

Steve was going back to Yax Chen/Ox Bel Ha, and I was going for a two stage, scooter dive at Camilo, with Karen and John! Chris, Frankie, and Kathryn were coming, too!


When we arrived at the farm, the land owner was there to greet us, with one of his horses…

It was nice to see that all of his horses looked to be in really good health. They even had their names above their stalls.

We made our way back to the cenote, and it was gorgeous! Apparently, they had done quite a bit of work to this spot. The entry used to be smaller than the pot hole at Chan Hol, and was now a giant castle moat!

Looking to one side…

The entry, with some really giant steps…

The other side…

Kathryn, Chris, and Frankie went in first. Karen, John, and I waited for a bit in the basin, then followed. They headed toward the Dark Side Of The Moon, and we headed to the Black Forest Line. The entry is quite “organic.” 😉 John had given me some warning about a restriction that we had to go through, which was a small crack, going upwards. I was to basically put my scooter on my head, and not look up. Yeah… I guess I wasn’t tucked in enough, and it did take me a minute to get through it. I should have also let a little bit more gas out of my wing. I didn’t fin too much, as I didn’t want to silt John out. *Dork* Coming back, I got through with no problem at all.

What was really cool about this cave, is that it is so different in so many places. It was a fairly dark cave, with highly decorated ceilings in some places, and really neat formations in others. There was so much to look at, and so many different kinds of passages. I really loved it. Thanks John and Karen, for taking me here!!! It was such an awesome experience!
*Wants to go back there!*

John, Karen, Me!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 44 mins.
Max. Depth: 65′
Water Temp.: 77F

We were out before the other three, and I started to pull my gear apart, to dry (last dive of our trip.. *sniff*).

When they came out, I took a few pics of them…

Kathryn, Chris, Frankie…

What an absolutely incredible dive to finish up the trip with!!!

My scooter, buckled in…

We made our way back to the shop, where we brought back tanks, weights, and ditched batteries etc.

Since there were so many of us, planning a group dinner would have been a nightmare, so we decided to meet for some bevvies at The Pub, after dinner. Dinner was at the buffet for us (with a whole bunch of friends), and it was Carribean night! Very yummy food!

Then, to The Pub, where we had an absolute blast!!!

There are about 50 pictures of Laurynn, with many different friends. She even had her party hat on! I decided to post a bunch of them, so that I could also post pics of the folks that came!

Chris and Marina…

Fred and Angelica…

Sander, Arno, Karen, Jan…

Onno and Shawn…

Ali and Cameron…

Jo, Samhi, Jason…

Kees and Kathryn…

James and Frankie…

Kelly, Dave, Karen…

Peter and Ale!

Becki, Sander, Dan…



Ricardo and Constança…


Sheila and Romano…

Cory and Raluca, with Frankie in the background… Awww….


Ian and Jason…

Dylan & Dave. The conversation around this picture was freakin’ hilarious!

Brian, Chris, Jo, JP…

Steve and Heleen…


Karen and John…

…and the best for last. Welcome to the…. GUN SHOW!!!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012 ~

Well.. we went down for breakfast, bid our goodbyes and see ya next times, and drove back to return our cars. We had a three car convoy, and when we arrived, we were taken right to the airport. We checked in, went through security, had some lunch, and boarded. Our flight was good, and although we had a hard landing, we were back home, safe… to winter.

*Cheers* to everyone at ZG, for being so wonderful, helpful, and accommodating to our giant group. We had a TON of fun, and it was really great to meet new people, and to be in the Mexico cavezzz, with our friends! Until the next trip!

Buenos Dias!

Cavezzzzzzz… and Sthcooterthzzzzzz….

10 04 2012

Friday, March 30th, 2012 ~ 

Steve and I hopped a plane to the Mayan Riviera! This whole “Direct Flight” thing is the absolute best! From the airlines that we have used, West Jet is the best, so far. One extra baggage fee is way better than $12/kg over 50 lbs. We also had the best flight attendant that I have ever had. She was absolutely hilarious. During the mandatory emergency demonstrations, “If your life vest does not inflate, you are… SOL! Just kidding… ” 😛

We arrived in Cancun, got a “green light,” through security, then met our rental car fellow. We hopped into the van, where there was a nice, young couple from Mexico City, that were here for the weekend. As we pulled out, they pointed out to us that Robert Gomez (a movie star, in Mexico) was there (we saw him talking to a bunch of cameras), and was surrounded by Police security.

At the car rental office, we learned that the word for “Hatchback,” in Spanish, is… Hatchback…

We finally arrived at our condo, unloaded a few things, then went to meet Kathy, for dinner. Ahhhhh… Fajitas and a Daquiri Fresa!

Saturday, March 31st, 2012 ~

We made our way to the shop, grabbed some gear, and went to Fenom, with Kathy. We took the path to some Mastadon bones, which was extremely cool to see! We tied in to another line, which turned into “swiss cheese.” Very neat cave.

We had a nice, relaxing dive, and even saw a medium-sized brown crayfish inside the cave. He must have taken a wrong turn. We played around in the basin a little, and saw a couple of other lines, which looked very “sidemount-like.” There was another that may have been the downstream line.

Bottom Time:  1 hour, 27 mins.
Max Depth: 57′
Water Temp: 77F
Vis.: Gin clear!

We also saw a funky looking tree, along the way…

When we got back to the shop, Laurynn and Kathryn were just pulling in! How about that timing?? We followed them back to Akumal for some dinner, picked up a few groceries, then back home, to sleep!

Sunday, April 1st, 2o12 ~

We met Laurynn and Kathryn at the shop, and packed our stuff. Today, we were heading to Minotauro. We opted to stay on the main line, since today’s objective was PICTURES! Kathryn brought her camera along, and Steve and I were models for the day! We were rigged up with slave strobes, which would light up the cave behind us, when Kathryn took the shots. What an amazing experience!! Such a beautiful cave, too!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 37 mins.
Max Depth: 48′
Water Temp: 77F

One of Kathryn’s amazing shots, taken at Minotauro! Steve and I…

Dinner was back in Akumal, then Steve and I headed back to the condo, hung up our gear, relaxed a bit, and readied for our next day…. Scooters!

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 ~ 

8:30 at the shop, and we got all of our stuff together. We gathered ’round the scooters, where we went through some maintenance, usage, charging, cleaning, silicone greasing, and putting them together. They were a little different from our Gavins, and we were both looking forward to trying out the Suexes!

We had some classroom time first, then loaded Danny’s truck, and made our way to Eden. Once there, we adjusted our tow cords, had a bit more instruction, then headed to the water, for skills! We practiced many different things, including stop/go, pulling/pushing, pulling with elbow, towing a second scooter, towing a buddy, OOG towing, checking buoyancy, and turning at different angles. We headed into the cavern zone, running the reel, and towing the second scooter. I learned just how negative the Halcyon scooter is, when weighted for salt water, while we were in fresh water.

I brought the reel in, and.. well… I didn’t really have any issues, but let’s just say that the line on the reel, wasn’t exactly even…lol.

Danny’s favourite expression: Pure. Mickey. Mouse! 😛

Total Bottom Time: 2 Hours, 45 mins.
Max Depth: 38′
Water Temp: 77F

Back to the shop, unloaded, checked scooter voltage, plugged them in, then off to the grocery store, for some groceries! We then made our way to Latitude 20, for some Quesadillas con Pollo, y dos Cocas!

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 ~ 

We had a break from our course today, as Danny had made an obligation for the day, so we headed to Jailhouse, with Laurynn and Kathryn! The entry was absolutey zero visibility, but once we made our way in, we saw some beautiful cave. Laurynn had her video camera with her, too!

We saw some animal bones, took a jump, and saw some really stunning cave. I can’t wait to see the video!!

Total Bottom Time: 1 Hour, 43 mins.
Max Depth: 76′
Water Temp: 77F


After our most excellent dive, we headed back to Tulum, for some delicious backroad feasting! Back to shop, unload gear, back to condo, rest, then back to Latitude 20!

Pic taken by Laurynn Evans…

Oh… and… Do NOT act out scenes of Platoon with Charlie Sheen…

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 ~ 

Back to scooter school! Today was Gas Planning and Burn Time planning! Today’s dives were at Chac Mool, with two stages each. Steve got to take a third stage bottle, and I had a second scooter.

Holy halocline, Batman! This was our first time in Chac Mool, and most of our dive was in the halocline. We saw, “The Monster,” which is the biggest formation in any of the Mexico caves, on the downstream line. Danny scooted over beside it, to give us a perspective on how big that thing really was!

We were doing calculations as we went on with our dive, of our scooter burn times. I had a hard time remembering the numbers at first, but did eventually get the hang of it. Going in, I was using the Suex, with the Halcyon scooter towing behind, and on the way back, switched it up, to see how I would be with the larger scooter towing behind. That went well, although, I think I needed a bit of a shorter tow leash on the bigger scooter.

Dive 1 – Downstream Line:

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 9 mins.
Max Depth: 42′
Water Temp: 77F

On our second dive, we went on the Upstream line. I ran the line for this one, took a third bottle, and Steve had the extra scooter. I found myself very relaxed on this dive. We tried the scooter override on this dive, too. What an excellent day!

Dive 2 – Upstream Line:

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 14 mins.
Max Depth: 51′
Water Temp: 77F

We went back to the shop, unloaded, tended to scooters, did some DPV 1 presenting, then to Subway, and back to the condo! We definitely slept well!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012 ~ 

Today was Dos Ojos. I had two bottles and two scooters, while Steve had three bottles. I led this dive. We followed the cavern line, ran a spool off to the main line. We took a jump, and after continuing for a bit, dropped our first stage bottles, then scooters, swam for a bit, then dropped our second stage bottles. There was some really neat cave, here!

We reached our turn pressure, and headed back. Once we returned to the basin, we played “games.” Danny set up a line for us, and we were picking up stage bottles, on the fly. We would be driving one scooter, towing two, carrying two bottles, and picking up a third. How fun was that? Although, I cut the pachoosies out of my fingers, trying to clip that third one! I needed practice on clipping that third bottle on.

Still a most excellent day!

Bottom Time: 3 hours, 31 mins.
Max Depth: 49′
Water Temp: 77F

We went back to the shop, unloaded, checked voltage, plugged scooters in, loaded up for Thursday, then did more DPV 1 presentations.  We then went over to meet Danny’s twins! So adorable!

It was getting late, so we ended up back at Subway, and as we neared the condo, we saw Marina. Steve went back to work on his DPV 1 stuff, and I went to shoot the breeze with Marina!

Friday, April 6th, 2012 ~

Shop, scooters, Nahoch!

Lowering down scooters and stages…

Today, we had two scooters and two bottles each. Main line, a jump to the right, drop 1st stages, continue on, drop 2nd stages and scooters, and went for a swim! When I was getting close to my turn pressure, I noticed Steve reaching for his markers, to mark the next intersection. We have a very similar SAC rate, so instead of pulling out the markers, I just signaled to Steve, and turned the dive.

As we made our way back to our bottles and scooters, I was given quite a scenario, as I listened to Steve giggling in the background. Let’s just say that clipping on three bottles (I got to take Danny’s extra bottle) and two scooters while in zero visibility was fun! 😛

On the way back, Steve signals me… “Missing something?” It seems that my third bottle had unclipped, and I had not felt it (duhhh…). As I was clipping it back on, a couple of cookies that I had in my compass bungees came out, so I quickly picked them up, and carried on. We got going again, and I get another signal… “Missing something else??” My knife had come out of its pouch, which has never happened in my entire history of diving… It is also in a velcro pouch, so I was really beginning to think that Danny was having a field day with me! Me = Dork… Carry on!

When we surfaced, I asked if Danny had been picking on me, and it turned out that he hadn’t.. well… not the stuff that had escaped from me.. As for the zero visibility, there was no denial! 😀 Still such an amazing dive, and definitely a wonderful learning experience!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 58  mins.
Max Depth: 31′
Water Temp: 77F
Vis.: Stunning… most of the time!

Packed up, headed back to the shop to switch out tanks and charge scooters, then Steve gave his DPV 1 Presentations!

We then headed for dinner with “The Gang!” We went out to The Pub, with myself, Steve, Fred, Angelica, Laurynn, Kathryn, Kathy, Jason, Ali, Cameron, Evan, Alessandra, and Peter. We had just a few laughs!

Saturday, April 7th, 2012 ~ 

Last day of Cave Scooter School! Today’s dive was in Yax Chen/Ox Bel Ha! We loaded up, and were ready to go!

Partially loaded…

When we arrived, we were happy to have the wheel barrel, to bring gear to the water!

When we arrived, there was a bit of a photo shoot going on. It was incredibly hot and humid, so after bringing gear to the water, we decided to have a bit of lunch, before getting into the water.

Today’s dive was planned as a two stage, two scooter dive, carrying an extra bottle each, for kicks. I was leading this dive, and it was definitely different to scooter it, than to swim it. It is quite a different cave from the other Mexico caves, being dark, and of different formation. Those tarpin in one of the passing cenotes are extremely cool.

We were on the Halcyon scooters for the first while, and then switched to the Suex. It was right around our first stage drop, so we did that, too. Then came our second and third stage bottle drops (along with scooters), and we carried on, swimming. We reached our back gas turn pressure, then started to head back. As we picked up our goodies along the way, Steve was handed a fourth bottle, as well as my towed scooter. He had four bottles and three scooters on him. I ended up with three bottles and one scooter…. for a little while…

Then, it was my turn… I couldn’t expect to get away with that, could I?? 😛 Then I was given an extra bottle, plus the other two towed scooters.. Four bottles, three scooters… Yippppppieee! It went very well, except that I need to pay a little bit closer attention to how much gas I dump from my wing, when carrying this amount of gear, with depth changes. I think I can handle that. 🙂

I have to say, that this was a most excellent workshop, and I love how we were both challenged. It is pretty amazing how Danny seemed to know when to challenge my comfort level, and make me realize that I am capable of more than I imagined. I can say that I can apply what I learned from this workshop to every aspect of my diving.

I feel very lucky to have taken training from Fred, Chris, and Danny. It is really fantastic to be able to share in some of each of their knowledge. I would also like to thank Kathy Dicker, for giving me compliments that I never imagined receiving. They really mean a lot!

Sunday, April 8th, 2012 ~ Happy Easter!

Today, we were meeting Kathy and Lamont at ZG, then off to Grand Cenote! That is, after stopping for some ice cream…

Steve and I each had a stage, and were heading to “La Boca.” We were told that this was some absolutely beautiful cave, and were excited to see it! We would have to do 5 jumps to get to it, so were happy to have a map in my wet notes. We did check it a couple of times.

There was some restrictive passage along the way, and some gorgeous decorations. When we reached the 5th jump, we ascended into a room that seriously moved me. I cannot even express how incredible this small room was. Beautiful cave is an understatment… Just.Freakin’.Stunning. This has to be one of my favourite dives, so far!!!

We went a little further, as we still had usable back gas. We approached a “Y,” in a very silty area, that seemed to pinch down into what looked like sidemount territory. We decided to turn around, and head back. Amazing dive!!!

After the 5th jump, we had passed through a layer of water, that appeared to be like a halocline. We were very confused, seeing as we were already in fresh water. When we asked Fred about it later, it turned out to be a layer of “fresher” fresh water, up in a dome, that came from rain water, creating yet another layer. Very cool!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 55 mins.
Max Depth: 39′
Water Temp: 77F
Vis.: Spectacular!

We surfaced, and still had quite a bit of back gas, so we opted to go back in, to check out a small jump, off of the main line. It was a cool little spot, that was worth a look! We even passed Kathy and Lamont, along the way.

We headed back to PA, had a short nap, then dinner with Ali, Cameron, Kathy, Lamont, and Evan, at Latitude 20.

Very fun day!

Sunday, April 9th, 2012 ~

Today, we had planned on going for a dive with Fred, but Steve had a pretty nasty ear infection. As we left to meet Fred at the shop, we were slowed by a “friend,” blocking the path…

He was more than two feet long, and would not budge. We tried to encourage him to move over, but he got a bit aggressive, so we had to wait until he decided it was time to move. *Shudder*

Once we made it past, we headed out!

We met Fred, and instead of leaving Steve behind, to go diving, we decided to go for a walk along the beach.

We walked along the beach to this wonderful spot…

Pic taken by Fred Devos…

There was definitely water flowing out of this spot, so we threw our fins on, and went in. Wow! That was some chilly fresh water, coming out of that spot! We could really feel the temperature difference, from the salt water, to the fresh water. There was even a misty halocline, along the surface. We had a fun swim in the ocean, with fins and snorkels. What an amazing way to end our trip! Thank you, Fred!

We have made some pretty great friends in this neck of the woods, and we cannot wait to get back!!! Thank you, friends at Zero Gravity!!!

AGGAST Comes North~

25 02 2012

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 ~

Airport pick-ups! Laurynn and Karen were first, followed by Sonya, and then Kathryn. I had a good parking spot, but since Steve went to do a coffee run, he lost his spot. Steve called as he was getting closer to us, in the line-up of cars that were being waived through. We had some luggage ready to throw into the back of his van, so that we didn’t get in trouble from the airport cops, and Karen was ready to jump into the passenger seat. Exchange complete! They were off! We waited for Kathryn, then were on our way home, too!

Once we got to our place, we directed people towards their sleeping spots for the next few days, chatted for a while, then to sleep!

Friday, February 17th, 2012 ~

Breakfast was at Cora’s, which is an exceptional place to eat!

We ate, chatted some more, then went back to the house, to load up. Off to the quarry, we went!

Eric and Steve both had their chainsaws, and worked on cutting the hole for us. We got ourselves ready to dive, and we were off to the races!

“Are we really doing this??”

Of course, there was some shenaniganry, as we readied to dive!

The princess was preparing for a surprise meeting!

We descended under the ice, and Eric ran the line out to the main line. Steve brought our video camera, as we had to document our US friends’ inaugural ice dive! Kathryn had her camera, and Jen brought along her video camera.

Sonya and Laurynn, with Steve in the background…

Karen and Kathryn…

Eric takes in the sights, above…

We had a most excellent dive, and there was much fun and Shenaniganry! Our friends had done their first ice dive, and even enjoyed it!!!

Bottom Time: 37 mins.
Max Depth: 44′
Water Temp: 39F
Vis.: Not too shabby!

Dinner was at The Works, where they stuck us in a cage… How did they know? Everything was delicious, and although there was a Squirrel Fail, there was much laughter and grins from the day’s dive.

We made our way back to our place, for cupcakes, chatter, and some video review! We also watched a slideshow of Kathryn’s shots!

A fun day!

Saturday, February 18th, 2012 ~

Today, we headed to Timmy’s for breakfast (with a few people sneaking to Booster Juice), then we were quarry bound. When we got there, there were about 5000 cars (ok, probably about 20) in the main parking lot, and even more in the back lot. It was definitely going to be a busy day at the quarry. One of the guys told us that they were moving out shortly, and we would be able to move our cars closer. Sweet!

We did not need to cut the hole again, so we took our time gearing up. Finally, the parking spots opened up, and we were able to pull our cars down. Woo hoo! Time to dive!

James, Oren, Chris, Mike, and Jen were also here today, and this time, Steve had the video housing on the scooter mount, to get some more cool footage of everyone.  There were a couple of other cameras in the water, too (Kathryn, Chris, Jen, James.. if I remembered all of the cameras)!  It was a camera day!

So, I guess it is fair to say that there was even more Shenaniganry to be had, today. This time, we had more players!

I think Eric was suspecting that he was under attack from the Princessi!

Yeah, he was right…

We even managed to get a group shot! Well… Everyone, except for me! 😛

Ice Push-Ups, anyone?

Hmm… What is that, hanging from Eric’s butt??? On closer inspection, he seems to have been Princessified!!

Bottom Time: 48 mins.
Max Depth: 38′
Water Temp: 37F
Vis.: The same!

Sonya found an ice heart! Sonya and Laurynn must love Canada. 😛

We were a big group, today! Yes, we were all DUI Dogs of the week! w00t!

After such Diving Goodness, we made our way to Ha Noi Pho for some delicious Viet cuisine!

The Biebs came along, and since he didn’t get to participate in the day’s Shenaniganry, he wanted to try this ice diving thing, too…

I think he approves.

Then he got into the booze…

A fun way to end the day!

Sunday, February 19th, 2012 ~ 

Finally, some sunshine! Today would be our last day of Ice Diving Goodness, with our AGGAST sisters!

It was also Eric’s Birthday! Karen and I snuck over to the store, while everyone started to order breakfast, at Booster Juice! We had the perfect cake, and were hoping that he didn’t see us walking back to the van, with it!

Then… Quarry bound, once again!

Today, we decided to follow the other line, and head down to the sub. It wasn’t long before there was.. Yes, you guessed it… Shenaniganry!

Laurynn and I, with a self-portrait!

We played around at the sub for a while, came back up, then moved the reel over to the plane line!

On our way back in, we noticed that someone was waiting for us…

Coming back to the entry/exit…

Bottom Time: 46 mins.
Max Depth: 55′
Water Temp: 37F
Vis.: More of the same!

However, the Shenaniganry did not end when we got out of the water. There was dancing, pilates, and new ways to position ourselves in the snow!!

Sonya shows us how it’s done!

Sonya and Steve do “The Sonya!”

AGGAST Supastaaaaaaaaaaaas!

James shows us his fancy moves, too!

I then received a snowball!

Pardon? I can’t hear you!!

Then, it was time for cake! I was trying to get everyone to corral Eric into the cottage, while I went for the cake! I almost got caught, and I think Eric knew that something was up. Oh well… He seemed to like his special Princessi cake!! 😛

From there, we headed up to the infamous Jean Burger, where we introduced our friends to Poutine! You can’t come to Quebec, and not have Poutine!

Sonya had heard of a covered bridge nearby, so we did a little inquiring, and figured out where to go! Steve and I had never been to it, so it was a really neat thing to see!

Road closed… Um… You think???

On the way back, we stopped at a spot on the side of the road, that had a natural spring water spout. People would come with empty containers, to fill them up with incredibly yummy, fresh water! We had driven by it so many times, but had never stopped!

We headed back to our place, where we chilled for a while, then to Swiss Chalet for some Dining Goodness, then to karaoke, to finish off the weekend’s fun and adventure!

I am very happy to know such wonderful people, and to be able to dive with friends from all over. What an excellent weekend of Shenaniganry and AGGAST Diving Goodness!!!

Shenaniganry WAS had in multitudes!!!

Thanks for such an awesome weekend!!!!!! Planning for the next AGGAST get-together MUST commence!!

A video, put together by Steve!


Woo Hoo!! Team AGGAST also became DUI Dogs Of The Week!! w00t! 🙂


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