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!

2011 – A Year Of Friends and Adventure!

1 01 2012

This year has been another wonderful adventure, and we were blessed with some really amazing new and existing friendships.

We usually do a New Year’s Day dive, which we did, but it ended up being on the 2nd, instead of the 1st. There was not much snow on the ground, and the quarry was still open!

It did not take long for the quarry to freeze, and Ice Diving Goodness Season was upon us. I was very fortunate, to be able to test the DUI Heated Undergarment, too!

Then there was the release of the movie, Sanctum. A group of us went to see it, on its second night of showing, and decided to do a parody of it, the following day. We had quite a bit of fun, filming Sanked ‘Em. There were so many tears of laughter had, and thoughts of a sequel. Thanks to Chris Phinney, for his handy dandy camera work, and editing while being a passenger, on the way back home!

Then… Jacob came to visit, and try this ice diving thing! He was just in time, as this was the last weekend of an ice-covered quarry!

We were even able to take him down to the river, for some Scootering Goodness!

John Bailey got a bad ass tattoo!

We also hosted a GUE Meet ‘N’ Greet, which brought some new faces, and shared some information about GUE.

Andy and I, at the quarry!

Fred and Angelica came to town, too. It was really great to be able to share some of our dive sites with Fred, and to spend some time with both of them!

Raphael, Denis, Mick, and Mark came up for a visit too, and we went out for some St. Lawrence River diving!

We spent some more time doing some exploring, in the St. Lawrence River. We did some nice three hour dives, with our scooters.

Becky and I had threatened on many occasions to go diving together, and did not seem to be able to coordinate. Then the stars aligned, and Becky came up to dive with us! We had a blast!

I could have sworn that I saw David on one of the dives…

Becky took some shots of us, too (Below pics by Becky Kagan Schott)…

We then had the 2011 Brockville Canadian Invasion. This was the biggest group to date (50 people), and everyone was just absolutely wonderful. Thanks to all for being so wonderful!

I was also very fortunate to get one of the first Light Monkey wings, in which I started diving at the Invasion. This is a really nice wing, in which I have tried a few different tank combinations with.

*Thumbs up!* Thank  you, Light Monkey!

Forest Rothchild did a write-up of his thoughts on the Invasion. Thank you, Forest!

Forest’s Write-Up

More pics from the Brockville Invasion…

Then came the Kingston Invasion, which was smaller this year, but still much fun!

After the Invasions, we were finally able to meet Heleen and Sander, who came to visit us from Holland. They had been to Alberta for a week, before seeing us, then we took them out for some dives, and to see the infamous plane! We had been looking forward to meeting them for a few years, and the time finally came! w00t!!!

Here are Heleen’s videos, from the Quarry, Kinghorn and the Back Mine!

I then took a trip to Seattle, while Steve left for his RB80 training, where I met some of the coolest kids on the block, and the “AGGAST” sisters were born! Leg Number One of the AGGAST (All Girls GUE All Star Team) sisters world adventures. This was the first time I had been in salt water, since before I had any GUE training. That is, apart from below the halocline… 😛 What an amazing place to dive, and a really fantastic GUE community. I can see why people love diving here! There are octos and wolf eels, and so much life! Anyone hiring in Seattle?

We even witnessed an octopus riding a wolf eel!

Laurynn’s video of the underwater rodeo!

My videos of Keystone Jetty (GUE day) and the Day Island Wall…

When Steve got back from his RB80 training, he hit the water with Blake and Steve S.

I ventured out with some other friends, too.

At the end of October, a group of us headed down to Mexico, for two weeks of Cave Diving Goodness. A few were taking Cave 1, a few taking Cave 2, and a few of us just going diving! We did some absolutely amazing dives, and each day, the dives seemed to be even more amazing, topping it off with a dive at Ox Bel Ha, on our last day.

One of our favourites was going to the Boa Restriction, in Grand Cenote/Sac Actun. Gorgeous cave and a lot of fun! Another highlight was Tux Ka Paxa, where we saw Mastadon bones. Just an absolutely incredible trip! That is, when we finally got there, and finally got our rental car. 😉 We even saw a Puma cross a jungle road, but still no “Tadantulas.” Well.. at least Steve and I didn’t see one. It seems everyone else did!

Me, in Dos Ojos…

Back to Canada, we went, where the water was significantly chillier than in the Mexico cavezzz… We still managed over an hour on the triggers!

Throughout the year, we made a couple more attempts at finding that darn truck, including the beginning of December.

We still haven’t found that thing, which brings us to the end of four years of looking for it. I think the other people that have seen it are photoshopping it into their pictures. Either that, or they move it, every time we go looking for it! 😀 Maybe next year! At least I got my new Santi undergarments in time for winter diving!

That brings us full circle, preparing for our season of winter ice diving. We recently went out to the quarry, to put in some “permanent lines,” for easier ice diving reference!

In between all of these adventures were also Fundamentals classes, in which Steve was teaching, and I was helping. Allan came up to intern, too!

I also had two photos chosen by National Geographic, in their Daily Dozen. At least one of them was supposed to have made it into the magazine, but I have no idea which issue. Two of them were made into Nat Geo wallpaper downloads. Thank you, Nat Geo! w00t!

A Year In Video…

If Steve and I have half of the adventures in 2012, that we had in 2011, we will be very lucky! *Cheers* to happy and safe Diving Goodness in 2012! Let the planning begin!!

Chillin’ & Driftin’…

25 11 2011

Sunday, November 20th, 2011 ~

Steve and I headed down to the St. Lawrence River, to meet Blake and Eric. We know there aren’t going to be many St. Lawrence dives left in the season, so we want to make the most of our time, before the deep freeze. We met at Teapot Island Bay (it has many names; this just happens to be what I’ve known it as), and planned on scootering over to the Rockport Wall, drifting for a while, then scootering over to the wreck of the Kinghorn, then in at Rockport. We placed cars at each location, to make life easier.


We took our gear into the water, changed, then went to drop a vehicle off in Rockport. As we got into the water, there was so much mud, that it made putting fins on a bit of a challenge. We very slowly made our way into slightly deeper water to do our predive briefings and gear checks. The mud was so bad, that we had to go right up into each others’ face to verify our stage bottles and do bubble checks.

We surface scootered over to the bowl to avoid mud, weeds, and bad vis. Once we got there, we went four across, until we got to the wall. We made our way down to 100′, where it was quite a bit darker, and enjoyed both scootering and drifting across the wall. We saw a few big fish, and directed ourselves toward where we thought the line to the Kinghorn would be. Voila… we found it, and continued on to the wreck. We played around a little, and once inside, Eric asked me if I was cold (since I usually get cold). I signaled that I was good to go! Then.. I guess I had it in my head, and I began to feel chilled.. Bahh! *Signal*… er.. Eric? I think I might be a little chilly, now…

So.. we turned and headed for shore in Rockport, with Steve and Blake coming along shortly after. Eric and I did notice that we had to dial back a bit on our scooters, as Steve and Blake’s RB80s did seem to cause a bit more drag in the water. Interesting note!

We definitely had a really fun dive! I did get some video, but it was quite dark…

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 8 mins.
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 48F


I sat with the gear, while the fellas went for the vehicles…


Of course, there was just enough time for some silliness…

Once everyone came back, we loaded up and went to Boston Pizza for some grub! Let’s hope we can get back to the river next week! Winter is coming!

It’s June… Let’s Go Diving…

28 06 2010

Saturday, June 26th, 2010 ~

Today, Steve, Chris, and Francois were going for another dip on the Jodrey. We were hoping that the pouring rain we had on the way down, would taper off as well. We were on an afternoon charter.

We packed up the trailer for two days of diving, and headed down to the Brockville area.

Andy was up for some Diving Goodness too, so he and I were going to do some exploring upstream, and perhaps visit the other fellas on deco. As we piled the gear up at the dock, we wondered if it would all fit on the boat.

Apparently so. We loaded everything, with skepticism, but it all fit… Comfortably too, I might add.

I’m wondering if Andy was checking us in on Twitter…

Captain Chantal was at the helm.

We made our way to customs, where we actually had quite a friendly Officer greet us. It was nice to see a smile. She waived us through, and we were on our way. We had mostly geared up before we left the dock, as there was a bit of a chill to the air.


Chris – All ghetto, all the time…


So… how you doin’? 😀

Once we anchored and tied up to the mooring tree, we loaded up the gear lines with bottles and scooters, and kicked the three boys off of the boat.

Predive checks…

Andy and I took our time gearing up, and hung out in the water for a bit, giving the guys a good head start. Their run time was going to be alot longer than ours, so we were not in much of a hurry.

We finally got in, did our checks, and dropped down the wall. I figured I’d give Andy a teaser of part of the descent onto the Jodrey. We saw a bunch of bubbles, and saw the boys on one of their deco stops. We stopped by to say hello, then went on our merry way, up the wall a bit, then for a ride upstream. I showed Andy some of our deco route, and where the deco chair sits. The vacuum cleaner seems to be missing, but we did see a new table. We then decided to go upstream to see what we could find.

The visibility was absolutely horrible. No doubt due to all of the rain we’ve had this week. We could barely see 10′ in front of us, and although we were following a wall, in one direction, there wasn’t much point in doing too much investigating here. We just couldn’t see. I tried dropping our depth a little, to try to get out of some of the crud, but to no avail. I also knew that we had many back eddies in our path, so I did not want to venture too far away, seeing I only had a short body scooter with me. Andy had his Mini G.

We still did have fun, venturing along the wall, and saw some very interesting rock formations, but made our way back to the “Deco Bowl,” where I showed Andy the spot where we ditch some of our gear on deco, and stay out of the current. Although, there was a bit of current there today. We hung about for a bit, relaxed in the water, and played with the fish. We then went to see the others on their 20′ stop, then back to the boat.

Quite a relaxing and fun way to spend an afternoon. There was quite an aggressive bass, just under the boat. We tried to leave him alone, but he kept coming to see us. Perhaps he was just checking us out.

Bottom Time ~ 44 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 80′
Water Temp. ~ 64
Visibility ~ Varied, but not more than 20′ in the best spots

Chris and Andy, in their matching shirts…

We packed up, then headed over to Gill and Vian’s place for some homemade pizza… Yummmmm….

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 ~

Today was scooter day! Chris decided to hit the road early, so myself, Steve, Francois, Andy, and Eric B. went over to Island 99/Teapot Island for some investigation.

This is a pretty cool dive, once you get past the giant hill to get in, the silty entry, and weeds. You surface scooter out for a small jaunt, then drop down into the bowl, where the visibility usually improves.

As we were bringing our gear down to the water, there was an older gentleman with his dog, playing in the water. He said that she was 18 years old, and he brings her here twice a day. She’s deaf and blind, and her hips are starting to go, but she just loves the water. He carries her up and down the hill, as she cannot do it on her own anymore. She did seem happy though.

Time to gear up!

Andy, and his “new to him” magnum…

Eric, and his new magnum…


I think Eric was thinking that his mat was better than Steve’s mat…

We finally got in, did our checks, then made our way through the weeds.

Again, visibility wasn’t that great, but there are alot of pretty cool things to see on this dive. Visibility was about 15′ at best, and more murky, the closer you were to shore.

We found Santa’s sleigh on the way out again, which is always a treat. I’m not sure what he did with all of the pressies though. 😉

We followed the wall at varying depths, seeing some cool bottles, interesting rock formations, and a whole lot of really big fish. There were carp, bass, sunfish, catfish, sheepshead carp, as well as a bunch of mud puppies. There were some pretty big giants on this dive.

We tooled around near the island for a bit, then made our way back to the dock. As we came close, we heard Sea Doos and boats zinging by, so Steve launched a bag, and we made it back in safely. There is always alot of boat traffic this time of year, which is why we usually reserve this dive for early spring or late fall. It is such a nice dive though, so sometimes it is hard to resist.

Bottom Time ~ 90 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 99′
Water Temp. ~ 64
Visibility ~ 15′ at best

Another fantastic weekend of Diving Goodness!

Island 99

18 04 2010

Sunday, April 18th, 2010 ~

Since we hadn’t been back to Island 99/Teapot Island in quite a while, we decided to give it a whirl. We wanted to get in there before the weeds overtook the shallows. It can be a royal pain in the behind to scooter through them in the summer.


We weren’t sure what to expect for visibility, due to the rain that we’ve had all week.

Steve, Jeremy, and Jay, scouting the area…

We brought the gear down the hill, and got ready for business…

While gearing up, Jeremy blew a wrist seal, and was unable to dive. Had the water been a bit warmer, the tape option may have worked…lol.

What is great about this spot, is that there can be so much to see. It may appear to be just a giant slope of rock, but there are holes and crevices, fish, crayfish, various items, and even frogs. There was quite a layer of algae along the bottom as well, which we didn’t see as much of last year.

Steve had to look closely for this fella…

Our first find was a sled, which was a pretty cool find…

The terrain is a sloping rock wall, and the water was pretty green. We did not get the visibility that we had expected, but it was still a lot of fun.

Steve found a little rock pile to hide behind. Shall we play “Where’s Blanchard?”

We did quite a tour, found a bottle debris field, a few large crayfish, then made our way back, where we played around in the shallows, taking pictures. We were only in two feet of water, so we had to be extra careful to leave the algae on the bottom.

Steve and Jay…


I took the camera off of the scooter mount, and handed the camera to Steve.


Jay and I…



Bottom Time ~ 63 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 89′
Water Temp. ~ 42
Vis. ~ 25′ and milky (Yes, the camera makes it look nicer)

The top of the hill, with the island on the far right…

Another fantastic day of scooter diving goodness. Go team!