6th Annual Brockville/Rockport Canadian Invasion!

21 08 2013

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 ~

The van was loaded, and I made my way down to Caiger’s, after work. I had a few things to do, before the dives would start on Thursday, so I wanted to be ready, Freddy!

I arrived, and found Dev on the “Upper Deck,” so we sat around for a little while (of course, while I was up and down the stairs, taking care of stuff), until the mozzies were on full attack. We moved inside, and were joined by Mark, Raph, Fern, and Daniel.  w00t!

Thursday, August 15th, 2013 ~

Today, we were going to Centeen, for a shore dive! Centeen is a good place to go, when you have divers of all levels. There is something for everyone to see, the entry is easy, and… it’s fun!

Some of the divers, getting ready to go on their dives. Eric and I stayed behind, in case there were any stragglers, that needed to know where they were going.

Darth Nash and Raph of Kahn, getting ready…

Hong and Dev…

Once it seemed that there were no more stragglers, Eric and I geared up for a dive.

We headed upstream for a bit, dropped into the channel, and appeared to be in a spot that we hadn’t been to before. There was debris everywhere, once we had drifted about 30 minutes. We wanted to drift longer, but we had made our plan, and followed it. I think we need to go back there, if we can find it!

We made our way back in, and had overshot the Gaskin, so just  came back to the shallows, where we hung out for a little bit, then in. Very fun!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 37 mins.
Max. Depth: 104′
Water Temp.: 71F

Andy was stylin’, as he was trying out an E.Motion drysuit!

Daniel, Raph, Mark…

The one and only… Frankie Boy!

Steve…

Becki, Andy, and I… followed by Dan’s fancy cap…

Eric B even had his toes painted, for the event!

From there, we went back to Caiger’s, where we got ready for dinner!

Friday, August 16th, 2013 ~

Charter time! We had four boats going out, with both Rec and Tech divers. We had Rec divers aboard the “Arrow,” and Tech divers aboard “River Diver,” “Run Time,” and “Island Diver!” The Tech folks went out to the Jodrey, and the Rec folks went to the Keystorm and America!

Neil wanted to make sure that Oren knew that he had his passport…

Steve, Eric, and I were aboard River Diver, with Daniel, Dev, Joanna, and Stretch, and were heading to the Jodrey.

We had a great dive, going through swim-throughs, and seeing some of the wreck that I hadn’t seen before (rooms on the third deck). We noticed that someone took the radio out of one of the rooms, which was incredibly sad. Besides that, it was a most excellent dive! Thanks for the tour, Steve! There was also some Go Pro video, in which I am hoping that Steve will edit, soon. 🙂

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes
Max. Depth: 186′
Water Temp.: 71F

When we returned back to Caiger’s, we unloaded, chilled for a bit, then had a yummy Fajita dinner, and some prizes!

Thank you very much, to our Prize Donors! Also, thanks to Dave Pickens, who also donated a few boxes worth of goodies! Thanks Pickeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnsssssssssss!!!

Prize Tables:

 

Table: Team Wet Rocks!

Table: Team Retrieving!

Table: Team #1 Phan!

Table: Team Exploration!

Thanks very much to Chris Phinney, for stepping up, when our speaker could not make it! Chris gave us a presentation on Ship Construction, that is part of the NAS-1 course. THANK YOU, CHRIS!!!

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 ~

Day 3 of Invasion Diving Goodness! Back to the Jodrey, for the Tech boats! The Arrow was taking the Rec folks out to the Vickery, and for a drift dive!

Stretch, Eric, and Steve…

Dev, fixing some gear…

Daniel…

Joanna…

…and Captain Rick!

We met up with the Arrow, at customs!

Then, Samer demonstrates that it is very important to hydrate, so that you can hook up, while diving…

For today’s dive, Steve, Eric, Dev, and I were heading to the stern. I hadn’t been to the stern in a very long time, and I was looking forward to getting there, again. We followed the rail of the wreck down, then back up, and in no time, we were there (it helps that we had current on our side). We did a tour of the outside, through the walkways, and peeked in, a little. I absolutely LOVED this dive!

With some years more experience on the wreck than when I last did the stern, we had a really good time of everything. Doing this dive is scooter dependent, when doing it from the bow. I’m not sure if there is still a stern line on the wreck, or not. Just a fantastic dive!!!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 16 mins.
Max. Depth: 200′
Water Temp.: 71F

Stretch, after rescuing Le Princessi from the evil cave line…

Tonight’s dinner was a most excellent Prime Rib (with a couple of vegetarian options, too), and…. GRAND PRIZES!!!

Of course, the group shot had to come, first! Such a wonderful group of friends!!!

We had two Grand Prizes, thanks to Light Monkey and Santi Canada! w00t!

Congratulations to Dev Clifford, for winning the 45# Light Monkey WIng!

Congratulations to Chris Phinney, for winning the BZ400x undergarment, from Santi Canada!

After dinner, a gaggle of us decided to go to Centeen, for a night scooter dive to the Gaskin! There were 11 of us, so we spread out the teams a little, putting teams that knew the area in the front, middle, and back of the pack!

As we got to the Gaskin, we swam inside, and I have never seen so many eels, in my life! I knew that they were around, but really had no clue that there were this many on the Gaskin. They were burrowing down, left and right, leaving little silt clouds as they dug themselves back into the silt! While I felt like I was on an episode of Fear Factor, I did find myself wildly fascinated, at the same time. 🙂

We spent a little time on the wreck, then headed back in. There were many laughs, and we had a blast!

Bottom Time: 47 mins.
Max. Depth: 65′
Water Temp.: 71F

As we packed up, and were getting ready to leave, it seemed that there was a bit of a key incident. I won’t mention any names, but… we were pretty late getting back to Caiger’s, and I’m sure that the CAA fellow would rather not have had 12 of us surrounding him, as he was trying to do his job! *Giggle* Ah, well… all ended happily, and since there was Diving Goodness involved, it was just another adventure to tell!

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 ~

The last day of our Invasion FUN!

A few folks decided to get on the road early, another bunch went out for a charter to the Kinghorn, and another bunch of us went back to Centeen, for a scooter run!

Ok, so it took us a little longer to get to Centeen, due to the Brockville Triathlon, but… we eventually made it there… convoy, and all!

Thank you! Thank you! No applause needed (Andy)…

Becki and Dan…

Joanna, Eric P., and Stretch…

There were some people swimming out to the Gaskin, and we were taking the scooter folks out to see the old Truck!

Becki’s going DIVING!!!

We did make it to the Truck, and there were a few Happy Dances, as we arrived. There were a few video cameras going, but I haven’t seen any footage, yet!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 55 mins.
Max. Depth: 103′
Water Temp.: 71F

You must be “this” tall, to ride this ride… But, at least there is Kool-Aid – Thanks to Dan Humble, for the Kool-Aid packs!

Stretch and Daniel, photobombing Joanna and I! Love it!

Steve, Dan, Daniel, Becki…

Eric B., Frankie, Eric V.!

Thank you to everyone, for making this year such a blast! I can’t wait to see you all, next year!!!

w00000000000000000000000000000t!

 

 

 





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!

http://www.dui-online.com/testimonals/2012/team_aggast.html

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!





2012 Brockville Canadian Invasion!

21 08 2012

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 ~

Packed and ready to go! I started off toward Ivy Lea, making a stop at Dive Tech (thank you for the prizes!), then to the Capricorn Motel Royale, where I met Bill and Moira, who were most excellent hosts! Bill showed me around, gave me the instructions for the sat TV, showed me the kitchen, BBQs, and was ready to welcome our group with open arms. Great start!

Dev was the first one to arrive, and most others followed pretty quickly. I handed out goodie bags, assisted with the sat TV instructions (I got pretty good at it, by the end of the day), and we made our way to Smuggler’s Run. Chris Muffin Man Malinowski and Damian also came by to have dinner with us, which was a nice surprise. The food and service was very good, and the convenience factor of it being right across from the Capricorn was excellent!

The dock, near the hotel and restaurant…

Really cool little car, parked outside of the restaurant…

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Friday, August 17th, 2012 ~

Up and out early, for breakfast, at Caiger’s. Boats were loaded, and our departure was around 9:30am. For the Rec boat, we had The Arrow, which can house 22 divers. We had 19, plus one bubble watcher. The Arrow was headed for the Keystorm and America! The two Tech boats were River Diver and Run Time, and we were headed to the Jodrey. It was grey and a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop us.

The Arrow, almost ready to go…

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Loaded up, on River Diver…

 

 

…and on Run Time!

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Happy faces! Look! Jenni M is going diving!

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Our guest speaker was revealed, since Fred was joining us on the Jodrey!

 

 

Let’s go diving!

We went through customs, then made our way to the mooring tree. Moe’s boat was there, which meant… so were Raphael, Tyson, and Mark! After our gear checks, and we were ready to descend, we saw our three friends, who had left from the US side. “Good to see you, friends!” 🙂

Run Time folks, ready to go!
(Vinny was hiding, but at least the sun came out)…

For this dive, we had two groups of three, but would all be staying together, to descend down the wall. Myself, Eric, Fred, Dev, Marc, and Frankie. We made our way down the wall, and the wreck eventually came into sight. The visibility was horrible, so we didn’t really see too much. Once on the wreck, our group of six split into two groups of three. We stayed around the bow, did a circle of the wheelhouse, and stayed close, since the vis was so bad. The current was down, too. There was hardly anything, and even the swimming folks went around the port side of the wheelhouse, where the current is usually famous for wanting to flip you over, and throw you up from 150′. Today, it was kind! So, due to the vis., we didn’t get to tour too much, but it was still good to get down there!

On deco, Eric, Fred, and I got to our 20′ stop, where Fred showed us some new deco tricks. We also played around, writing in wet notes. We learned that “Deco,” in Spanish, is “El Deco.” 😛

Bottom Time: 64 mins.
Max. Depth: 173′
Water Temp.: 75F
Vis.: 5′
Current: Very low

Clockwise, from the back: Dev C., Frankie F., Kevin A., Neil M., Marc H., Chris McM., Eric B., Fred D.

…and me, at the far left. 🙂

Frankie… Rock on, dood!

Once we returned to shore, cleared customs, and unloaded, people dispersed for fills, and Steph had brought us a present, thanks to Brian Ross, of Banner’s Plus!

I headed back to the hotel, to hang up gear, charge scooters, and my light, and I think I actually got a 15 minute nap!

Dinner was planned for 6:30pm, at Caiger’s. The dinner was amazing, and the service equaled it. Thank you, Mary (and the rest of the staff, too)!

I gave away a few prizes, then Fred Devos began his presentation on the Mexico Cave Exploration Project, which was top-notch. Some really great information, as well as video from some very unique cave. Thank you so much, Fred! It was great to have you here! It was also great to have a few extra friends come by for dinner, as well as the presentation. Bob Sherwood, I didn’t get a picture of you! :O

After the presentation, a bunch of us headed upstairs for some karaoke fun. Steph showed us how it was done, and I sang a few, too!

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 ~

Early to Caiger’s, to hand out breakfast tickets, then loaded the boats! The Arrow headed to the Vickery, then for a drift dive, and River Diver and Run Time were back to the Jodrey!

Steve, loading up!

Steve was here for this dive, and he and Frankie were diving together. Marc and Dev paired up, and Eric and I. The six of us descended together, and Steve was going to lead the way, to show us a penetration. I have been diving this wreck for four years, and had yet to go inside it.  I was number 6, and I have to say, that I really did not see much. The visibility was already pretty crappy, and being #6… well… there was quite a bit of percolation, which got in the way (No, I am not blaming my dive buddies.. they were all great!). We got to the end of the line, and it was time to turn around. It was up to me to navigate the line out… which was not the easiest task, with all of the stray lines in there, but we got to our exit safely. 🙂 I really enjoyed this dive, and would really like to go back there! Perhaps with just one or two buddies. 🙂 Kevin A., Neil M., and Chris McMullen had also buddied up for the dive, and went for a tour around the wheelhouse.

Bottom Time: 69 mins.
Max. Depth: 203′
Water Temp.: 75F
Vis.: 8′
Current: Very low

After our dive, a few of us went up to Tek Div, to say hello to Stephane. It was the first time that I had been there, and it is a really nice set up! Thanks for helping us out, Stephane!

Back to the motel to charge, hang gear, sneak in a 20 minute nap, then back to Caiger’s, for our group photo, then dinner! We had some more friends join us for dinner, and laughs. Tonight was prize night! Thank you to all of our friends, who donated prizes: Liquid Productions, Whirling Girl, Dive Tech, Rockport Dive Centre, Hi Def Pictures, 2 Beez Training, In Depth Scuba Services, Exploration Promotions, and GUE Ontario!

We also had a few special prizes for the friends that have been to all 5 Invasions, and one for Jenni M, who has attended 2 as a bubble watcher, and this one as a diver.. finally!

Pic taken with Becki’s camera (not sure who took it)…

Thanks also, to Brian Ross/Banner’s Plus, for the awesome banner!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012 ~

Today, the Tech boats were picking up at Mallorytown Landing. We were going to go over to the Daryaw, and do a drift off of it. The surface current at the Daryaw mooring was crazy.. as always. We had a tag line set up, as well as a few gear lines, so that we could tie in, to get our gear on… and not drift away. Eric and I splashed in, got our gear on, and were joined by Marc and Dev. These are the times when I am extra thankful for my scooter. 🙂 We descended down the line, on the trigger, and proceeded to the underside of the wreck, where we were mostly sheltered. We tied off our stage bottles and scooters, and ran a line, to go into the wreck. I ran the line, and as we were going in, Steve and Frankie were coming out… followed by quite a huge amount of silt. Apparently, as they went in, there were a ton of eels that retreated, and stirred everything up… I will give them the benefit of the doubt. 😛 So.. we waited for them to pass, and I was trying to make a call on whether we kept on, or turn around.. wondering if the “dust” would settle. It didn’t. I signaled to turn around, and went to go another way, which was also silted out. There had also been a few boats on it before us, as we pulled up to the mooring.

Hanging onto the tag and gear lines, in the crazy surface current, about to descend (taken by Rick Lymer, with my camera)…

So.. back under the wreck, we went.. Picked up our gear, then ascended into one of the holds, where we surfaced and waved to each other, in the air pocket. There was quite a big pocket, which does grow throughout the summer, from all of the divers’ bubbles. We came back down, did a tour of the outside of the wreck, then went for a drift. We stayed on the North side of the wall, and there wasn’t a whole lot of current where we were, in most of the areas. I did see the biggest sturgeon that I had ever seen in my life.. 6 feet long! There were a few big carp, a lot of baby walleyes, and even more bass. It is nice to see that the fish are doing well! I even saw a couple of the fresh water jellies, which I didn’t see, last year!

There were some pretty cool rock formations along the wall, but then we got to an area where there was just a lot of dirt. We weren’t exactly sure if we were getting close to our target (the big white channel marker), so we drifted for a while longer, then Dev blew a bag, to let Rick know where we were, to pick us up. Due to a lack of current in the area that we were in, we weren’t that close to the marker…lol. Oh well.. still fun. 🙂

Bottom Time: 75 mins.
Max. Depth: 88′
Water Temp.: 73F
Vis.: 20”
Current: Very low

Apparently, Frankie found a nice pink clip…

The sky got a bit dark as we made our way back, but we were still all smiles…

…and Neil passed out the Deco Cookies… Yumm… Maple Cookies….

Once we returned, we unloaded, said some goodbyes, then a few of us went back over to Caiger’s, to relax… and for me to pay up! 🙂

James and Leslie came over, after James did a triathlon (along with a bunch of our other friends)…

I can’t get over what an amazing group of people that come to the Invasions. I have met so many wonderful friends and dive buddies, and cannot wait until next year!

Andy, Kate… Kate, Andy!

Our group shot (even though there were a few missing)…

Also, a small video that I put together of my weekend’s pics! Thanks again to everyone! See you next year! w00t! 🙂





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!

http://www.wethorse.nl/movies/Canada_quarry_kinghorn.html

http://www.wethorse.nl/movies/Canada_Backmine.html

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!!