Chillin’ ~ Really Chillin’

20 02 2017

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 ~

Steve and I had been hibernating for a bit of the winter, but it was a beautiful weekend, so we decided to get our butts into the water. It’s not quite the Mexico cavezzz, but it’s the closest thing we have to it, right now… Ice Diving Goodness!

Our gear had been completely taken apart, fins were in piles, undergarments weren’t packed, and my drysuit didn’t have the cuff rings on it. Our last dives had been in much warmer water (cavezzzzzzzz), so we weren’t as prepared as we usually are. Ohh… and we needed to fill our tanks, too. Still, we pursued. We were going DIVING!

Purple tanks, ready to go!


At noon, we pulled out of the driveway, and made our way to the quarry. Since the sun had been shining for two days, with above 0C temperatures, the ice was a little bit soft, near the entry. There was already a nice hole to enter through, so we didn’t have to worry about a chainsaw. Good thing, seeing as we didn’t bring ours.

It was pretty busy there, but most of the divers were done for the day, leaving us the ice hole to ourselves (what did you call me??).



Steve attached the reel to the ice screw, before we entered the water, so that we were ready to go! We did our gear checks, and one by one, we descended under the ice. w00t! w00t!

I had the D100 with me, and Steve was toting the D200. We both wanted to play around and take photos, so we were both armed!





Fred and Mike, as we all made our way to the plane…


Well… we didn’t really have a whole lot to do, other than goof around and play with toys. So, that’s exactly what we did. We stayed around the 25′ mark, since it was our first ice dive of the season (seriously… I wonder if there is something wrong with us, this year).

The plane…


Mike, having a cuddle, with the toys…


Mike took a pic of Steve…


…and then of both Steve and I…


Steve also practiced his upside-down backfinning. Yes, it is possible to do this. I witnessed it, with my own eyes.


As we were thinking about turning around, we noticed a small camera appear in front of us. Uh… hello? Big Brother? Are you there? Fred had some close-ups with it, but we had no idea where this thing came from Β – apart from the rope that it was dangling from.


Between Steve and I, we took about 170 photos. I guess we’ve been having some withdrawal. Then again… that’s not completely unheard of, for me.


We finished having fun with the little video camera, and started to make our way back in.

I don’t think that this piano has any pending concertos in its future…


Mike brought in the reel…


…and we saw a little froggie, along the way. We stopped to say hello.


Of course, we had to stop for a few more photos.


Bottom Time: 41 mins.
Max Depth: 27′
Water Temp.: 37F (39F, in the shallows)
Visibility: Decent, but not as clear as it usually is, in the winter

Getting out!



This photo shows the fellow that dropped the camera on us…


I must say, that fleece-lined leggings, for $7, at Giant Tiger = WIN-WIN, as a bottom base layer, under my Santi undergarments!

…and… *drum roll*… a Chantelle-fie, for the close!


Of course, we had to make our visit to Jean Burger, for ice diving poutine, where I noticed that they had some of my pics on display! w00t!







Shivery Return

18 01 2015

Sunday, January 18th, 2015 ~

One of the hardest things to do, is to go diving under the ice, right after a nice trip to the Mexico cavezzzzz… Alas, if we want to dive, we suck it up, and do it. πŸ˜›

Myself, Steve, Frankie, and Eric B. went for a spin, at the quarry. There was already a hole, which was good, since our chainsaw needs a little bit of TLC. I am also really happy to see that our “runway” tradition has caught on. It’s so much easier to get in and out of. πŸ™‚



I didn’t bring the UW camera with me, so this post will seem a little less interesting, I’m sure. πŸ™‚

We got changed in the cabin, with the wood stove going, which was really nice. Of course, all of our undergarments and drysuits shrink in the winter, so we had to deal with that, too (riiiiiiiiight… it couldn’t have a thing to do with too many cupcakes).

We got in, swam over to the plane, then past the habitat, to the boat, and then back to lingering around the plane, for a while.

There really wasn’t a whole lot of excitement, but we did get to go diving, so that is a good thing!

Here is an old picture of the plane… and, in open water…

Bottom Time: 45 mins.
Max. Depth: 47′
Water Temp.: 37F

After-dive hair!



Of course, there was the mandatory selfie, too…



…and… showing off my new Ladies First hoodie!



There was also some after-dive chatter…



…and… since we were dreaming of Mexico, we opted to go to Mucho Burrito, for dinner!





Thetford Mines: Kay-Beck

3 11 2014

Friday, October 31st, 2014 ~

Despite the fact that there would be numerous characters from Frozen, zombies, and superheros knocking on our door for candy, Steve and I were loading up, and heading to Thetford Mines, QC. As we were throwing the last few items into the van, we did get a couple of little trick-or-treaters, and we saw the Best. Dad. Costume. Ever. I have never seen a Storm Trooper living in our neighbourhood, but this dad’s costume was the real deal. I made a comment to him, to which he nodded, as he pushed his daughter’s stroller to the house across the street. Use the force, Storm Trooper… become one of us…

Since we were pressed for time, we went through a Drive-Thru, for dinner. Of course, we brought along our giant bowl of candy, and offered some to the staff, as we drove through. Steve thought I was nuts, at first, but after seeing the reactions of the restaurant staff, there were smiles all around!

Ok… en route… Our drive was pleasantly uneventful… mostly… until we reached the exit towards Thetford Mines. Holy roller coaster road, Batman! There were twists and turns, hills with tummy drops, and it was a 90 km/hr country road, with houses on each side. We drove on this crazy road for about an hour, before making it to our hotel (thanks for hooking us up, Denis!). We settled in, and… z-z-z-z… Only 4 1/2 hours of driving.

Saturday, November 1st, 2014 ~

We were not in a rush to get to Flintkote, so we lazily got some breakfast (mmm… waffles), and got dressed for the frigid weather. It was in the minuses, here!

We arrived, and it took us a couple of wrong turns, once we were inside the quarry, but we eventually found the car park, for the “shallow” side. We met up with a bunch of our friends, analyzed gas, then jumped in the water!

Frankie, Denis and Steve…

The entry…

Steve, after his glove test…

Me, waiting for the Diving Goodness to begin!

We did bring our scooters with us (duhhhh), and Steve and I took turns with the camera.

Dany D., Eric V., Frankie, and I…

We scootered along the wall, at about 40′, for about 15 minutes, then dropped down to the bus. I was exceptionally happy to have my “new” Santi 400g undies on (I bought them last year, but was saving them for this winter), thanks to that frigid thermocline. The bus sits at about 85′, and the temperature dropped to about 42F. We tied our scooters off, and went for a swim.

Me, peeking out from the side of the bus – at least I didn’t get thrown under it… πŸ˜‰

…and coming out of the bus…

Dany, by the bus…

Steve, Eric, and Frankie…

Ok… let’s get a move-on… We picked up our scooters, and kept going.


We then came across the “computer room,” and the place that Christian St-Pierre’s mirror was placed. Note the GUE Ontario sticker, on the corner of the mirror! Steve did get a shot of the mirror, but it was a little blown out, using the strobes.

Frankie, me, Eric V. …

From there, we headed to the “restaurant,” which is beside a conveyer belt. Apparently, this conveyer belt goes down to about 280′.

Here, you see the kitchen to the left, and the dining area to the right…

The conveyer belt, in the background. It is quite large…

Me, as we were about to move up, above the thermocline…

Ok… That’s enough of that, let’s keep going… We continued around the rest of the quarry, and came back in. I was very thankful for the extra warmth of my new’ish undies, and even though it did occur to me, to add an extra weight to my harness, with the new, fluffy undies, I was still in need of a rock, for my pocket. D’oh! At least I didn’t have to look far for one. They were in abundance here, and they all had weight to them – as opposed to the ones at Morrison’s quarry. You have to search far and wide, to find one worthy of a pocket weight.

Bottom Time: 59 mins.
Max. Depth: 97′
Water Temp.: 41F (50F, above the thermocline)
Vis.: Pretty darned good!

Steve and Eric V., at the surface…

The one and only: Frankie Boy!

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 ~

Today, Steve was doing a GUE Fundies – Tech upgrade dive, and Eric B. came to join me for a dive.

Driving in, at the quarry…

Eric and I plopped in, watched the course dive for a minute or two, then headed off into the abyss. We made it to the bus stop in about 12 minutes, this time. We dropped down, had a swim and a look, then came back up, above the thermocline. It was really neat to see some of the items that have been placed along the quarry wall. There were canvases of artwork, which were really cool, and nice to look at, as we scootered by!

We passed by the conveyer belt again, and I knew that we had a little ways to go yet, before coming full circle.

As we did come in, we came up to about 30′, which is where I knew that the little round “bubbles” were, that led back to the exit. Sure enough, they appeared, and we saw the rest of the gang, doing rescues. That was good timing!

Bottom Time: 43 mins. (a little shorter than yesterday)
Max. Depth: 85′
Water Temp.: 46F (we didn’t stay as long, at depth, this time)
Vis.: Still, pretty awesome

Cold water is goodness, but it is not a producer of very flattering surface pictures, thanks to “Cold Water Pudgy Face.”
Eric B. and I…

As Cas would say… A Chantellfie! Yes, I was trying to capture the peeps in the background…
(I am totally adopting that, Cas) πŸ™‚

Steve and I, after a fun weekend of PlongΓ©e BontΓ© (is that the correct wording, for “Diving Goodness,” in French?), and fun with friends!

After we spent a bit of time inside the container, warming up, we headed to a little restaurant, for some food. We ate, bid our goodbyes, then headed back on the road, to come home. Thanks to Eric’s fancy car computer, he messaged us, to warn us about an accident, and to change our route. *Phew* That was impeccable timing – about 3 km before we neared the brake lights!

Thanks to all of our friends at PlongΓ©e Nautilus, for having us, and for a great weekend!

Congratulations, to Mathieu and Anne-Marie, for completing their Fundamentals Tech Pass upgrade!! w00t w00t!!! Well done, and well earned!!!

Tech Deux…

2 08 2014

July 27th to August 1st, 2014 ~

Well, it was a long week of Tech 2 training and Diving Goodness.

My buddy, Eric, and I worked hard, and survived the week. *Phew* πŸ™‚

Saturday afternoon, Steve and I went down to the airport, to pick up Guy Shockey, who was flying in from BC. Once we returned, Eric arrived, and we started to get our gear ready.

Since we were all there, we decided to get a start on the lectures, so that we could plan on finishing at a decent time, on actual Day 1. Uh-huhh… πŸ˜‰

Day 1 ~

Lectures, then off to the quarry, for “Show & Tell.” We did valve drills, S-Drills, ascent drills, blowing smbs in mid water. We then moved on to bottle rotations, gas switches, and more ascents.

Bottom Time: More than an hour, less than three hours
Max. Depth: 30′
Water Temp.: 60F to 64F

We were still smiling, after Day 1.

Day 2 ~

A few more lectures in the morning, then back to the quarry, for more skillz ‘n’ drillz!

We swam out to the plane, where Eric started to run a reel. Oh, boy… then, the valve failures started. Between the two of us, there was: left post, fixable; right post, fixable; another right post, fixable; left post, non-fixable, followed by a right post, non-fixable (no, I didn’t shut off all of my gas πŸ˜› ), ascent, and discuss. There sure was a lot going on, down there, and we seemed to do pretty well, with the failures. Back down, where there were even more failures of stages, manifolds, regs.. blah blah… It’s amazing that we even dive with such faulty gear! πŸ˜›

For a third dive, we descended to about 83′, and boy, did we ever feel that thermocline! We then did mid-water gas switches andΒ  another ascent.

Bottom Time: More than an hour, less than three hours
Max. Depth: 83′
Water Temp.: 46F, below thermoclines

Pool time… Oh, boy. Here’s the hard part (for me). I’ve been going to the gym, for months, trying to build up my cardio, and building up to the swim test. I swam quite a lot when I was younger, but haven’t done much of it, in a long while. It seems to creep up on me, for each GUE course that I take. In my months of getting ready, I was pleased with the swimming portion, but was still not able to meet the 18 meter breath hold. I kept coming up short, at 12 meters. My free diving friends, other diving friends, and even Steve tried to help me out, but I just kept struggling with it. *Sigh*

We had a bit of time to kill, until the public lane swim started, so we did another module, in the complex.

The way to the pool?

Coming out of the change room, into the pool area, I can honestly say that I had the feeling of impending doom. I’m not even exaggerating. My heart sank, and I was scared out of my wits. How stoOpid is that???

Which way do we choose? Door #1, or Door #2???

Ok… breath hold, first. I let Eric go first, so he could show me how it should be done. πŸ˜‰ It wasn’t the easiest task, seeing as the “Public Lane Swim,” was not exactly that. One quarter of the pool was roped off for people diving off of the diving boards. The other quarter was for people that were just floating about. The remaining half, which was supposed to be 3 lanes, was roped off as one lane. People were swimming in big loops, around the one big lane. There were at least 6 people doing this, and they were way faster than I would ever be. We timed our breath hold, in between swimmers. Not the easiest thing to do, but we made do… Well, Eric did. He did it in his first try – 18 meters – badda boom, badda bing!

My turn… D’oh… came up short, but apparently, my technique was pretty good. Ok, try again… and again, and again… no dice. It seemed that I kept coming up shorter and shorter.

Let’s move on to the swim, for now. Eric and I decided to swim in the middle of the loop-dee-loopers, since we couldn’t really do a square swim test. Away, we went!

Eric finished in good time, and I was still movin’ and shakin’. Oops… thanks, pool staff… They decided that it was a little bit busy, and wanted to put the other two lanes in. That was a really good decision, but it would have been even better, if they hadn’t dropped the two lane markers on my head, as I was swimming.

Like a great team mate, Eric came out to cheer me on, and I heard, “you’re past the time!” Like hell, I am… I picked it up! I made it to the end, with 40 seconds to spare! W00 H00!!! It turns out, that Eric actually said, “you’re going to make it, you’re within the time,” or something to that effect. With my ears in and out of the water, and the muffled sounds, I swear, he was telling me that I was past the time! πŸ˜› Ok, not a record time, but I worked my ass off, to get it. πŸ™‚

Let’s try the breath hold, again… nope… nope… and… nope. *Sigh* I was pretty upset about not making it. I’ve done this same breath hold during Cave 2, with not much preparation, and I was so determined to get it. Ok, I have four more days… I’m going to get it!

Day 3 ~

Back to the quarry, where we descended to 100′, swam for a bit, swam back, then made our ascent, with gas switches. Holy canoly… The thermocline seemed even colder, today! Especially, having to swim through it. Thank goodness, that tomorrow was River Time! There were more skillz ‘n’ drillz, and bottle rotations, and bottle rotations, and bottle rotations… followed by a bottle rotation, or two. πŸ™‚

Bottom Time: More than two hours, less than three hours
Max. Depth: 104′
Water Temp.: 42F, below thermoclines

Day 4 ~

To the Rivaaaaaa! Captain Rick took us out to the Rockport Wall, where we did Experience Dive #1. We dropped down, where there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of current, until we started swimming against it. It got stronger and stronger, as we attempted to make our way upstream. Instead of working too hard, we started to drift, until the current died down, then swam back a little more, to drift back to the spot in the wall, for our ascent. Eric led this dive, and we did our first gas switch, at 70′, then started the bottle rotations. Eric’s went pretty smoothly, and mine was a little slower, but I managed to gitterdun. I definitely need to do a little more practice, in order to get them a little more smooth.

Another gas switch at 20′, deco, and 6-up.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 25 mins.
Max. Depth: 158′
Water Temp.: 68F

We were still smiling, after Day 4! Tired, but I think that’s a requirement for GUE courses. πŸ™‚

Day 5 ~

Experience Dive #2.Β  I led this one, and we used our variable ascent rates, up to 70′. Eric called the deco from 70′. Eric’s bottle rotation was smoother than mine, but I was better than the previous day. w00t! Our dive went really well. Before heading back, Rick took us on a little tour of the River, and told us the story of St. Lawrence.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 27 mins.
Max. Depth: 192′
Water Temp.: 68F


There was some serious washing machine current, going on, here!

When we got back,Β  we grabbed a bite to eat, then went over to Centeen Park, where we did our exam. I think the formulas may have actually stuck in my head, this time. *Thumbs up*

Day 6 ~

Experience Dive #3. Eric led up until 70′, where I took over the deco. We used hypoxic gas protocols, for this dive. We had to keep circling, to get each of us in the water, due to some nice wind and waves. One by one, we plopped in, with bottles already attached. A different variable ascent rate, for this dive. More swimming against the current, for a little while, then drifting, swimming back, and then back again, to the crack. We started our ascent, gas switch at 70′, and my rotation was almost as smooth as pie (Pie is smooth? At least my rotation was…). w00t w00t! Eric’s was also good, and at 20′, we switched onto our 02, as Guy made signals to us:

“You… (pointing at Eric) You… (pointing at me) T2!” Then, he looked at me, and signaled that I still needed to get my darn breath hold. *Le sigh” Yep… I do. I was still pretty happy with the dives, and the course. Eric and I worked as a team, and got through our tasks… all except for one, for me…

When we got back to Caiger’s, we grabbed a bite to eat, went over the exam, and then I got into my bathing suit. Ok, you breath hold-ness… I am not letting you escape me!!!

The pool is 40′, so I needed to do a length, then turn around, and swim another half length, under water. I got in… H-H-H-H-O-L-Y SHEEEEEET! It was cold! Warmed by the sunshine! I dunked myself under, and the shock nearly took my breath away (I was going to need that, thank you).Β  There was literally zero visibility, in the pool (they had just finished cleaning, etc.), and I kept coming up short of the first length. I couldn’t even see the end of the pool. I was really starting to get discouraged, but was not going to give up. Steve gave me a little tip, so I tried it. Steve also put a bright orange lifesaver at the end of the pool, so that I could see when I was getting to the end. Under I went…. swam to the end, slowed down a little, to turn, and kept swimming… Holy crap! I’m going to do it! I kept swimming, and surfaced, just past the half-way mark! W000000000000 H0000000000000000000!!!

Man, how good did THAT feel??? I finally did it! What a huge weight, lifted off of my shoulders. I really didn’t want to “lose,” based on the breath hold. Ahhhh… What a relief!!!

So… Thank you, Guy, for our wonderful course! Thank you, Eric, for being a great team-mate, and thank you, Steve, for giving me that final tip, and for the support that you have given me, along the way. w00t w00t!

Of course, we stuck together as a team, when we took Guy back to the airport, on a midnight airport run!

Now, let’s go diving!!! πŸ˜€


Courses, Of Course

19 07 2014

July, 2014 ~

The next couple of weeks brought GUE courses, to the front line. Steve was teaching a Primer, a DPV-1, as well as some Fundies Goodness, and hours of in-water time.

Congratulations, to all of the students!


A small glimpse of the new under water statues, at Centeen Park…

Between all of this goodness, Eric B and I went out for a skillz dive, in preparation for our upcoming Tech 2 course. We each brought three bottles, so that we could practice our rotations, at the quarry. At 20′, we dropped our bottles, to do valve drills, s-drills, finning techniques, blowing smbs, and all of the usual skills. Then, it was rotation time. I seemed to be having quite an issue, getting my last bottle’s butt clipped to my hip D-ring. I was getting quite frustrated, and my silly, slightly injured wrist was really bothering me. Ok. Deep breath… Let’s try this again… I took off the bottles, laid them on the bottom, and tried again. Yes, the clip that I was using, was a little bit tough, but nothing that should be giving me such an issue. Here I go, again…

Same thing… just couldn’t reach that darn D-Ring… wtf??? I put the bottles down, again, and decided to switch them around, just to test the theory. That’s when I noticed that the bottom clip had been left, wrapped around the hose of the stage bottle. Well, duhhhhh… no wonder I couldn’t reach the inside, with that clip.

I unwrapped it, then had at it, again. This time, success. *Phew* Eric’s went a fair bit smoother than mine did.

*Notes to self*
1) Check to see if bottoms of stage bottle clips are wrapped behind the tubing, before doing bottle rotations.
2) Bottle rotations with full bottles of 32% suck. Yes, I was already aware of this, but now, I am extra aware.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 6 mins.
Max. Depth: 19′
Water Temp.: 66F
Frustration Level: Varying, but at least I was persistent πŸ™‚