Might Have Been The Jodrey…

14 09 2015

Sunday, SeptemberΒ 13th, 2015 ~Β 

Well, holy smokes… It’s boat diving day! Steve, Frankie, Eric B., and I joined in on Eric V., Dany D., Christian St-P., and Guy’s T2 course charter, to the Jodrey. Steve and Frankie were doing some cool penetration, and Eric and I had also planned to go inside.


We dropped down the wall, landed on the wreck, and… well… we couldn’t see much of anything. We toured around the crane and conveyer belt for a bit, and looked for the door that we had planned on entering. Yeah… no such luck. We did see the winch, a port hole, and a hellovalotta nothing much. The currents were also all over the place, here. The down currents were stronger, the up currents weren’t there, and there were varying degrees of current, in other places. We have pretty much learned the lay of the currents here, but they did their best to fool us, today! Eric and I decided to end our dive a little earlier than planned, since we couldn’t really see anything, and Eric may have had an encounter with a rare “jumping zebra mussel.” Buggers… πŸ˜›

As we ascended, I caught sight of an eel, at 138′. It’s the first time that I’ve seen one just hanging out, under a rock, going up the wall. Kind of neat, since we have been seeing dead ones again, this year. We were able to catch the back eddy, on deco, which was really relaxing. It’s not always there, but when it is, it makes deco all the much “more gooder.”

We had found a sweet resting spot, at 20′, and were chilling there, for a while… until the three on course came up beside us. As they neared, the current changed again, and Eric and I decided to give them their space, instead of harassing them, and making them anxious. πŸ˜›

We drifted a bit more, finished most of our deco obligation, and scootered back around to the deco bowl, where we stayed for the last couple of minutes. Our 6-up was insane. Lots of weeds, and a lot of current (nothing unusual). It was nice to have the XK-1 scooters, to turn right down, and keep us in one spot, against the blistery water. πŸ™‚

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 27 mins.
Max. Depth: 187′
Water Temp.: 69F
Vis.: What vis???

Eric and I, after our mostly non-existent visibility dive!


Saaaaaave meeeeee!


Also… a big congratulations to Eric V., Dany D., and Christian St-P., for becoming the newest GUE Tech 2 divers! Most of our GUE T2 community was on the boat, that day! w00t w00t!


Steve and Frankie eventually surfaced (#TeamRB80), and we were able to make our way back to Canada-land!


Thanks, to Captain Rick, for another amazing day of Diving Goodness!


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˜€


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.Β  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 Β 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!


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. πŸ™‚

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…



…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. πŸ™‚

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!!!