2015 Brockville Canadian Invasion

18 08 2015

Thursday, August 13th, 2015 ~

Woo Hoo! The time had finally arrived, for the 8th Annual Brockville Canadian Invasion! Steve and I had arrived at Caiger’s Resort, late Wednesday night. It was nice, not having to rush, to be there for the Thursday shore dives!

We loaded up the coolers of sandwiches, drinks, and various treats, and made our way to Centeen Park.

Invasion Goodness! Those benches sure are handy!

Various dives were done, between buddy teams; some went to the Gaskin, some to see the water park statues, and some did scooter dives!

Darth Nash, about to get in, with the Raph of Kahn...and a Phinney photobomb!

Going for a dive, at Centeen Park!Surface interval.

Our team was made up of myself, Steve, Mattias, and Frankie. The plan was to scooter upstream, for an hour, drop into the channel, and drift for about an hour (depending on the current). That is exactly what we did!

Bottom Time: 3 hours, 3 mins.
Max. Depth: 114′
Water Temp.: 71F
Vis.: Better in the channel, than in the shallows.

Gear, to go in!

This was an awesome discussion. :)

When we got back to Caiger’s, we had time to set up the next day’s gear and charge scooters, before dinner. Sleep came pretty easy.
Friday, August 14th, 2015 ~

Breakfast was around 7:00am. This is the first year that we didn’t have a buffet, so a few of us missed the serving. We were still treated to a nice, big breakfast!

There was a Rec charter (going to the Muskie and Lillie), a Tech charter (going to the Jodrey), and more shore diving, at Centeen.

Mattias – all the way from Sweden, hopping on a charter, to the Jodrey…

Mattias, getting ready for a dive on the Jodrey!

Rec charter, heading to the Muskie/Lillie…

Loading the boats! Osprey

Piotr and Ania…

Anna and Piotr

Mark and Steve, getting ready for their dive…


Today, I was diving with Eric B. and Eric V. The Erics. 🙂

Our plan was to scooter 40 minutes upstream, drop into the channel, and drift. We would then come back up to the Gaskin, and take a shot, for Project Baseline. As we dropped into the channel, we saw a bunch of different fish, which was really nice to see. We saw sheepshead carp, sturgeon, pike, bass, and walleye. Very nice to see them, after not seeing very many, in the last year. We have seen more sturgeon, than pike, and they were baby sturgeon, to boot!

As we drifted along, in the channel, we came to a structure, that we had never seen before. It was approximately 12′ high, by about 8′ wide, on four sides. Half was rounded, half was square, and it was hollow. There was a fish having a wee snooze, that didn’t seem phased by my camera. I did take a photo, but the ambient light was pretty low, at 100′.


We came back up, after our planned drift time. There were spots where the current was absolutely ripping, and we couldn’t swim against it, if we tried. There were also places where we had to swim and scooter a bit, because the current was non-existent.

At the Gaskin, I took a pic of the bow, we played around for a bit, then made our way back to the shallows.

The bow of the Gaskin. It was tough to get a decent shot, thanks to the visibility.


As part of our plan, we tied off our scooters, did our required deco, then Eric V. practiced his bottle rotations, for his upcoming T2 course. Of course… We had to load him with all of the bottles… and I just happened to bring my camera!

Scooters, tied off, and doing deco…


Yes, we just had to load Eric V. up, with bottles…


Bottom Time: 2 hours, 37 mins.
Max. depth: 115′
Water Temp.: 71F
Vis.: Same as yesterday

More happy divers…

Going for a dive, at Centeen Park!

We headed back to Caiger’s, prepped gear for the next day, and… Dinner!

Again, sleep was not difficult. 🙂
Saturday, August 15th, 2015 ~

Happy Birthday, Oren! Good to have you back at the Invasion! What better way to celebrate, than go for a nice Jodrey dive? w00t!11892062_10205106629642310_5153704937251023776_n

Boat departures were at 8am. Yes… 8am. That required us to actually be at breakfast for 7am, load the boats, and get out of dodge. Life is hard. 😛

The boats met at customs, which wasn’t too surprising, since they opened a bit early, for us.

I don’t recall going to the back side, before.


Two Tech boats (to the Jodrey), and a Rec boat (to the Keystorm and America)! I’m sure everyone can hear me saying, “Don’t forget your passports!” How ironic would it have been, if I had forgotten mine? Good thing that I didn’t. *Phew*

Eric and I had a plan for 30 minutes, with a max depth of 200′, and our deco was based on a 200′ average, even though we planned on a 170′ average. We were extra conservative.

We had a nice, easy descent, and putzed around the bow, for a bit. We went to the spot that Steve and Frankie had gone inside, had a look, and continued on. After switching to back gas, we swam and scootered a bit, and were in a different spot than we normally would start our ascent. We were a little ahead of schedule, but since we had to come up a bit anyway, we started our ascent. We did see a pretty cool beach area, at 140′! As we came up, we found a pretty neat spot to do our deco, since we hit a back eddy, and were able to do a nice, easy drift back. At 20′, we came to another relaxing spot, where we were hardly moving, and being sheltered by a large piece of wall. Excellence. Just before we had finished our 20′ stop, we scootered back around to the bowl, under the boat, hung about, and did our 6-up. A very fun adventure!

Total Dive Time: 1 hour, 22 mins. (a bit shorter than originally planned, but not far off)
Max. Depth: 185′
Vis.: Not as good as we were told that it had been the day before!


We boarded the boat, waited for those RB80 fellas to get back, and we headed back to Canada!


Mattias and Dan, after their dive…


Eric and I… It appears that I have something in my teeth. D’oh!


A nice little boat passed us, as we were still tied up to the mooring tree. You can’t help but wish it to sink… without any catastrophic loss of life, of course. 🙂


We made it back to Canada (thank goodness), and as usual, we had “Picture Time!” We always have a nice photo, followed by absolute silliness.

Here we are, appearing to be functioning members of various societies…


…and then… the truth comes out. Apparently, Pierli can fly…


We had a delicious supper, followed by a whole bunch of prizes! Thanks to Dive Right In Scuba, 1000 Islands Pleasure Diving, Caiger’s, Exploration Diving Services, Exploration Promotions, Undirworld Diving, DUI, GUE Ontario, Ursuit (and Mattias)



Christian was happy with his pink t-shirt!


11889422_10205114910009314_9196532781372250775_n.jpgMattias got a schematic of the Jodrey, to bring home – Look where I went diving!


Thanks for everything, Wayne and the 1000 Islands Pleasure Diving crew!!

11887928_10205114911009339_3710205819313609019_n.jpgPierli was the lucky winner of the grand prize! A new Ursuit undergarment, donated by Mattias and Ursuit!


11873517_10205114911729357_4760179462575310061_n.jpgWe didn’t have as many grand prizes this year, due to the fact that everyone received an Invasion 50L dry bag!


We then got ready for Daniel’s presentation on the Mars! Notice Chris’ display of head dress!



The littlest Invasion-goers!



Sunday, August 16th, 2015 ~

Last day of Invasion Goodness!

The Rec boat was headed to the Vickery and Kinghorn, and the Tech boats were headed to the Jodrey. Imagine that!






We had another fabulous, yet less-than-stellar-visibility dive. As Eric and I went over the ledge, and descended, we ended up right beside the wreck. We waved at some of out other diving friends, as we passed them, on the bow. Our plan was for 30 minutes at 200′, and we ended up having a 180′ average, by the end of our 30 minutes. w00t!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 26 mins.
Max. Depth: 194′
Water Temp.: 71F
Visibility: Less than stellar


Loading up gear, after our dives…



I swear, it wasn’t me…


Raph of Khan, and Darth Nash…


11902274_10205114782046115_8910635310366797131_n.jpgThey do match nicely, don’t they? 😛


I must thank Jen and Mike, at Undirworld, for the millions of cubic feet of gas, that they must have used, and for the delivery guys! 😛

Thanks to Steve, for filling all of my cubic footage, and for hauling it (yes, I did help to load – I think I loaded about 14 sets of doubles).

I did unload all of these sets of 130s, the day after!


It was an absolutely fantabulous 4-day weekend of friends, fun, laughter, and a ton of Diving Goodness!! I can’t even begin to share how amazing this group of friends are, and I look forward to seeing everyone, August 2016! w00t w00t!

2014 Brockville Canadian Invasion

18 08 2014

August 13th, 2014 ~

I made my way down to Brockville, a little early, so that I could get things organized, and ready for everyone’s arrival. This year’s Invasion has 37 friends attending (with a few extras, joining in for the odd parts), plus some amazing speakers! I had not planned on diving today, but dropped by Centeen Park, where Steve, John, Casey, John, and Mark were diving. I didn’t see any action, even though they were there, but how could I? RB80s don’t make many bubbles, so I would be hard pressed to see, even if they were close. 🙂

I went and ran an errand, then came back. David J. was there, waiting for his buddy, who was not able to make it. I could not leave him high and dry, so we went for a dive! We did our gear checks, then dropped into the shallows, where David showed me the skills that he had been working on. Great stuff, David! I then saw a light, coming. Yep… that had to be Steve et al, so I shone my light towards them. Steve came over, and was surprised to see me in the water. *Giggle* See ya soon!

David and I went over to see the underwater statues, then for a bit of a tour around the wall, saw a bike that didn’t seem to have been there very long, some pylons, rocks, gobies, and we had a nice, relaxing dive. I had found a BB rifle gun, that I had carried back into the shallows. I showed Steve, when we surfaced, but he chucked it. Pfftt… 😛

Bottom Time: 54 mins.
Max. Depth: 34′
Water Temp.: 69F

John R., Steve B., Casey M., John K., and Mark R., after their scooter dive…

Steve and John…

After our dive, we chatted with Steve and the gang for a bit, then I headed over to Caiger’s! There were a few early arrivals, so we sat on the patio, for more chatting! The evening also brought some footage-viewing, on the TV.

How many divers does it take, to get the TV working?

August 14th, 2014 ~

The Invasion officially kicks off! Today, we were having shore dives, from Centeen Park. Some were swimming, some were scootering, a handful were on a charter, and all were having fun! At least, that was the word at the water cooler. 🙂

Island Diver, taking a bunch out to the Jodrey!

We had a few groups leaving, from Centeen Park: Darth Nash, Raph of Kahn; Frankie, Eric V., Karim, Heather; Becki, Dan; myself, Eric B., Andy, Chris P., Johannes; Daniel, Jeff, Stephen.

Our team went upstream, then dropped into the channel. There were bottles everywhere! We saw an odd little fish, with a pointed nose – Chris P. was going to try to look it up (*waiting to hear if he was successful, in identifying it*). The little guy almost swam right into my hand.

We drifted for about 25 minutes, then started to make our way back up. One of our team had a bit of a slowing scooter, so Eric donated his scooter, and I towed Eric back in. When we surfaced, Steve, John, John, Casey, and Mark were there, waiting for us, and even helped us carry our gear up. I kind of liked this royal treatment!

Bottom Time: 2 hours
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 68F

The last team were a little bit overdue, so we waited for them. When we finally saw them, Casey grabbed the life saver, and was ready to rescue!

*NOTE* They didn’t really need rescuing. 😉

L to R, back to front: Heather, Eric V., Frankie, Karim…

Back to Caiger’s, where we found more friends arriving, and dinner! We watched Casey’s GoPro footage, from the boys’ Jodrey dive, which was much fun. Charged scooters, then sleep!

Friday, August 15th, 2014 ~ 

Breakfast buffet, got gear ready, made sure all of the sandwiches were ready for the boats and shore dives, then back to Centeen. The Rec boat went to the Muskie and Lillie, and the Tech boat went to the Jodrey.

We set up our canopy, and Casey brought a whole bunch of Suex scooters, for our Suex Demo Day!

Casey, going through the Suex line of scooters!

After the demo, everyone that wanted to, took the scooters for a test drive! A lot of fun was had!

Eric B., Chris P., and I went for a channel dive. As we moved toward the channel, it took us a while to get past the 40′ mark (as usual, in that spot), but we did finally get down there. There were some absolutely ripping currents for us to play in, too… at least, for a while. The current went from ripping, to non-existent for a while, then picked up, again. Due to the current, we figured that we had gone past our entry point, so when we came back up, we actually went the wrong way, but only for about a minute, when we recognized our surroundings. We came back to the shallows, hung around for a few minutes, then out.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 41 mins.
Max. Depth: 109′
Water Temp.: 69F

We put our gear away, packed up, then back to Caiger’s, for dinner. We had some amazing presentations, after dinner, too!

Casey McKinlay: Scooters and the WKPP

John Kendall: Diving the wrecks of Malta
Since John’s picture was too dark, here is a nice photo of John…

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 ~

Today, everyone was on a boat! The Rec boat was going to the Keystorm and America, and Tech boats were going to the Jodrey.

Jazz Hands, for Diving Goodness! Johannes, Becki, Andy, Jenni M.

Getting ready for take-off!

One of the Tech boats. Damian, Heather, Daniel, Joanna, Karim…

Another Tech boat. Heison, Kneel, Johannes, Kevin, Daniel, Hong, Eric V.

Kneel, Kev, Raph of Kahn, and Darth Nash have their passports!!
Pic by Heison Chak…

Yet another Tech boat! Casey and John K. …

Steve and John R. …

Eric B., Frankie, Johannes…


Today, I was diving with Eric B. and Frankie. Frankie led today’s dive, and we hung out around the bow section. There were a few people on the wreck, so as we went towards the door and stairway, there was another team in there. Frankie poked his head in, and Eric and I waited behind the first stairway (yes, we were always in sight of each other, and only about 10′ away). We made our way around the bow section, and when we started our ascent, our average depth was more shallow than we had planned on, so our deco was very conservative. The current was pretty strong on the way back, so we were quite thankful for our scooters. 😀 This was the first time that I had taken the XK1 on a Jodrey dive. I wondered if it was going to be too big, for what we needed, but it was just perfect. 🙂

Casey, splashing in…

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 29 mins.
Max. Depth: 201′
Water Temp.: 68F

My dive buddy, Eric B. …

Back on board, then to the dock, where we didn’t have to wait long, to be cleared from customs. We got the next day’s gear ready, relaxed for a bit, then…  a most amazing dinner, and PRIZES!

Our presentations for this evening were:

Heather Hamza – Ghost Fishing (Thanks to Karim, for translating, to the French folks)

Pic was dark, so here is a pic of Heather, getting bunny ears, from Andy…


Blake also gave us a presentation on the exploration in Chip’s Hole! Blake completely eluded the camera, so here is a nice picture of John Rose…

Wayne Green also came in, and presented me with a book, “Shipwrecks of the 1000 Islands,” which was signed by everybody. This was such an awesome gift, and I completely LOVE it! Thank you, everyone!!! xoxo
Pic by Heison Chak…

Karim also showed some secret footage of things that I am not permitted to speak of… So… you will have to wait until next year, for his official presentation!

Watching footage. Daniel, Jeff, Johannes, Darth Nash…

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 ~

Today was the last day of this year’s Invasion. To say that I was pooped, would be an understatement, and I wasn’t even sure if I felt like diving (whaaaa????). I decided to suck it up, buttercup, and decided to load the boat. Instead of doing a T2 dive, I decided to do a T1 dive, instead. So, Frankie, Joanna, and I teamed up.

Waiting for the boats…

Dany, Naomi, Stacey, Dan, Becki, Forest…

Stacey and Becki. Pic taken by Heison Chak…

Today, the Rec boat was heading to the Vickery and Kinghorn, while the Tech boat went to…. the Jodrey!

As we got to Boldt Castle (customs), we had a really great customs officer. He caught John K. out, a little, and had a great sense of humour.

Officer, to John: When were you last in the US?
John, to officer: A few weeks ago (referring to Florida)
Me, whispering to John: Psstt… John… You were here, yesterday!
John: Oops… Um… yesterday!

Officer to Damian: Did you go to the bathroom, today?
Everyone: Giggles

As we parked at the Jodrey, we ran into Bob, who had a few students, that were just finishing up their Tech 1. w00t! Way to go, folks!

Steve and John plopped in, first. Then, Heather and Karim, and myself, Frankie, and Joanna!

We had a nice, relaxing dive, and I was happy that I decided to dive. We swam around the bow, checked out the pilot house, and made the rounds a couple of times, before heading back up. We did most of our 20′ deco at the “deco stool,” then hit the triggers around to the bowl, to finish up. As we did our 6 minutes up, from 20′, the current really picked up. It wasn’t as strong as the previous day, but the surface current was especially strong. We had a fun time, handing up our scooters, but we did manage.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 13 mins.
Max. Depth: 180′
Water Temp.: 68F

We had such a blast on the boat, that I cannot even put into words. I think that Damian had the quote of the Invasion, though. 😀

Yes, the picture is blurry, because I was laughing way too much…

Frankie and Scott…

A Heather photobomb, with Steve, Heather, and John K.!

Casey, receiving his Empress of Ireland coin, and Invasion jacket.
Pic by Heison Chak

Heather and Karim, receiving their goodies. I wonder if that is the stare-down, to see who gets the coin?
Pic by Heison Chak…

Blakey Blake, getting his goodies. Pic by Heison Chak…

Empress coins…

I would like to thank all of our prize donors, for sending us some really awesome prizes!!

Jo-Ann Wilkins Photography – Two prints
Healthy Seas/Ghost Fishing – Ghost Fishing socks for goodie bags
DUI – Goodie Bag caps + Suit inflation system
Dive Right In Scuba – Regulator bags
SANTI – MTM 400 gram undergarments
GUE Ontario – various goodies
Exploration Promotions – lanyards, carabiners, tote bags, speaker gifts (coins/jackets)
Save Ontario Shipwrecks – wreck maps
GUE – various goodies
Thousand Islands Pleasure Diving – T-Shirts, stickers
Kevin Abe – LED backup light inserts
(I hope I got everyone!) 🙂
*Note to self* Be careful of ceiling fans, when throwing blindly, into crowd… 😛

Thanks to Mike and Jen, for filling tanks, and making sure that everyone was ready for morning diving!

Thanks to Chris Phinney, for delivery tanks, in the mornings, from Jen and Mike’s! Pic by Heison Chak…

Thanks to Dive Tech, for also filling tanks!

Thanks to 1000 Islands Pleasure Diving, for taking care of us!

Thanks to River Diver Charters, for also taking care of us!

Thanks to Caiger’s, for everything!

Thanks to Heison, for taking some great photos! Heison and Heather…

Thank you, to Casey, and the other WKPP members that made the long drive up, and for giving to our community. We all really appreciated you being here, and even helping to carry our gear!

I have already started the planning for next year’s Invasion, and there are quite a number of people that have signed up! This year’s event was one of the most fun and enjoyable to be at (for me, anyway – I hope it was for everyone else, too), and I am not sure how we are going to top it, next year. Thanks to all of the wonderful people that come every year, and for coming back! You are the reason that I organize it, and you are all fabulous, covered in awesome sauce. I love that we have people attend, from all over the world!

Rachel and James…

Thank you, Forest, for taking the drone footage, helping out with the Brockville Tourism footage, and for doing a write-up on the GUE web site!

To read Forest’s very thoughtful write-up, click here, please…


Thank you, Steve, for your endless days and nights of pre-filling tanks, for the event! You. Are. The. Bee’s. Knees!

If I have forgotten anyone, please do not hesitate to contact me, and also give me a ribbing, and I will add on!

This year’s group shot, taken by Heison Chak. Jazz Handz!

See y’all, next year!!!
As Cas says, “A Chantellfie!”

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* 🙂

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… 😉

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 😛 ), 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! 😛

For a third dive, we descended to about 83′, and boy, did we ever feel that thermocline! We then did mid-water gas switches and  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. 😉 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! 😛 Ok, not a record time, but I worked my ass off, to get it. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Day 5 ~

Experience Dive #2.  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,  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).  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!!! 😀


Turtle Turbo Alley

10 05 2014

Saturday, May 10th, 2014 ~ 

Ahhhh… We are finally back in the RIVER! With the tough winter that we have had, it has taken the St. Lawrence River a little bit longer to thaw/warm up, than usual. Today’s air temperatures are the nicest that we have seen (this year), at 22C… and sunny!

The van was packed, and we hit the road!

Surface shots taken by me. In-water shots taken by Steve, today!

I had only used my new scooter for a short time, on our last dive, and didn’t really get to do much, since the dive was cut a little bit short. Today, we planned on heading to either Ivy Lea, or to Island 99, for some scootering goodness! Steve was bringing one of the cameras, to practice with, too. On our way down, Frankie and Christian messaged us, to let us know that Ivy Lea was not fully open, but that there were people there, getting ready to open, for the following weekend. They gave us permission to dive there, which was most excellent!


It was finally warm enough to wear flippy floppies!

We got to our entry point, and the staff told us just to make sure that the boat launch was not blocked. No problem. I think we can handle that.

There are some crazy currents, here.

Steve and I finished our gear checks, and Frankie had a glove issue, so while he and Christian were tending to that, Steve took a few pics of me. The current was pretty strong, too.

Me, hitting the trigger…






We went back for Frankie and Christian, and away we went! There were turtles, everywhere! Small ones, medium-sized ones – they were everywhere!





We even saw a few mud puppies…


This guy was standing his ground, as Steve neared him. He stood up, and stared him down.


We kept moving, and hit some crazy currents. There were even a few moments, where we had to aim our scooters straight down, as the current swept upward.



Frankie Boy…







Yippppppieeeeeeee! What a ride!



We went all the way around, and exited at the beach area. Since the camp ground wasn’t officially open, there were no people there, so we had the place to ourselves.


Bottom Time: 56 mins.
Max. Depth: 52′
Water Temp.: 46F
Vis.: A lot of green goop in the water

Christian and Frankie…

Rock on, dude!

I took one of Steve, too!



We dropped our gear, and Frankie stood guard, as we went for a walk, to get the vehicles.

We did come back for him, though. He DID have our gear, after all.




It was such a beautiful day, so we had to hang around, and talk about are most awesome dive!


We went for a quick bite to eat, and we headed our separate ways. I absolutely loved spending the day this way. Diving Goodness, friends, and… TURTLES!


Ahh… Jodrey Goodness!

13 10 2013

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 ~

We gathered a few of the troops, and headed down to Caiger’s. Our charter was in the afternoon, so we brought some gear down to the docks, to wait for the morning folks to return. Once River Diver came in, we gave the other divers some time to unload, then we climbed aboard!

We did our usual stop at Boldt Castle, for customs clearance, then made our way over to the mooring tree. The usual branch had been broken, so we settled on another one. We couldn’t figure out why Frankie wasn’t grabbing it, until we noticed that it was just hanging there. 😛

We went through the usual routine… gear checks, pre-dive briefing, etc… then, off we went. Eric V. and Frankie teamed up, and Sofie and Cas joined Steve and I!

Our plan was to stay on the bow, so we got down the wall, and did a bit of a tour. We decided not to go in anywhere, since 4 people would have been a little much for a lot of the spaces. Steve brought the Go Pro, and got a little bit of footage, too.

We had a little bit of bumper car action, on deco. It was nice and relaxing, but since there were four of us, we did catch a little bit of the current, which just made us have to use a fin, here and there. I seem to recall that someone’s bottom timer bungee may have come into contact with my spring strap. My spring strap won. 😛

We also noticed the vacuum cleaner, that we had not seen in a really long time. It used to be near the stool (at 20′), but is now sitting a little bit downstream.

Once most of our deco was up, we scootered around to the bowl – where the boat was anchored, finished up, then made our slow ascent to the surface, where we did our 1 ATA deco stop – Or, chilled at the surface. There were a few smiles. 😀

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 16 mins.
Max. Depth: 187′
Water Temp.: 62F

I think Cas is fitting right in, as he has learned the “Moose Ears” signal!

The one and only… Frankie Boy!

Eric V. …

Rick had a bunch of Deco Cookies for us, too! No, I didn’t eat all of those cookies!

Group shot 1…

Group shot 2…

Once we returned to Caiger’s, we had to stay on the boat, until we cleared customs. We had visions of the sun going down, and us shivering in the dark, but… that didn’t happen. We were cleared in no time, and the unloading began! We were at a pretty far dock, thanks to the very low water levels. Once we had all of our stuff put away, it was Swiss Chalet for dinner, where we met up with even more friends.

Ahhhh… It doesn’t get much better than this… :o)