2011 – A Year Of Friends and Adventure!

1 01 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Bailey got a bad ass tattoo!

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

Andy and I, at the quarry!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Thumbs up!* Thank  you, Light Monkey!

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

Forest’s Write-Up

More pics from the Brockville Invasion…

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

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

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



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

We even witnessed an octopus riding a wolf eel!

Laurynn’s video of the underwater rodeo!

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

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

I ventured out with some other friends, too.

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

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

Me, in Dos Ojos…

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Year In Video…

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

AGGAST…With A Little Bit Of Awesome Sauce! Part 4 of 4.

15 09 2011

Tuesday, Septmber 6th, 2011 ~

Karen had to catch her flight today, so we went down for our Free Hotel Breakfast, which really wasn’t bad at all, then back up to the room.

I decided to go for a walk, and went down to the Pike Place Market. I had never been to Seattle, so I wanted to check it out!

There were so many interesting booths and goodies for sale. I even passed a fellow playing a sitar. He was pretty good!


I toured around for a couple of hours, then made my way back up the hill. I did stop in a couple of stores, and took in the scenery. I even found a very yummy taco place, where I picked up some dinner, to go!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 ~

I was undecided as to what I was going to do today. I had a few ideas, but wasn’t really sure where anything was. I looked up the Seattle Aquarium, as Kathryn had suggested going there. I was going to call a cab, but then did a search on the directions.. Yeah.. that would have been silly. It was about a kilometer away! Off I went!

Oh look! A self portrait with an orca!

I saw sharks, sea horses, crabs, shrimp, fish of every kind, otters, seals, and I was even there for the Octopus feeding.

I also spoke to a girl about molting, which was actually quite interesting!

Seattle King Crab molting…

Yet another self portrait, with my head facing the wrong direction…lol.

Thank you for the suggestion, Kathryn! I had a great time there!

I walked back up the hill, lounged for a bit, then met Laurynn! Richard came to meet us too, and we headed to  the infamous Cove 2. There was a Tweak dive going on, but we were a bit early, so we decided to go to “Don’t Worry Be  Happy Hour,” down the road!

Of course, we were well-behaved.

Yes… there was much laughter…

Melody even joined in on the fun and goodness!

Bartender’s Mix? What does that really mean???

We finally made our way back down the road, where we met up with the gang. We were not diving tonight, but it was good to be able to bid “until next times” to everyone, and even meet a few more new faces. Marc was in town, too!

What an excellent place to dive, with such an awesome community. An extra thank you to my AGGAST sisters, for such a great trip! In the words of Arnold.. “I’ll be back!”

Thanks for the Awesome Sauce!!! See you in February, for the next AGGAST adventure!!

Below are a couple of videos that I put together, from the trip. 🙂

Keystone Jetty…

Day Island Wall…

AGGAST…With A Little Bit Of Awesome Sauce! Part 3 of 4.

13 09 2011

Monday, September 5th, 2011 ~

Today, we were diving with Bandito Charters! Very cool boat!

We pulled up to the ramp, and brought our gear down…

We then met the Captain and the First Mate!

Once we were all aboard, we set sail for Sunrise Reef. We were right on for the slack tide timing, so in we went. I think I have been here before! Lol. We saw more GPOs, Wolfies, cool looking fish, crabs, cucumbers, sun stars, and so many other creatures that I am just not used to seeing in fresh water!

We had yet another excellent dive, and of course, there was no Shenaniganry had at all. Nope, none…

Bottom Time: 49 mins.
Max. Depth: 61′
Water Temp.: 55F

Definite Goodness was had!

While we made our way to our next destination, there was soup, brownies, cheese bread, and other delicious omnoms for us to feast on. I still can’t get over how amazing it is to have full kitchens aboard these boats!! It really is incredible, the service that we got out here. I “heart” the charters here! Not to mention, that there are some pretty fantastic people here, too!

Our next dive was at Z’s Reef. Another most excellent dive with Laurynn, that involved many tears of laughter, mask flooding, and hella fun. I don’t think I could get bored, diving out here. There is way too much to see, and most fun had!

Bottom Time: 58 mins.
Max. Depth: 58′
Water Temp.: 53F

I am not sure which of the two dives it was, but as Laurynn and I were ascending, we noticed a big Lion’s Mane Jelly Fish, about 40′ away from us. We were hovering at 20′, and making each other laugh, when I saw what appeared to be a bit of filament in front of me.. Um.. yeah.. that wasn’t filament. That was Jelly tentacle.. and there was another one. *Signaled to Laurynn… next stop, up!* *Phew!* Lol.. Crisis averted!

Catching some Zzz’s, after Z’s reef…

Do not forget to stay hydrated, while complying with Rule #6!

This would surely make a nice dive boat!

When we returned to shore, we packed up, unloaded gear, then back to Laurynn’s. It was time to shift shop! Since our AGGAST sister Laurynn had to be up silly early, Karen and I went to a hotel. Not before we went for some delicious Indian food!

Thank you so much for everything, Laurynn, Karen, and Kathryn!!! Thank you to everyone that loaned us gear, tanks, fills, lights, and drove us around! It really was such an amazing experience, to be here. I *heart* Seattle. 🙂

Karen and I checked in to our hotel, relaxed, then went and met Lamont for a bevvie, at a really cool place, just up the road from us!

Another excellent adventure in Seattle!!

Stay tuned for Part 4 of 4!

AGGAST…With A Little Bit Of Awesome Sauce! Part 2 of 4.

12 09 2011

Sunday, September 4th, 2011 ~

Today, we were going out on Scott Boyd’s Boat – Dive Bum!

It was cool to have a full kitchen and head on board. We are not used to this kind of thing, in our area!

Our first dive was on the Day Island Wall. The goal of the dive, was to find GPOs and Wolf Eels. Since Laurynn is known as the Octo Whisperer, I was optimistic! We managed to find both, quite quickly. I also think I did ok, for my first creature hunting attempt! The first GPO that I found, was hidden deep into a crack, and did show a hint of orange colour, which I was able to spot! It was a little like Where’s Waldo, at first ! I wasn’t sure how I would react, seeing an octo, as they kind of freak me out.. coming from me, who had never seen one. I was quite wide-eyed with excitement! 

We were looking in a hole, watching a pair of Wolfies, which was extremely cool. Laurynn had her video camera, so once I had a good look, I backed up a bit, for her to get some footage. Kathryn and Karen were also near us, and came up for a look. Kathryn had her stills camera too, so I backed up a little more, to give everyone some room. As I did this, I looked down… “LAURYNN!!! LOOK!!” Ok.. I didn’t yell it, but that about sums up my level of enthusiasm. I signaled Laurynn… There was a Wolfie, right out in the open! Wait a sec.. What’s that on his back? Is it a.. a.. Holy smokes.. it is.. There was a small octopus on his back!

Yes, there was photographic evidence! Pic by Kathryn Arant!

There is also videographic evidence! Video by Laurynn Evans Bugles/Seainggreen!

So.. on my first Seattle boat dive, we see something as spectacular as this. What else was in store for us??

Bottom Time: 53 mins.
Max. Depth: 77′
Water Temp.: 53F

After our dive, Scott fired up the BBQ, and Janet made us brownies! What kind of service is that??? 🙂

For the second dive, we went to Sunrise Reef. We were waiting for slack tide to “arrive,” and as we waited, we noticed that the kelp went from being completely sideways, to standing up, with ease.  It was time to splash in! There seemed to be a bit of a surface current, so we did a quick gear check, and down we went. It seemed that it was a bit of a pain to fin against the current, and all I could think of was, “This is slack tide?” Lol! It was like that for about 10 minutes, then.. whoosh.. gone. No current at all. I guess the kelp fooled us on the way down, and the current had a little extra for us, before letting up. It was much nicer, now. 🙂 We found more octos and wolfies, and had quite a lot of fun, playing amongst the sea life.

Surfacing to this, is really not difficult…

Bottom Time: 42 mins.
Max. Depth: 60′
Water Temp.: 53F

Yeah… I think I could really get used to diving here. This place rocks, just a little bit…

After our dives, Scott and Janet took us to a really cool little restaurant, on the water.

AGGAST sisters, after another most excellent day of Diving Goodness!!



 Stay tuned for Part 3!


AGGAST…With A Little Bit Of Awesome Sauce! Part 1 of 4.

10 09 2011

Friday, September 2nd, 2011 ~

Short and sweet… Flight landed at Sea Tac, at about 10pm. Picked up luggage, met Kathryn (thank goodness), and headed to Casa Evans Bugles! Settled in, put gear together, and sleeeeeeeep….  

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 ~

Up and at ’em! We headed to the ferry, to go over to Keystone Jetty, for the GUE Community Dive and BBQ, that Koos had arranged.

Taking in a few sights, as we waited for the ferry…

On the ferry…

We arrived to a full parking lot, where we greeted many really wonderful people. Some, I knew from before, and some, I was finally able to put faces to internet names. After socializing a little, we decided to gear up for Dive 1! 

As we were gearing up, we chatted, laughed, and.. well.. Then there was Doug, teaching Park Ranger Randy how to use a condom cath. Yes, this really happened. I can’t make this stuff up…

Time to dive!

Dive 1 – Holy smokes… So much life! This would be my first salt water dive since my AOW dives, in 2005. Diving in fresh water all the time, we really do not get to see all of this underwater wonder. There were so many ling cod, and they were definitely not afraid of us, or shy. I had a few swim right up to my face, which was both a bit strange, and utterly delightful. Laurynn was helping out, so did not get in for the first dive. Kathryn, Karen, and I had a grand ol’ time!

Bottom Time: 45 mins.
Max. Depth: 40′
Water Temp.: 53F

After our dive, we were graced with some wonderful BBQ, delicious nacho dip, chips, fruit, and some fantastic company. Koos and Jeannine rock!

Dive 2 – All four of us went in! We stayed in the same area, and were in two teams of two, although still stayed relatively together. We saw the same things, but it was neat to really focus, and look for some of the smaller life. There were crabs of all different varieties and sizes, more big ol’ ling cod, anemones, and even a giant lion’s mane jelly fish. It was a good thing he didn’t have any tentacles (which was odd, apparently). What a cool looking creature! I had never seen one like this!

Bottom Time: 45 mins.
Max. Depth: 52′
Water Temp.: 50F/52F

What an excellent day, and it was really awesome to see friends, and to meet some that I have only met online! Great way to kick off the diving!! 

When we returned back to Chez Laurynn, we had a little get-together, that included The Biebs, The Princess, and The Pokeman Pig…

Doug also tried to convince us that it was entirely possible to pop a cork from a wine bottle, with a rock and a shoe. Let’s just say that the shoe suffered a terrible fate… and I still think that Koos won that bet…

It was also really nice of Ben to join us, wearing his team shirt…

An awesome day of Diving Goodness, in Seattle! w00t!

Stay tuned for Part 2!