Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nanaimo Wrecks and Tyee Beach 23/07/2011

Jason Kolba, Jim Dixon and I decided to meet up to do the Nanaimo wrecks. If I recall properly, Dan McKay my Fundamentals instructor was also along, with a bunch of other GUE divers. It was a nice surprise! Guy Shockey was along too. A few of them had scooters along, and during the dives it was pretty neat to see them flying about.

The day was very nice, sunny but a bit rough. We did the Saskatchewan first, then the Cape Breton. Both dives were great, as always.

After going out on the Sea Dragon for those dives, we decided to do one more dive that day from shore. Jim had to back out on the dive, but Jason and I decided to try Tyee Beach. I had done Tyee before, and it had quite a few interesting rocks.

This time around, we went to the left instead of to the right of the entry. Visibility wasn't the greatest, but we followed some pretty interesting walls and rock formations out then back. On the way back, we did a valve drill. My valve drill didn't go the greatest!

Overall, a great day of diving...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vancouver Island 25-26/06/2011

I had such a great time in Comox that I jumped at the chance to get out to the Island with Todd and crew again. We brought the scooters along too. I rented a Fiat 500 that got lovingly nick-named the "Firt" because Kat read the label wrong. I was afraid I'd not fit everything into the car when I picked it up. But it worked very well. I could have probably fit one more into the car too!

We met at Willis Point for our first dive. I teamed up with Laudhi, who was having his last cold-water dive before moving to warm-water. He also had the reputation as a person who did not seem to breath. They were right. I was on double 130's and he was on a single steel 100. At the end of 50 minutes, and an average depth of 60 feet, he had not even used up half his cylinder. Willis was always a good dive, and this time didn't disappoint.

After Willis, we went to McKenzie Bite. I'd never dove this before, and we took out the scooters. One funny thing was the small sunken boat. Someone had tied a fake skeleton to the mast. When we went past the boat, I didn't even see the skeleton at all!

We stayed at the Robin Hood Inn in Victoria for the night. The next day, we got as many scooters as we could to do a dive at the Ogden Point Break Water. I dove with Alan Wong and Vince janelle. Visibiity wasn't good, maybe 10 feet. The breakwater must have been a great dive if the vis was better. All in all it was still pretty neat. It was a very hot day, and hauling scooters and doubles down to the beach almost caused me to overheat.

A lot of fun!

Comox and Nanaimo 04/06/2011

Vince Janelle told me about a trip to Comox with Todd Powell and a bunch more of the UTD dive crowd. Eric, Gary, Kat, and Arlene were good to meet finally. We stayed overnight in Comox, and went on the Ata-tude dive boat with Captain Bill.

It was a perfect day, and the first dive was on Vivian Island. I remember Vince and I covered a great deal of distance during the dive.

After lunch on the mainland at Lund at an amazing sandwich joint, we did the SS Capilano. It was an amazing dive. The descent down to the wreck was magical. The white plumose anemones ringed the wreck like a ghostly white halo.

Here is a compilation video clip. Todd and crew were doing a tech dive on the Vivian Island wall. It was neat to look down and see them below!

On the next day, we did Madrona Point on the way home. We found quite a nice octopus and set of wolf eels in the rocks. I tried to see if the wolf eels were interested in boiled eggs. They were not!

Topline 29/05/2011

After getting back from Florida, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't completely spoiled by the warm water, and went out on the Topline with Mihai.

We did the Collingwood Day Marker, and Wolcombe Island. The day was sunny and awesome. I had some good time talking to Kevin and Jan about the Florida trip, since they spent a lot of time in that area themselves.

Here is a short clip of Mihai. The lighting made it look quite other-worldly.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Marathon Florida 13/05/2011

I'd been looking forward to this for a long time. Heather and I had planned a trip to Florida for a dragon boat festival and some diving. We ran into some weather on the trip down, so we ended up being late and very tired, so we put off diving until the next day. Serendipitously, on exploring around the hotel, we saw a dive boat moored off the back dock. We ended up diving with Captain Hook's dive charter the next day, and just had to walk out the back door!

We did two dives on one of the Florida reefs. Helping out on the boat was Denise, a great lady. Also on the boat were some recruits from the local coast guard doing some dive training. On the boat ride out, we came across a rickety water-filled boat made of all manner of flotsam and jetsam. Apparently there were attempts by Cubans to come across to Florida on boats like this. I forget the name the Coast Guard people called it. They ended up calling in the boat to the Coast Guard, but we didn't see any people fortunately.

The two reef dives were awesome. I got to try out my warm-water gear, and we saw some great fish. We saw parrot fish, some tube fish, a small shark, and lots and lots of coral. The water was so clear and warm, it was grand. Without all my cold-water gear it seemed very liberating. I still didn't get converted to solely warm-water diving like some people said might happen. Both have their charms to me.

I had my GoPro video camera along, and made a short video of some of the things we saw. There is also a small portion of the snorkeling we did too!