Friday, October 3, 2014

GUE-BC RoundUp 26-28/09/2014

The GUE-BC Fall RoundUp had been planned for quite some time. The idea came after the successful GUE-BC WreckFest in 2013. Hopefully these events would become regular, attracting both new and old attendees every year. For this, the first RoundUp, there were many people to thank. Richard Lundgren for presenting on the Mars Project, RockFish Divers, SeaDragon Charters, Wilson Diving, Pacific Pro Dive, as well as Liz Tribe, Guy Shockey and Jim Dixon for providing the lion's share of logistics and organizing. Thank you to you all!

I put all the pictures I gathered here: GUE-BC Fall RoundUp 2014

For me, I was lucky enough to just be able to enjoy the weekend fun. I crossed over on Saturday to attend the social get-together at the Fernwood Inn pub. On the ferry ride over, it was a very beautiful evening.

I was also lucky enough to see a group of seals swimming off the side of the ferry. You never knew what you would see on the wild west coast!

The get-together at the Fernwood was a great time. There were at least 25 people there. I had some trouble keeping up with all the conversations! I met some new people, namely Steve Ratcliffe and Chris Locker, and was able to catch up with some old friends too. Kevin Swoboda had just completed his Tech 1, and Alex Adolfi had completed his Tech 2. It was great to catch up with Alex and Rebekah, and Kathryn. I had not seen Alex and Bex since the wreck-fest, and I had not seen Kathryn since we had dove on the wrecks several months previously. Funny enough, no one remembered to take any pictures during the event! I only remembered when I was half-way to Ladysmith (Jim Dixon graciously put up 5 of us at his house). The community really came together to make this weekend such a success. I'm sure Guy was up late doing fills many times. Thanks Guy!

At Chez Jim, I stayed in his trailer along with John Campbell. It was a lot of fun "camping out". I certainly appreciated the better bed of the camper though! In the morning Jim surprised us all with a pancake breakfast. I would recommend staying with Jim and Tori any day! Liz Tribe dropped buy as well, and scored some left over pancakes.

On the Sunday, the plan was to dive with the SeaDragon. Other groups were going to Madronna for some shore dives. I got to team up with my new friend Steve Ratcliffe from Seattle for a tech dive on the Cape Breton. It was a fabulous dive, and I had not felt so comfortable and switched on for a dive in a long while. I got some video here.

 Visibility was pretty good, and you could really appreciate the scale of the wreck. There were four dive teams, and everything went like clock-work. Unfortunately we couldn't do a second dive as the Seattle folks needed to catch the 3pm ferry. But we planned for a longer single dive, and that worked out great. I think it was the longest duration technical dive I had been on to date, so it was a record for me. On the dive we saw a number of giant cabezon and lingcod, along with the requisite plumose anemones, cloud sponges and rockfish. Steve and I circumnavigated the wreck, swam up and down the outside deck passages and just had a good time.

O the way back, we didn't forget to get a group shot this time. From left to right, Alex, myself, Dave, Rebekah, Steve, Teresa, Mike and John.

The day's weather was very strange. As you could see in the above picture it was sometimes completely sunny, then completely foggy.

There were many other great pictures from the weekend as well. Here are two from Madronna.

And here is one from the Friday diving on the Nanaimo Wrecks.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend. I wish I could have taken part in all of it, but the part that I did participate in was amazing. I could not wait until next year!

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