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… :P
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. :D 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?
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. :D
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…
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… :P
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!”