Photograph By: M. Gloude
As the day passes and the memory fades, I remember with sadness, watching the incredibly beautiful Village of Tahsis, British Columbia, shrink in the rear-view mirror.  Being my first visit to Tahsis, I had one goal in mind; to see the world famous, cold water Gorgonian Corals.  
As Perseus seeking the head of Medusa, Mozino Dive Site would be our Gorgon's Lair. Together our Hesperides, Jude and Scott Schooner of Tahsta Dive Charters, and our personal adamantine sword, Vel Wilson, dive guide extraordinaire, would put us on time, on target.
After a thorough plan and brief from Vel, we had our directions and timings.  It would be close, as we were shooting for 140 feet, on air, which amounted to 9 minutes of no-deco-time (at 140, 8 mins at 150) to find, photograph and start heading up.  After a quick review of signals and emergency procedures, my dive buddy Leigh, myself and Vel were in the water and descending into the blackness of the Gorgon's Lair...I mean Mozino.
At around 130 feet we were met by some interested, but benign Sea Lions, who seemed more curious than invasive, for a change.  Shortly afterwards, and at 146 feet we landed neatly next to our proverbial Medusa.  Unlike Perseus, our quest was not to cut off the head of these beautiful Gorgonians but, rather, to take our own photos.  Within 6 minutes we had overcome the Gorgon and were moving on to enjoy the splendour of the rest of what Mozino had to offer.
For anyone wishing to quest for their own Gorgons, my first (and definitely NOT last) weekend in Tahsis was an adventure of a lifetime.  Visiting Tahsis is more like visiting relatives that you actually enjoy.  Hospitality is not just a term or industry in Tahsis...it IS Tahsis.  From Scott and Jude, who arranged every single detail of our trip for us, to Raj and his wonderful Indian Cuisine (yes, that's right, Indian food in Tahsis!), at the Ocean View Cafe and Restaurant, it felt more like a family reunion...again...with relatives that you actually like.

I could write for days on my experiences this past weekend.  But, if you would like to read more, or see more pictures, simply visit our facebook page (link is up and to the right).

Dive Safe All...

Photograph By: M. Gloude
I've had occasion to read several articles this week on the success of dive programs in Florida, Australia and other warm water destinations. One theme strikes me as prevalent in all cases: the communities with the greatest success have made it a conscious goal to promote diving as social norm within their communities. Children dive, from a very early age and the middle aged and seniors continue to dive as well.

On the other hand, living on Vancouver Island is like living in an adventure vacation dream, where the problem is not availability, but choice.  You honestly can't swing a dead cat without hitting an adventure activity.  Whether it be diving, or sailing, or hiking, kayaking, climbing or caving; it really is unlimited.  The problem then becomes which, or how many, activities can I devote my time to?

Not only is time an issue, but money is a true limiting factor.  What activities or sports can I really afford to do?  This brings me to point I was trying to make in the beginning...local dive cultures.  If it boils down to money, then naturally the most inexpensive activity should win.  But is that really the case?  Take trail running and hiking for example.  There are currently more running clubs in British Columbia, than there are SCUBA Clubs in all of Canada.  The average price for membership runs (pardon the pun) between free and few dollars per month.

On the surface (again, pun is unintentional), how do you compare the two?  I mean, if you're a runner, all you need is a pair of shoes and some shorts; whereas a diver (BC cold water diver) wears anywhere between $4K-$6K worth of equipment.  But is this really an adequate comparison? 

Most devoted runners have more than a single pair of very expensive shoes; and those shorts...well the newest technical fabrics are really pricey.  If you don't believe me, check out some quality clothing manufacturers, such as Arc'teryx or Rab or Zoot.  So, you see, even with something as seemingly simple as running, the equipment costs aren't so dissimilar.

But what about training; I can run for free, can't I?  Well, I suppose you could dive for free too; I'm sure the first guys to try it had no formal training.  However, that's not recommended, and your average price for an entry level SCUBA course is around $400 CAD.  But is "free" truly the right way to compare training for runners?  A simple Google search for your local personal trainers will reveal a shocking $20-$60 per hour charge for a running coach...yes...to place one foot in front of the other.  How long do you suppose it will take to eat up a $400 budget?

The only real difference here is a cultural one.  Runners make it easy for others to join their "family."  We see them everywhere, they have lots of available clubs to join and they've made it a routine and accessible part of everyday life.  

Diving, however, is somewhat of a mystery to most people.  I meet so many people who are completely unaware of Discovery Passage as a diving treasure or who simply have no idea where to start.  If they do know where to start, they are often intimidated by the apparent costs and training involved with simply learning the sport.  But, as I've noted, the cost of any other sport, even as simple as running, comes with the relatively same costs.

I guess all I'm really trying to say here is that we need more clubs, groups and associations if we're going to grow a culture of diving in British Columbia.  Start one, today...get a free website...post your events so other people can be a part of something bigger.  Give yourselves cheesy names and funky logos so other members can recognize you and high-five you or share a secret handshake on the corner.

Trust me people...dive shops love clubs...and are likely to give pretty good deals on equipment and training, so long as you keep feeding them customers.

Have a good one...

Thank you for reading our Blog!
It has been a while in the making, but thanks to all those that helped, we're finally open on the web.  As mentioned in the description we will attempt to update you on all the important developments of the local, regional dive industry.  Of course, as Mike and I both have international friends in the industry, there is a good chance we will have something topical and international to say.

Have a good one!