“DIVE LOG Australasia is striving to constantly produce great reading. August 2020 is a bumper issue. Our plan here is to give something back to the diving industry.”
~ Mike Scotland, Publisher & Editor
In the August 2020 issue of DIVE LOG Australasia, Kathryn and I are both doing our best to give back to the dive industry, and are also helping to make British Columbia’s spectacular ocean realm better known to our brothers and sisters living in the land down under.
“Into the Sea Lions Den” is our latest Third Age Expeditions story for our column in Luxe Beat Magazine and we have been awarded another Editor’s Pick!
DANCES WITH SEA LIONS
After splashing into the ocean, we quickly descend 10 meters and kneel down upon the rock-strewn seafloor. At the edge of underwater visibility, we could make out some torpedo-shaped silhouettes. Suddenly, from out of the emerald haze more than 20 female sea lions appeared. Glancing over at my dive buddy, I could see a young female sea lion inquisitively peering into his underwater camera system’s dome port. Two coquettish sea lions stop to pose right in front of me as third one mischievously yanked on one of my fins. Then as quickly as they had arrived, the sea lions exploded towards the surface while unleashing a whimsical series of un-choreographed pirouettes, dramatic turns and topsy-turvy spins. Soon enough, they returned to swarm us again and again.
Link to story: here.
“Why did you learn to dive and where did your adventure take you?”
This is the question Shearwater Research, a Canadian company who designs and manufactures technical dive computers and electronic control systems for rebreather manufacturers, asked several well-known figures from the international scuba diving community and the Shearwater team.
Video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erBakhvAADo
Given that we had been experiencing weeks on end with rain here in Vancouver around the time I made this video, I could not film my segment in the great outdoors. So, I chose to wax poetic while seated in the Terra Incognita Explorers Bar at stately Britnell Manor. Enjoy!
Mucho thanks to Shearwater Research for their efforts to keep us all connected during this world pandemic. We are all connected!
It is a distinct honour for both Kathryn and I to announce we are now Ambassadors for Mobby’s the largest dry suit, wetsuit, and marine sports accessories manufacturer in Japan.
This has been in place for a while. but due to the COVID pandemic some plans were delayed. Now, it’s looking like we will be able to get in the ocean this summer so we can put our Croco Dry FZ drysuits to the test.
Our deepest respect and heartfelt thank you to Mobby’s CEO & President, Mamoru Yasuda san, for the faith he has placed in us. Mr. Yasuda founded Mobby’s in 1963 from his home village of Miyagi, a serene fishing community in Northern Japan’s Sendai district. A legend in the world’s diving community… he is someone whom we hope to have the pleasure to meet in person someday soon.
In the meantime, some of our pictures were featured in Mobby’s catalogue which we just love.
Also, many thanks to our friends Michel Joseph and George Klikach for introducing us to Mobby’s and their drysuits!
“Gearing Up For A Polar Expedition Cruise” is our latest Luxe Beat Third Age Expeditions column has just been published. And we have another “Editor’s Picks” feature!
Not unlike during the “Heroic Age” of polar exploration over just over a century ago, participating in a modern-day polar expedition cruise does require substantially more planning than a vacation trip to Greece or Hawaii.
Link to article: Here
“To figuratively stand upon the shoulders of great explorers, one must venture outdoors and seize the opportunity to explore the world that surrounds them. In truth, that’s all we ever did. Explore.. Dream… Discover.”
~ Jett Britnell
Kathryn and I both feel honoured to be part of a fraternity that is EXPLOCEAN’s LEAGUE OF UNDERWATER EXPLORERS. Thank you to our long time friend, Bill Nadeau, for the invitation to join such an illustrious band of undersea explorers.
League of Underwater Explorers
EXPLOCEAN and the LEAGUE OF UNDERWATER EXPLORERS primary mandate is to create opportunities for all people to discover our world by promoting underwater exploration. Our objective is to empower future generations to leave a legacy of ecological sustainability and inspire them to take stewardship of the planet and all its waterways by sharing our own discoveries.
More info: Here
Feel the Polar Bug
Our latest “Third Age Expeditions column” in Luxe Beat Magazine is published online today and we have made the “Editor’s Picks.” “Cold Coast: Exploring Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago” summarizes our polar cruising expedition in August 2019 with PolarQuest, a world leading operator of small ship expedition cruises in Svalbard. If you have ever dreamed of taking the trip of a lifetime, this adventure will leave you with a severe case of “Polar Bug.” To discover what that is, you will have to read to the end of the article. This story also includes numerous images that Kathryn made including this polar bear. Looking at her beautiful image captures makes me want to go back… and perhaps insist that we start co-branding our images.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward
On the same day we learned the 116th Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York City slated for March 21st had been postponed until October 10th due to growing concerns over the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Winter 2020 Issue of The Explorers Log arrived in the mail.
As I thumbed through the pages, I came across the pages containing highlights from the various chapters. A thank you to my friend and Canadian Chapter Chair, George Kourounis, who gave us and the Explorer Club Fellows (Phil Nuytten, Isabelle Groc & Jude Isabella) who presented at our “Explorers Talk” evening last November at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Theatre.
As people know, I was hospitalized in September and was still recovering from the after effects of a severe blood infection in the weeks leading up to this event. Some asked… understandably given my physical condition at the time… if I was going to cancel the event? In true “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” fashion, that thought never entered my mind. However, I did contemplate the real possibility that I might not have sufficiently recovered in time? But I knew something nobody else knew? I had an Ace of Hearts up my sleeve in the personage of Kathryn Britnell who is also an Explorers Club Fellow. There is no one else who I would have asked to speak and present on my behalf. Fortunately, I did not have to play my Ace of Hearts card.
Thanks for the reminder George. It was a great event supported by several others who also brought their A Game. And, Oh my, every presentation left me wanting more.
Despite a key Vancouver intersection being blocked by Indigenous rights protesters just ahead of yesterday’s evening commute, and just blocks away from where Kathryn and I were presenting, our “Explorers Talk” last night at Fjällräven was a Full House!
Fjällräven Vancouver Rocks!
Many thanks to Fjällräven Vancouver’s store manager, Matt Armstrong, and his team for providing such a superb venue along with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. Also a huge shout out for our friend and Social Media Content Curator at The Explorers Club, Coleen Clancy, who always brings a bright smile and her camera to our Explorers Talk presentations.
The Gods Were Smiling
It hit me last night soon after I started Explorers Talk with some opening comments. Kathryn had just introduced the first speaker, Jude Isabella, Chief Editor of Hakai Magazine, when it occurred to me that all the months of organizing, coordinating and preparation leading up to this evening was all in the lap of the gods now. Jude was about 2 minutes into her presentation and I’m sitting in the audience thinking… “Ohhh, this is good!” Clearly, the gods were smiling.
Indeed, the Explorers Club – Canadian Chapter Fellows from the BC / Yukon Region who had graciously agreed to give presentations all knocked it out of the park.
Jude Isabella presented “Taking the Measure of a Mysterious Monkey” which was about the plight of Borneo’s fascinating Proboscis monkey.
Isabelle Groc’s stunning photography visually illustrated her long-term study of Sea Otters in a presentation titled, “A Journey into the Sea Otter Coast.”
Phil Nuytten’s presentation “Land that Devours Ships” was about the first High Arctic dives in 1981 on the Breadalbane (a British merchant ship which sank in the Barrow Strait near Nunavut’s Beechey Island in 1853) using the WASP, an atmospheric diving suit similar to the Newtsuit. Phil also gave us an enticing glimpse into some ongoing modern-day undersea exploration being conducted in Greece wherein the Hellenic Navy is surveying what has been called “the Titanic of the Ancient World,” the Antikythera treasure shipwreck.
Among the sunken treasures discovered in this Roman-era shipwreck dating from the second quarter of the first century BC, was the celebrated “Antikythera Mechanism,” an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. All the statues and other treasures onboard when the vessel sank were gifts destined to be delivered to Julius Caesar. Just pause to think about that… gifts destined for Julius Caesar.
Time, He’s Waiting in the Wings
Our primary concern was to respect the audience’s time by not running overtime. As it turned out, we ended the three presentations with 30 minutes to spare. I asked the audience if they would like to see a brief presentation of some underwater images from British Columbia? It was unanimous, so I gave a presentation called, “Tropical Splendour…in a Cold Sea.” Afterwards, a heartfelt thank you to all… some gifts of appreciation for our speakers… and wham bam… we had all exited the theatre spot on time at 9PM.
We are filled with gratitude to all who attended Explorers Talk. Some attendees came from as far away as Abbotsford, Whistler, Salt Spring Island and Vancouver Island. Apart from the Explorers Club members who came, I feel we succeeded in creating greater awareness about the The Explorers Club through our outreach to the general public with this event.
No event of this magnitude just happens, nor is it the reflection of work by just one person. Along with the speakers, the Vancouver Aquarium supported us in providing a theatre and Audio Visual and Security personnel at a price far below what they usually charge. My multi-talented wife, Kathryn, coordinated the event insurance through SBC Insurance Agencies Ltd., and also took on the duties of introducing each speaker and inviting them to the stage.
We also were the beneficiaries of support from three amazing volunteers. We enlisted the assistance of local photo pro, Nikon Ambassador, and TEC Member, Craig Minielly to photograph the event. In return for his photographic prowess, I promised him he would be handsomely rewarded with EXPOSURE (yes, we both chuckled over that). Coleen Clancy, TEC’s Social Media Goddess, performed her social media voodoo during the event, took some photos, and supported us in promoting Explorers Talk in the days and weeks leading up to the event. Coleen messaged me last night, “I have more that I will post tomorrow. Thanks again! It was a great night. My friend Erzsi now wants to become a member.” And last, but certainly not least, our friend and fellow Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow, Ruby Banwait, answered our call to check off names on the guest list as people arrived. Craig, Coleen and Ruby, you are the best! Thank you for your friendship and support in helping to make Explorers Talk a success.
Inhale love, Exhale Gratitude
Well, that as they say, is a wrap. There were several people in the audience who enthusiastically wanted to know when the next Explorers Talk will be? Good question? As I said to Kathryn over a late dinner last night, that question is somewhat akin to asking a mother just moments after she has given birth… “When are you going to have your next baby?” In that moment, you just want to absorb what just happened. Ask me again… in a few months. At this moment… I’m inhaling love… and exhaling gratitude.