La Doña Kuni at Tuwanek
Usually during the summer I post a lot, writing about dive training and trips, attempts to finesse technique, and the eternal quest for depth. But this summer has been different. Although I got out a lot in the spring with Braden and Bridget, I have barely dived at all since. Partly because of the problems I have been having with my ears, partly because of a lack of diving partners. Matt, my fall-back guy, has been very busy with work this year, and no one else seems to be available.
So, I've been swimming a lot, both in the pool and in the ocean. I will race my first 1.5km open water swim on August 14th along with my friend (and Pete's girlfriend) Linda. Pete will be racing the 3km swim. This will be interesting as I usually think of swimming as a solitary thing: me, the ocean, and the odd seal. During the Kitsilano Challenge I'll be swimming toward a buoy with several other people trying to get there first. Will there be jostling? Certainly there will be splashing and lots of noise. The experience should be interesting.
I am expecting to be exhausted as Matt has rented stand-up paddle boards for us the day before. It is our wedding anniversary and he very sweetly planned a day of paddling, diving and picnicking in Deep Cove. He knows me well enough to understand that this is my idea of the perfect day. I could say this is unfortunate timing but as I am not in this race for any competitive reason, I will just say I hope my arms hold out until the end of the swim.
The 14th is also the day that Doug and Elaine arrive from Toronto so Matt is planning to drop me at the beach, go to pick them up at the airport and then meet us after the race for a big breakfast. And just to make sure that the day does not end in a lazy fashion, we have scheduled the 2nd Vancouver Night of Apnea in the evening in association with the Montreal freediving club, CASM.
The arrival of Doug and Elaine heralds the beginning of a week-long gathering of Canadian freedivers in Vancouver. Doug, Elaine and Sergei and his family from Toronto and Francois and Marie-Odile and their family from Montreal will all be here. Matt has done a bang-up job of planning some great diving and sightseeing for when they are in town: Kayaking and diving in Deep Cove, a boat charter to Fearney Bluffs and the Agamemnon Channel on the Sunshine Coast, biking around the seawall in Vancouver, hiking, and the requisite eating of sushi.
Matt and I did manage a camping/diving trip with Eric and Maggie to the Sunshine Coast and ended up diving Tuwanek, which was awesome. We hope to get back there for more diving sometime.
Posing with a big sculpin
The final event we are gearing up for is another underwater film shoot that I have been hired to do. The production bought the mermaid costumes that Ananda, Mandy-Rae and I wore in 2006 for The Mermaid Chair and I'm in the process of re-sizing Ananda's tail to fit my feet as mine was damaged during shipping. The costume itself is amazing. Designed and made by Nancy Bryant, a well-respected costume designer who designs for Film, TV and Theatre, they are not only stunning but also designed to withstand the effects of salt water and conceal more than 7 kilos of weight. Part of the weight is hidden in the inside of the thighs and the rest in a bra. You see, the wetsuit that must be worn underneath squishes the chest, so the weight-filled bra not only makes sure the mermaid can dive below the surface, it helps her keep her figure as well. Moving the tail with all that weight in it is pretty tough but I'm hoping the week of diving we're planning will help get me back in shape. The shoot will either happen in early September or October off Lily Point in Point Roberts. To see what they look like underwater, here's a (grainy) link to some of the scenes from the 2006 shoot. I am really looking forward to embodying my favourite sea creature again.