These pictures were taken during my first ice dive, at Elora Quarry, near Guelph, Ontario, Canada, on 3 March 1979, when I was 16. They're a little grainy because I've had to digitally remaster them from small prints taken with a pocket camera. I'd qualified as a diver the year before, and this was my eighth open-water dive. The quarry was a favourite local dive spot for my club, the Guelph and District Underwater Association (GADUA), and they organised at least one ice dive each winter. The pictures show me with my youngest brother Hugh, and also show my instructor, Tom D'Entremont (in the blue coat and sunglasses). The final picture in the gallery is of my dive buddy, Steve Aitken, taken a year later on another dive at the same spot.
This first ice dive was an exhilarating experience for me. I was only wearing a wetsuit, but I can remember being very warm before the dive because of having kitted up well in advance and waiting in the sun for my turn. I was using equipment typical of the day, including a bouyancy compensator that was little more than a life jackets (buoyancy compensation being via the mouthpiece hose, and the only other source of inflation being an emergency CO2 cartridge), and no octopus rig. Nevertheless, the dives were very safely managed, as these pictures show, with a secure roping system and a safety diver always ready at the hole. My diving course had extended over nearly a year before this, allowing the time needed to learn all aspects of diving theory and develop advanced skills, and I had an excellent instructor as well as a dive buddy I'd trained with from the outset and trusted completely. I owe a lot to Tom and Steve! And I still use the Poseidon regulator that you can see in these pictures, one of my most prized possessions.
Click on the images to enlarge.