Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Cali Scuba Adventure is complete

Well, we've been back from our 10 day scuba diving/Disney road trip and I figured I should get a post up...

First off, the trip was awesome! We did 2 shore dives at Shaw's Cove, Laguna Beach, which was a totally different experience from shore diving in the PacNW... Saw tons of Garabalis, an octopus, moray eel and these huge sea slugs. We also did 2 dive boat charters on the Magician ( Our first trip was with our friends Mark and Erica Vermill, both dive instructors. We had a blast, though the seas were a bit rough on the crossing to Catalina Island. We had 3 great dives and got to experience how bright the waters of SoCal can be. Our second dive was just Shell and I, right before we left to come home. 3 great dives, which included seeing dolphins and a pod of whales on the crossing, a shark, bat ray and two smaller rays while diving and several lobsters. We where hoping for a close encounter with several of the sea lions that were swimming around, but they left us along.

In between dives, Shell and I spent some time in San Diego (yes, we were there when the big earthquake hit Baja, but only felt a few after shocks Sunday night... weird feeling though). We also spent 2 days at Disney, which was AWESOME. Shell took several for Team Funk, by accompanying me on the roller coasters, including the big one at California Adventure... though I'm not sure her eyes were open.

All together a great trip... we are currently planning our summer kayaking adventures and looking into our next warm weather scuba adventure. Until our next road trip, here are some photos of this trip.



Sunrise on our way over to Catalina Island
Bird Rock, Catalina Island... we did 2 dives here on the Magician

Yes, I am sitting in a pink teacup... that's how I roll, what of it??!!??

Someone is excited about being on the Bear Mountain water ride... probably because she knows I'm going to get wet...
Can we get an "F"?!?!

Erica, Mark, Shell and I on the Magician

Getting ready for our last dive of the trip... a couple that dives Force Fins together, stays together

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Late February Adventures

It's been pretty busy around mine and Shell's house since I got back from the Rogue... The beginnings of Spring are in full bloom in Portland, which has increased my yard work exponentially.

However, Shell and I have had a chance to get out and have fun (not that yard work isn't fun, just a different kind of fun)... We've paddled 4 times since I got home and went diving once at Octopus Hole, just north of Hoodsport, Washington:

It was a great set of dives... getting better at my air consumption and bouyancy. Shell and I did a 38 minute and 41 minute dive along the wall and saw several Giant Pacific Octopi and a huge Wolf Eel. I'm totally loving scuba diving!

On tap for the next couple of weeks: paddling this weekend with our friend Ann Stephenson for her 40th B-Day paddle, diving Sunday up on the Canal... more paddling and diving the following 2 weeks, then off on our road trip adventure to California... diving and paddling our way from San Diego to Monteray, with a stop at Disney for good measure :-)

Talk to you all soon!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back from the Rogue

A great trip... great weather and I got to see Coffee Pot rapid upside down... what more can you ask for?

Here are photos:

Until next time...


Friday, February 12, 2010

Rogue Bound

Well, I'm leaving this afternoon for another President's Day weekend Rogue trip. Flows are predicted to be a bit higher than last year, but temps look to be pretty warm... SWEET!

Last weekend Shell and I were joined by my buddy Mike Glass and his wife Stephanie on the Middle White Salmon so I could get a warm-up paddle in prep for this coming weekend... what with scuba diving, I hadn't been in my boat in about 2 weeks. It was a great run (punctuated by carnage early one, which required myself, Mike and another guy to chase a boat for about 2.5 miles) with the river running at a juicy 3 feet... I always forget how much fun that run is at over 3 feet on the guage. We hit Everybody's Brewing in White Salmon, Washington afterwards for some food and beer and then went home to crash in the hot tub.

Okay, I should get some work done today before I hit the road... pictures and tales of epic adventure to come.



Monday, February 1, 2010


Well, I finally did it! This past weekend Shell and I drove up to the Hood Canal in the Puget Sound area of Northwest Washington and Mike's Beach Resort ( for my Open Water Scuba Diving Certification.

In order to obtain your certification, you need to attend classes (both formal and pool sessions), which culminates in students having to successfully execute 4 open water dives, along with repeating skills learned in the classroom portion. In our case, the open water dives would be in Puget Sound, a most salt water waterway, which adds a different aspect to diving (the bouyancy you experience in fresh water versus salt water is dramatically different).

Our first weekend got froze out, but this past weekend was mild (upper 40's/low 50's), with some drizzle on Saturday and sun on Sunday. Shell brought her gear up too, as Mike's was hosting about 50 divers, including my 5 classmates.

I was pretty nervous Saturday morning as I suited up for my first of 3 dives, but once I got in the water, I felt much more relaxed. We worked on standard skills during the first 2 dives (mask clearing, air sharing, controlled ascents and descents, etc.) and our 3 dive was a mini navigation test, which was super cool. Sunday morning was to be our final cert dive, which the class got to plan. We decided to head out to about to the 50 foot level (our certification is good for diving upto 60 feet, which is considered a "no decompression" level... just think of it as you probably won't get the "bends" if you have to rapidly ascend). On our final dive, we saw tons of marine life and a Giant Pacific Octopus, which was a highlight. We all headed back to shore, where we were informed we had all passed, prompting high fives all around. Props to my Open Water Cert Dive Buddy, Trish... WE DID IT!

After I got all my gear unhooked, I crashed in an Adirondack chair facing the sound and relaxing in the sunshine waiting for Shell to return from her dive. Once she got back and grabbed some food, we headed out for my first open water dive as a Certified Scuba Diver, which was cool. We dove to just shy of 60 feet, saw 2 octopi, a ton of large Ling Cod (4 feet or better). This was my longest dive at about 31 minutes. I'm still a newbie air hog, but I did pretty good conserving my air, especially given the fact that I was getting used to a new drysuit and BC (Bouyancy Compensator).

All in all, it was a GREAT weekend and I am stoked to have accomplished this goal... the only thing that sucks is I forgot my camera, but I'm going to try and find some pics from the weekend to share.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Return to Paddling

Over the course of last season, I seemed to have sustained a minor shoulder injury, which prompted my doctor to recommend taking a month (or more) off from paddling. Well, that recommendation came back in early November, so I held off through Shell's Birthday Paddle (which was rather painful) and then rested the month of December. My dive certification got blown out by a sudden snap of cold weather (ice on Puget Sound... SERIOUSLY!?), so I pretty much rested.

Fast forward to early January and I was headed back to the water. I wasn't entirely sure how my shoulder would do, so I thought I would take it easy my first day back. So, my buddy Aaron Nudelman and I joined a group for a run down the seldom paddled, little known Cedar Creek (a tributary of the Lewis River in Washington State.

First off, this is a GREAT run, but only 1/3 could be classified as great whitewater... the rest is just damn beautiful. We had a great time on the middle 1/3 negotiating the excellent Class III/III+ water and felt grateful to have been able to paddle this narrow little creek due to recent heavy rains in the PacNW. Adding to my personal joy was the fact that my shoulder did not hurt at all both during and after the run, which seemed like a good omen for the 2010 season.

This past weekend, Aaron and I joined a group on the Kalama River in Washington State for a quick paddle down the "Gate to Bridge" section. The Kalama was running pretty high (2,000 CFS on the EF Lewis Gauge), which is considerable higher than we normally run it (oh, around 1,000 CFS). IT WAS A BLAST! Very fast moving water, good sized wave trains, some pushy rapids, big boils and fun drops... we had so much fun, Aaron and I ran it twice... all without shoudler pain.

The next day, my buddy Mike Glass joined Aaron and I for a trip down Jordan Creek (tributary of the Wilson River on the Oregon Coast). Let me just say that after my first trip down Jordan last year, I knew I loved the river, but after my trip down this past Sunday, I'm pretty sure Jordan Creek is one of my most favorite places to paddle. A steep narrow creek (falling gradient of 70 feet per mile), remote setting, quality Class III+ drops, 2 gorge sections... seriously, it is, as I noted to my buddy Mike, my definition of whitewater kayaking. We had a great trip, even though is rained steadily the entire run... but hey, it's Oregon, right???? Topping our trip off was a stop at Coleman's 9n Rest near Gales Creek... If you happen to be driving the Wilson River Highway, YOU MUST STOP HERE! Seriously, the food is top notch, the service is about the best I've ever seen and the atmosphere just makes you feel at home.

Other than that, Shell and I have just been enjoying our new home during the holidays and preparing for a fun filled summer in which I'll celebrate my 40th year on this planet... Not sure how I feel about that moniker, but I'm sure I'll have something to say as I get closer.

That's all for now... enjoy some pics from my trips... next up, my rescheduled dive certification at the end of January and, I'm sure, a couple of additional river trips to talk about.

Take care and enjoy our wonderful planet!


A typical rapid on Cedar Creek
Yea, this is on Cedar Creek... what a cool looking place!
Looking downstream from the Kalama put-in
A typical Jordan Creek scene
Jordan Creek... upstream from the above picture

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shell's Birthday Paddle and A Scuba Diver is Born

December 5th was Shell's Birthday and also the annual birthday paddle. Shell's choice was the Kalama River up in Washington, a beautiful drainage that runs off the flanks of Mt. St. Helens.

We awoke to cold temps and at the put-in the Subaru was registering 28 degrees and there was snow on the trees. We were joined by some great friends including my buddy Mike Glass and his wife Stephanie, along with our friends Tracy, Sue, and Jenna. On our way up, we stopped at the Columbia Inn in Kalama, Washington for one of their famous caramel rolls (seriously, it is the size of a dinner plate). We ordered a total of 5 in the group, so everyone was hopped up on sugar by the time we got on the water.

The paddle was a ton of fun and COLD! I opted to take out my playboat, after a long hiatus in the garage and found it a little tight with all the clothes I was wearing (or maybe it was the bacon cheeseburgers????) We got to do some fun surfing and soak up the beauty of this beautiful river with some great friends.

Yes, that is snow on the trees... BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Mike and I were definitely in the minority on this paddle... we felt very left out, since the girls had their nails done the night before :-)

Stephanie Glass giving the camera her best "over the shoulder runway model smile"

Me and my lovely Birthday Girl!

We finished the paddle up with cupcakes and candles and dinner at the Rheinlander here in Portland, joined by our friends Mike and Stephanie. A great birthday paddle, for sure!

So, I recently decided to take up yet another sport: scuba diving. Last week I completed the pool and classroom portion of my Open Water Diver Certification and this upcoming weekend we have our open water certification dives at Mike's Beach Resort in Hoodsport, Washington. I'm doing my cert through TDI/SDI ( and Oregon Underwater ( Shell is a very accomplished scuba diver, having been a rescue diver for Polk County a few years back, so she is gaining a newbie to take diving and I'm gaining a seasoned veteran... pretty good trade, if I do say so myself!

Initial thoughts... diving is awesome! It is, indeed, a super surreal feeling to be able to exist under water without drowning and that's just the feeling you get in a pool. I'm super excited about this weekend (though the temps are supposed to be in the low 40's). Pictures and thoughts to come.

Until then... live, love, laugh and explore!