Okanagan divers carve pumpkins below the surface

Members of the Okanagan Diving Club submerged in the waters of Otter Bay, Vernon, on Saturday

More than a dozen members of the Okanagan Diving Club got together for some pre-Halloween pumpkin carving, but they did so in a place that only a group of passionate divers would consider: underwater.

The Okanagan Diving Club held its 38th annual underwater pumpkin carving event on Saturday afternoon in the shallows of Otter Bay in Vernon.

The event, co-hosted by Innerspace Water Sports, required participants to carve a pumpkin with a diving tool only while fully submerged in the water, with a trophy going to the best sub-aquatic jack-o’-lantern as picked by the judges.

“It’s definitely challenging,” said Brooke Astells as she attempted to warm up despite a frigid wind, minutes after emerging from the water with her pumpkin freshly carved. “I think the smartest thing to do is cut holes in it so that it fills with water and sinks.”

Astells has been diving for six years and was one of the event’s organizers. She’s been diving for six years and first learned how to dive tropically in Australia, but treats diving in Canada in October as a rite of passage.

“It’s that much more rewarding when you do it (while) bearing the cold,” she said.

READ MORE: Halloween event guide for Vernon and the Okanagan

WATCH: Fearsome theatrics at Armstrong’s Caravan Farm

“This time of year in Canada we usually dive in dry suits … today mine sprung a leak so it was filled with water, but I just kind of used it like a wet suit.”

Despite the cold – and the awkward challenge of trying to keep a buoyant pumpkin submerged while carving it – Astells found the experience rather tranquil.

“Once you’re down there it’s pretty relaxing, and if you can get a good grip on it it’s just like carving a pumpkin above water really.”

The event is mainly about having fun and working on a decidedly unique diving skill, but it’s also about cleaning up the bay.

“The main thing is just to have some fun carving a pumpkin underwater, but there’s also an environmental component where we’ll go in and we’ll pull out stuff to use in our display,” explained Brad Houghton, president of the Okanagan Diving Club.

“There’s always lots of trash in the local lakes so any chance we can get to be eco-friendly and pull out some of that stuff when we find is great, and then we can use the trash to decorate the pumpkins.”

Not knowing what decorations they’ll have to work with until they find them means the parcicipants have to get creative when it comes time to jazz up their jack-o’-lanterns for the judges.

“I found quite a few golf balls, a beer bottle and a half-decayed salmon,” said Houghton. Despite the odd assortment of items, he was confident his carve would put him over the top.

“I have a good feeling about it.”


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Just Posted

Star Gazing: Observing dark energy

Calculating the mysteries of the universe

Penticton Vees acquire forward Lakoduk from Victoria Grizzlies

The Penticton Vees have acquired forward Darwin Lakoduk in a trade with the Victoria Grizzlies

Young Penticton mom hoping to beat cancer prognosis

Kelly Lerbekmo is not ready to leave her son without a mother

Penticton arts, culture and sports programs get boost of over $500,000 thanks to provincial grant

The B.C. Community Gaming Grants program will be distributing $505,900 to 18 local groups

Okanagan school districts reach agreement with CUPE Local 523

The union represents members who provide a variety of services to support students

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

Letter: Albertans swallowed propaganda of oil and gas economy fearlessly

Entrenched in a waning industry now, Albertans scramble in fear bolstering leaders

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov appeared in provincial court in Port Coquitlam

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Former Vancouver Canucks player suing financial advisors for negligence

Jason Garrison claimed his advisors failed to take his circumstances into account

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

B.C. teacher said he would use student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Two new fire trucks roll into service in North Okanagan

Ceremony Saturday will celebrate the bright red additions

Most Read