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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

ALERT and Penticton pilot team up to talk about Australian wildfires

Mike Bridson has been fighting the fires in Australia, and returns to help more later this month

Harlem Globetrotters’ Hops Pearce is pumped to bring show to Penticton

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to see Globetrotters’ high-flying stunts

Okanagan health care community mourns loss of long-time hospital director

Ken Jarrard dedicated his life in Penticton to health care; he passed away today at age 92.

Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism

The project is part of a campaign to combat ageism

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Videos, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Most Read