Dianna Leyenhorst brings her ‘hammerhead shark’ pumpkin back to shore after carving it underwater at Argonaut Wharf on Saturday. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Dianna Leyenhorst brings her ‘hammerhead shark’ pumpkin back to shore after carving it underwater at Argonaut Wharf on Saturday. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

As if carving a pumpkin isn’t hard enough

Divers take on the challenge of creating Jack-O-Lanterns underwater for charity

Some of us find carving a pumpkin on our kitchen table challenging enough, but about 20 local divers added another wrinkle to the traditional Jack-O-Lantern on Saturday: carving it under water in the Strait of Georgia.

The annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving event has been held by Pacific Pro Dive and Marine Adventures down in the Comox Valley for 23 years, according to owner Robyn Fyfe, but this year they partnered up with OceanFix.ca Dive Centre in Campbell River – formerly known as Beaver Aquatics – and hosted it at Argonaut Wharf.

Former owners Bill Coltart and Sharon Morgan started the event in the Comox Valley, and when the Fyfes took over the business in 2019, they knew they needed to keep it going.

“It’s always a popular event for the divers, and the money goes to charity, so it’s an important tradition,” Fyfe says. “This year the money is going to the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre, and Sieffert’s Farm Market, as they do every year, gave us a bunch of pumpkins to help out.”

The idea is relatively simple: divers will show up – hopefully in costume – don their SCUBA gear, pick a pumpkin from the pile and go carve it under the water.

The complication, however, is that pumpkins float.

They also need to hollow out the guts before carving it, just like you would any other carved pumpkin, and the lid needs to come back with you when you bring it back to shore.

“It’s like dragging an upside down bucket of air to the bottom,” says local diver Ken Blackburn, “but once you manage to get the lid off and the guts out and get some rocks in it, the actual carving goes pretty easily. My lid got away from me, but thankfully someone saw it and grabbed it for me and brought it back.”

That “someone” was actually local artist Eiko Jones, who ended up winning the carving contest with his “self portrait.”

“I knew I was going to do the pilings when I went in,” Jones says, “but I didn’t know what else to do, so I decided to do a self portrait. It turned out pretty well. It’s me with a camera, filming a rockfish.”

He can’t really make a comparison between carving a pumpkin above or below the surface of the water, however.

“I don’t think I’ve carved a pumpkin ever,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve done watermelons and and made them into flowers and stuff for decorative table displays and stuff, but I’ve never really been a big Halloween person, so I’ve never done a pumpkin.”

OceanFix.ca co-owner Roger McDonell was on hand taking photos and video of the event, and says he’s happy to be a part of the annual event.

“Diving is a very social sport,” McDonell says, “and, of course, it’s been challenging during the COVID times, so it’s nice to get people together like this when you can. People can keep their distance while still being together. And it’s great that we can bring the two diving communities together under one umbrella, so to speak, and maybe make some new friends.”

In the end, $300 was raised for the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre from the event.

You can find out more about the two dive shops at www.oceanfix.ca and www.pacificprodive.com

They are also on Facebook at facebook.com/oceanfixca and facebook.com/PacificProDive

Check out some of the carving action, thanks to Oceanfix.ca



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverHalloween

Just Posted

Ultra runner Jerry Hughes circles the track at the Cowichan Sportsplex as he nears the end of his six-day Canadian record attempt and fundraiser in November. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Ultramarathon a few miles short, but many dollars beyond its goal

Six-day run misses record bid, but Help Fill A Dream fundraiser a big success

(file)
Editorial: Please don’t travel for the holidays

You are in control of what this province will look like come New Year’s Eve

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. Dr. Henry frequently reminds people that there are those people who cannot wear a mask for legitimate reasons and they don’t have to. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island woman reminds community that not everyone can wear a mask

People enforcing mask rules frequently ignore that possibility

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: City dismantling Wesley Street homeless encampment after fire

Fire broke out at about 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

The notice at Port Hardy Secondary School’s athletic track. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
North Island school tracks closed to the public during school hours

To keep P.E. classes safe, the restriction went into effect Nov. 30

Some older Canadian currency will have its legal status removed at the start of the new year. (Pixabay.com)
Bank of Canada puts the boots to old bills

$1 and $2, $25 to $500 and $1,000 lose cash value Jan. 1, 2021

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Most Read