Scuba diving lends itself to being a fairly close knit group. After all, we have similar training, love the same sorts of experiences, and we think that subjecting our bodies to the stresses of surviving in an alien environment is fun! Divers also have a reputation for helping worthy causes, whether they be on land or in the water. On December 20th, 2014, I had a chance to help out and participate in a charity event, and it was fantastic!
Tim and Becky, the owners and operators of Kelowna Divers are from the UK. In 2014 they imported a tradition from the UK, the Santa Dive for the SPCA. In cooperation with the BC SPCA and members of the Okanagan Dive Club, they set up a time and location, and the fund raiser was off! On the day of the event, there was also some local media coverage, which is always a bonus for things like this since it helps highlight the effort and makes it easier for it to repeat. 
The dive itself was a scavenger hunt, with weighted baggies containing a chocolate treat and some tickets for the raffle. The weather was poor, with overcast skies and intermittent rain. They had a good set up though, and I arrived in time for the dive brief. We had a maximum depth of 12 m (40′), and 40 minutes, and our goal was the area under the breakwater by the marina, out from Rose’s Pub. For what should have been an uneventful dive, I immediately ran into issues with my Santa costume. My drawstring went, and the trousers ballooned out around my legs, acting as an excellent brake, and preventing me from kicking effectively. After a few minutes of mucking about, I used by dive knife to cut them away. My dive buddy then assisted me in getting the last of them off. Soon after, found two baggies, then it was back to the surface. The whole thing took about 20 minutes. For a couple of lucky divers though, this was a special event, as it was their final confirmation dive for certification!
Unfortunately, my tickets weren’t winners. But the prizes were quickly issued forth to the lucky divers and spouses (like mine!) who did have winning tickets. All in all, thirteen divers participated this year, and $741.50 was raised for the BC SPCA. As a bonus, there were hot turkey sandwiches waiting for us when we came out! I was also very impressed by the professionalism and organization of Kelowna Divers and the Okanagan Dive Club. It was a great way to wrap up the year for diving, and I’m already looking forward to this year’s Santa Dive, and to being more active with this great local diving community!
Video by Dwayne Vincent, see more of his videos on his Vimeo Channel