Swimming with the PUMPKINS?!!

5 Crazy Underwater Events

Sooooo it’s October and that means it’s pumpkin carving contest time! Just like last year, I entered the local underwater pumpkin carving contest. Since I wrote an entire blog about that last October, I figured I would do something different this year. So I present to you, 5 crazy underwater events that have actually happened. I have only participated in the first but I would love to try any of them some day.

1 – Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest. This is probably the most common of all the events I have listed here. The one that I participate in is on the first weekend October every year and is located at Dutch Springs in Hanoverville, PA. I am happy to say that I won First Place in the “Funniest Freehand” category. Sadly I couldn’t get any cool underwater photos or videos this year because the visibility was only about 5 feet. Enough for me to see what I was working on but not enough light for any camera to pick up. Link to the event: https://www.dutchsprings.com/event/18th-annual-underwater-pumpkin-carving-contest/

2 – Underwater Puzzle Contest. I have seen a few of this style events over the years. The one I found while researching this blog happened off the coast of Green Island near Taitung. What is unique about this event is it was used to raise money for local elementary schools. The puzzle pieces were magnetic so they didn’t float away but this is still quite a challenge. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to control your own buoyancy while concentrating on putting a puzzle together. Another variation of this challenge I have heard of over the years is that a team of divers assemble a large puzzle as part of a group effort. Link to the puzzle charity: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2015/04/28/2003616989

3 – Underwater Bike Race – I have heard of a few underwater bike races and even bike tours. The most original one I came across in my research is run by Discovery Diving in Beaufort, North Carolina. The race runs along the starboard side of a shipwreck called the Indra. The Indra is a freighter that was sunk as an artificial reef on August 4, 1992. The deck where the race takes place is in 40 feet of water. Racers are allowed to use any non motorized method of propulsion to get to the finish line. Proceeds go to the Children’s Mile of Hope. Event site: https://www.discoverydiving.com/listings?id=100

4 – Underwater Poker Tournament. This probably second in popularity only to the pumpkin carving contests. The event I am going to cite in this blog is hosted by South Florida Diving. It’s called the Lady Luck Annual Poker Tournament and its second year was completed on July 23, 2018. The name of the tournament is from the name of the artificial reef (intentionally sunk ship) where it takes place, The Lady Luck. It was decorated by artists specifically to look like an underwater casino and sunk as part of an underwater park. More info about the wreck and a video of the sinking here: https://www.southfloridadiving.com/dive-sites/wreck-dive-sites/lady-luck/. According to the website it operates as a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness for the protection of coral reefs and marine habitats. Event news article link: https://www.pokertube.com/article/second-annual-underwater-poker-tournament-scheduled-this-summer

5 – Underwater Scavenger Hunt. These kind of events can take all kinds of forms. From something simple like an underwater easter egg hunt to extremely complex underwater navigation using GPS coordinates and advanced diving techniques. The event I am using as an example for this blog seems to be somewhere in the middle. It’s called The 1st Annual Dolphin Divers of Sacramento Underwater Scavenger Hunt! Divers use underwater compass navigation to locate waypoints and record keywords. Prizes are awarded to divers that record the keywords in the correct order and in the shortest amount of time. Event website here: http://www.dolphindivers.org/event/1st-annual-underwater-orienteering/

What do all of these very different activities have in common? Swimming. Quite frankly you have to start somewhere. If any of the folks participating in these activities never learned how to swim then they would certainly not be doing what they are doing now. Also, this is only a tiny sample of the countless activities that are possible in the water. For this blog I focused on “underwater” activities so learning to scuba dive was a necessary requirement but there are so many more excellent sports and activities that are possible with swimming alone.