Weddings and Watery Adventures

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Good day fine people. Hope all is well with everyone on the big end of the Internet. I know I’ve just recently posted a little story for you all, but I have another little post I wanted to get out before the Thanksgiving weekend. The above title has two different meanings. The first is in relation to the PADI course that Jody and I are taking, and the second is a recent soiree that we had at the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club boathouse for a wedding reception. Both of these two meanings are worth at least a little post, so here you are. If you’d like, you can also look at some pictures that I took while we were at the pool for some of our confined water dives. After you’ve had a good laugh at those, continue reading the rest of my post. We’ve also put up a whole bunch of pictures of the wedding.

So, first things first. About this PADI course. As I’ve already mentioned, the reason Jody and I are taking it is because we’re hoping to do some scuba diving in the Red Sea, off the coast of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The course itself is pretty straightforward. It was a six week course, with half of the course in a classroom, and half of it spent in a diving pool at Walter Baker Sports Center. The course is offered by a number of different places locally, and there is sometimes the option of taking it 2 days a week, or even as an intensive 1 week course. Given everything else that life seems to throw at you though, we were glad to take it only once a week. That gave us time to actually read the book and do all the quizzes. Each week, on Mondays, we had a 1.5 hour classroom time, followed by 1.5 hours in the pool, which was not in the same place. Also, each night we’d have a ‘knowledge review’ quiz that we were graded on.

Of course, all that learning and practice doesn’t quite get us out PADI Open Water certification. Nope. Not until we actually put in some quality time in true Open water. Unfortunately for us, that means making a trek out to Prescott over the Thanksgiving weekend. Any idea what the temperature might be in the water? Me neither, but I’m guessing just a touch on the chilly side. Luckily, we’ll be outfitted literally from head to toe in 7mm neoprene. On our core, we’ll actually have two layers, as we’ll be wearing 2 piece suits. We have to make 4 dives over the course of 2 days. I really don’t need to go into any greater detail on that, since I’ll no doubt have the story to tell after the weekend.

We both had a pretty uneventful course overall. The textbook was pretty good, with all the lessons easily laid out. Also, the method of learning was a bit of a brute force approach. We started with the readings and quizzes. After that, we would get the classroom lecture style learning. Finally, it was all capped off with the instructional video that we watched in the class. Basically, if you don’t pick it up in one of those three segments, you’re hopeless 🙂 Nah, just joking, not everything was completely easy, but we did get the hang of everything. The pool was a slightly different story. Some of the skills were a little tricky, and we had to make sure that we nailed everything before the open water dives. We both feel pretty happy about it after the 6 pool classes though. All that remains is to be signed off on all the skills on the weekend, and we’ll be card-carrying scuba divers.

So, on to the second part of my little post. Congratulations have to go out to Meghan and Dave, who got hitched in holy matrimony over the weekend. I’ve got to tip my cap to them for pulling off what is probably the fastest wedding ceremony I’ve been to in a long time. Not only that, but the officiant was a pretty charismatic lady as well, who worked in several Ultimate Frisbee references without having even been told to. All told, I think the ceremony was just over 15 minutes. How awesome is that? Not that I don’t love spending time in the Lord’s house or anything.

After the ceremony, Alix and Matt had invited all the people in our ‘crew’ to head over to their place for some cocktails before the official reception. Personally, I’d already decided not to partake in too many beverages, as I was driving to/from the reception, taking a couple people with me. There was also a chance I’d have to transport some sound gear with me at the end of the night. The reception itself took place on the lovely Ottawa River, in the posh area of Rockcliffe Park. The site, the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club is home to many fine rowing sculls as well as small sailboats, and has been around for a lot longer than I have. In the off-season, it is actually used for storing boats. However, in the warmer months, the main hall can be rented out for functions, such as an awesome wedding reception for Dave and Meghan.

Both the meal and the ensuing dance and madness were hosted there. The meal had South American flare, and although it took a little while for the food to get to us, it was a tasty meal, coupled with good company. The only issue was that there was definitely a lot of booze on offer both in the form of complimentary wine and pre-cocktails, as well as the cash bar. The end result was more than a few silly grownups 🙂 Normally I wouldn’t really notice, as I’m the ringleader, but given my sobriety, I got to sit back and soak it all in. Needless to say I was very entertained. Rob and Kev did their best to keep things under control as they were the joint MCs, and they did a bang-up job. However, once their duties were over, and the music got turned up, things went a little nuts 😉

For a good little while we had a full complement of entertaining dancers, but then, it all seemed to end suddenly. A number of people sort of *had* to go home, for various reasons. The party pretty much wound down sometime between 12:30 and 1am. Not that I’m complaining. Not only would that mean that I could get a semblance of a good night’s rest, but it also meant that the bride and groom could sneak away and have a proper wedding night (or at least I hope they did). In the end, I didn’t even need to bring any gear back home with me that I didn’t take in the first place. Jody and I drove Alix and Matt home, which in itself was quite an experience. Matt decided to show his appreciation to the US embassy by throwing a pencil out the window as we drove by, and although Alix told him he should moon them, he stopped short of that. However, it didn’t stop him from picking on me the whole way home. I had to pull over a couple times to tell him to smarten up 🙂 However, nothing I’m not used to anyway, and certainly not something I might not do myself if I was in his state.

At any rate, it was a great weekend, and I’m glad that everything worked out well for Dave and Megs wedding. They deserved a great wedding day, and I really think they got it. Congrats again you too. Stay tuned at the end of this weekend to hear how our open diving experience went.

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