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Last weekend

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Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
4,731
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Here's how my weekend was. I drove to Jasper, in the Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada, which is a 4 hour drive from my apartment in Edmonton, but well worth it. I left Friday morning, avoiding all the highway weekend traffic. After setting up my tent at the campsite, I headed to Lake Annette. This lake is in a beautiful setting, surrounded by mountains and evergreens. It was a beautiful sunny day with a few clouds in the sky. I put on my 5mm Picasso suit, Cressi mask, Cressi Gara fins,6mm mits, and Apneist computor. Swimming out to get into deeper water, I noticed that there were a lot more fish in the lake than usual. This is a small lake, maybe a kilometre wide in it's widest spot, so it is unusual to see a lot of fish.
Water temp was 14C, very comfortable in this suit, and being that this lake is fed from glacier springs, visibility was 15 metres horizontal. I dove for 2 hours to the max depth of 16metres, watching the male sucker fish chase the females around to spawn. I practiced sneaking up on fish to the best of my ability; these fish are used to scuba divers so they aren't spooked unless you start acting like a predator....sit and wait on the bottom is the best.
Being that freedivers do not exist in this neck of the woods,I have no dive buddies up here, so I restricted my dives to a max of 2 minutes, with at least 3 minute breathe-ups. Nearly every time I go freediving, I reach a point where I really am just HERE, living in the now of the moment, and this day was no exception. Returning to the surface after a dive, tasting the air, floating in Nirvana, I thanked the Creator for my day, my air, the water, and my life.
Returning to the shore, I got changed, cracked open that thermos of decaf and thanked the Creator for Coffee, too. Cheers, Erik
 

scott

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2001
259
8
123
Lake Annette

Erik,

Enjoyed reading about your weekend at Lake Annette in Jasper. I am happy to say that I was there freediving (see below) on Friday, June 15th (thanks to your earlier comments and directions). It was beautiful and quite enjoyable.

As to the actual freediving, it was really more snorkeling. As you know, I was just visiting Jasper from Florida and so was not very well-equipped. I only use a shorty spring wetsuit (if any) in the Florida springs but I did pack an old full scuba wetsuit that I bought from a pawn shop for $20 several years ago. I also only packed regular swim fins since my Picasso fins wouldn't fit in my suitcase. No weights, of course. Well, the zipper broke on the wetsuit as I put it on and so I wore a t-shirt just to keep some of the cold water from pouring in.

I'm sure you can imagine the inefficiency of this equipment and, combined with the cold water and the high altitude from a sea-level living guy, about 25-30' was all I could kick down to. Not very graceful looking but I did have fun and was glad I did it.

Thanks also for the other info on the Jasper area - I did it all (Maligne Canyon, the Tramway, the Icefields, etc.)

Hope to do it again someday.

Take care,

Scott
 
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Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
4,731
753
218
Jasper

Scott, glad you enjoyed yourself, despite the gear! I was there that day too, with my wife. I had a spare 5mm suit, extra lead and long fins....too bad we didn't hook up. I think it's awesome that you made it underwater at all without a weight belt.
Jasper is a beautiful place, and it looks like it might stay that way. The town of 4800 used to be governed from Ottawa, since it is in a national park. It took them 3 years to get a stop sign put up in front of the elementary school. Now there is an elected town council that seems to have the support of the community. For example, the town has 4800 residents, and will be capped at 5200, unlike Banff, which used to be a small town, but as you saw, is not anymore. Hopefully sane minds will prevail over the almighty dollar, and the place will remain as it is;) Take care, and maybe you can show me some of those crystal springs in Florida some day? Cheers, Erik
 

scott

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2001
259
8
123
Erik,

I can't believe you were at Lake Annette the same day I was - it would have been cool seeing you. I'm sure I would have recognized you - your being an "experienced looking" freediver. I'm equally sure that you would have not recognized me - "Who is this guy attempting to freedive in a t-shirt and swim fins?" Too bad we didin't hook up.

Thanks for the info on Jasper. I hope it remains small and beautiful. Do you ever freedive in the lake down the road from Lake Annette - the one with the Jasper Park Lodge? That lake looks so beautiful - especially from the Lodge looking out over it (too $ for me to stay there).

If you are ever in Florida, I'll be happy to show you some great springs to freedive.

Take care,

Scott
 

JMD

Well-Known Member
May 10, 2001
374
19
108
47
Hey Scott,

As a transplanted Calgary native now living in Tampa I was wondering if you could suggest some places to dive.

We're off to Ginnie Springs this weekend. I've heard blue springs is supposed to be nice also.
 

scott

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2001
259
8
123
Spring Diving

JMD,

There are so many great spring dives in Florida - I'll try to be brief in my reply. Ginnie Springs is beautiful - there are multiple springs on the property. It is crowded over the summer and it caters to scuba. I used to make it my "base camp" for the 30 or so springs in the area but the campgrounds became full of late-night partiers (I camp with my two sons - ages 10 and 11). But if you have never been, it is certainly a good place to start.

You mention Blue Springs - there are about 10 Blue Springs in the state. One of them is about 1 mile up-river from Ginnie Springs (my new base when I do the Sante Fe river springs). This spring (in my opinion) is more beautiful than Ginnie - white sandy bottom and tons of fish. It's only about 25' deep but you can explore a little into the cave (no scuba allowed). Very family friendly. If you go there, don't miss Naked Springs on the property - small but beautiful.

About 45 minutes west of this area, you'll find numerous great springs along the Suwanee (not to mention the Ichetucknee). Troy Springs (need a boat to access), Peacock Springs and Little River Springs are my favorite. I can give you more info if you need it but Ginnie and Blue may be enough to keep you busy for the weekend.

One other Blue Springs that I will mention is the one in Volusia County (about 20 minutes from my house in Lake Mary). Not as beautiful as others but deep (I'm told to 120' - 80' has been my limit, as it begins to slope into the cave as opposed to being a stright drop) and lots of fish and manatees (in the winter) along the spring run. I go there about 3 times a month.

I hope this has been helpful. I have been visiting the Florida springs for about 4 years and have been to at least 75 of them. Much more to say if you are interested.

Take care,

Scott
 
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