dimanche 28 décembre 2014

#5 2015 GoPro Hero Video

As 2014 is fading away to give its place to a promising 2015, I am slowly making a things to do list for this coming year. The reason behind this is that I received a GoPro for X-Mas. As I was greatly inspired by all the  ‘’GoPro’’ and ‘’People are Awesome’’ videos, I thought it would be nice to make one of my own.

This year, I am not making any New Years Resolution or promises to myself that I won’t keep. But one thing is for sure is that you can look forward in reading stories from the list below. These stories are the event that will fuel my inspiration to make my 2015 Adventure video.

2015 GoPro to do list:

Snowboarding stunts
Stock car Driving (Montréal)
Scuba Diving (Mexico with whale sharks)
Quick Poker Game and Cigars (for ambiance)
Gun Range (Falling plates) (IPSC)
Tactical Chopper flying
Motorcycle Driving (Harley)
Rock Climbing (With JP)
Ice climbing
Awesome Camping Fire (for ambiance)
Turkey (Hagias Sophia, Blue Mosque, Cistern, etc.)
White-water Rafting or Kayaking
New Tattoo
Mountain biking
Park Jacques Cartier Canyon
Cliff jumping
Roller coaster

To be a little more realist, I’m not expecting to have stories or videos of exactly all of what’s on the list. I will do as many of these as I can possibly and who knows, maybe I will have the inspiration to add some things that aren’t on the list yet.

Whatever the outcome, with a little editing and music, I’m sure it will be a great year.

Until next time,


dimanche 12 octobre 2014

#4 Harley Incident

So today is thanksgiving. I’m not going to write about all the things I am thankful for because I would end up with a few blisters on my fingers. I say fingers because my left thumb is immobilized to prevent my wrist from moving. I wasn’t going to write about that either but now that I’m on the topic I guess I have to in order to keep the incredibly huge amount of followers excited.

2 weeks ago, I was having a not so great day at work. The weather was nice out and I decided to go for a motorcycle ride since I had a hunch it would most likely be the last chance I would have this season due to weather and work. And how right was I… The only different detail here is the reason why it was in fact my last ride of the season.

After boosting the bike with my car battery (The alarm system on it drains the battery after a few weeks of not being ridden), I quickly changed out of my work uniform and went for what I thought would be a great ride. Right before hopping on the bike and leaving, I decided to wear my padded jacket for the first time of the summer as I thought I would be comfortable due to the nice little breeze. I then strapped on my bobber helmet, Oakley sunglasses and face scarf. I then proceeded to go for my usual drive and not even five minutes away from home, that’s when it happened.

My head was in the clouds as I was thinking about what I could have done differently during the day in order to minimize collateral damage at work. I was moving at 60kmh (in a 70kmh zone) and noticed a bright red sign that was screaming STOP at me as I noticed it a little later than I normally would of. Unfortunately, I had not noticed the constellation of little rocks that were leading up to the stop. Needing to be a little more aggressive with the breaks as usual in order to make the stop, the front wheel locked and that made it so I was finding myself on a trajectory towards the ground.

My first reaction was to tell myself in a very calm manner ‘’bon’’. Which is a French expression for ‘’here we go’’…or something like it. Suddenly, everything was in slow motion, just like in the movies. As I was falling towards my left side, I made sure to lift my leg high enough so it would not get caught beneath the bike and get crushed. So far so good. I had enough time to look at the ground and twist my body so I wouldn’t land straight on my shoulder and break my collarbone. Check. From this point on, I put my hands out so my face would not smash on the ground and I could not do anything more but wait until this was all over, hoping to have minimised the damage as much as possible. My hands did not stay on the ground very long as the rest of my body followed and my jacket absorbed most of the impact. I went into a short slide and started rolling. At this point the only thing I could do is concentrate on the motion of my body and try not to let my head hit the ground.

After I was done rolling, I saw my bike pass me while it was sliding on its side. It eventually came to a stop. By instinct, I got up and told myself I had to get out of traffic as soon as possible. I walked quickly to my bike, which was about 5 meters away from me, pushed it up on its wheels, and tried to roll it to the side of the road. While I was trying to shift it in neutral so I could bring it to the side of the road, I heard a girl asking me with a very traumatized voice if I was ok. I turned around and there she was just sitting there and waiting to see what my answer would be…I told her I was fine and off she went. At this point I could not understand how a person could just drive off and not physically get out of his or her car to check on a person that just flew off of his bike at 60kmh. After she drove off, I heard it again…this time it was another girl in a different car. Same story and off she went. I was finally able to put my bike in neutral gear. I watched the car roll away as I was moving my bike towards the side of the road…and to my surprise, another car rolled by holding his horn down as aggressive as possible (like I was staying in the middle of the road on purpose). From that moment on, I felt very blessed for this province’s drivers’ mentality and manners (BIG sarcasm).

I was on the side of the road and a little shook up. I checked myself quickly to make sure I had no broken bones or critical injuries. Other than feeling the adrenaline, I seemed fine for the moment. Then, the bike wouldn’t start. I got my phone out and tried to call someone. I do not remember whom, but all three calls would not answer. After trying to start the bike one more time before calling a towing, it started. I put my gear back on and headed home. While I was driving back home, I could tell that my knee was bleeding as it kept sticking to my jeans. At about two minutes in the ride back home, both my wrists started to hurt more and more. I finally got home, parked the bike, got in the house and cleaned the scrapes I had. I finally got in contact with my wife to let her know I was ok. As she was on her way home from work, she got there in no time.

After about an hour, I could not move my left wrist and my right wrist was doing pretty bad also. I decided it might be a good idea to go get checked at the ER. I will not go into details on how bad of a job the doctors did but, I can resume it to: The one and only thing they checked was my left wrist and they put a temporary cast on it (a half cast) and told me they would call within a week to tell me the results. It has now been almost three weeks and no news yet. When I called, the answer was: ‘‘the file is still in transfer and it will be another three weeks before we have the results’’.

For those who are wondering, the bike is fine as it has crash bars on it, which are designed to protect the bike in these circumstances. Also, I got checked at another hospital the upcoming Monday in case there was actually internal damage or something that the other ER missed. Turns out, my bike and I are very lucky in the outcome of all of this.

Finally, the reason I was writing today was to talk about my first half marathon experience…I guess I got carried away with my cast. I will leave that story for my next Blog as this one seems to be long enough for today.

Cheers and until next time.


lundi 21 juillet 2014

#3 Ivy Lea

I got to my dive instructor’s house at around 09:00hrs on Saturday. As he had moved, lets say I got there just a little over 9. He tossed me my brand new dry suit and we got it prepped up for its first dive. After we loaded the kit and carefully planned out our dives for that day, we set out for that day’s diving spot. (picture taken off of google images)
The quarry is located in Chelsea ON, just about half an hour from Gatineau/Ottawa. This is a very popular spot as it also has the highest bungee jumping in Canada.

Under water, there is a small cargo plane, (picture taken off of google images)
a two-man submarine, a sunken car, and a piano. The max depth is at around 135 feet. We suited up and got in the water. As it was my very first dive in a dry suit, my techniques needed a few adjustments to compensate. After the first dive, we came out, made a thorough debrief/adjustments, had lunch and then got back in for the next part. This dive went a lot better than the first. I felt more stable and was able to relax and take my time more. We eventually got out of the water, picked up and packed our kit and made our way to my instructors house for the debrief and to watch the videos he had taken while under water. After analyzing the videos and modifying some kit, we called it a day. We went in “Le vieux Hull” for diner. We stopped at a Thai restaurant called “Chez le Thai”, situated just in front of the 4 jeudis. I recommend this restaurant to anyone travelling in le Vieux Hull.

Our second day of diving was supposed to be a real divers treat. We got up nice and early to pack up and get what we needed for the dive. We had fresh tanks and we were good to go. We drove just a little over an hour to get to 1000 islands (picture taken off of google images),
located just about 45 minutes from Kingston ON. As you can see, it was quite the scenery just getting there. Once we got to our spot at the Ivy Lea campground beach, we finished our dive planning and got ready. We went in for our dive and everything went well on the way down, except. Everything was good except my shoulder dump valve on my BC. It broke as we were starting to descend. There wasn’t much to see other than small fishes and some types of seaweed. We were following the marker rope and at some point, the current shifted. We drifted a little in an underwater current and kept going as it was planned. Coming back up, we had a few stages of decompression to do. On our way up, we crossed the current once again. Up to this point everything was going fine. Just as I was getting passed and out of the current, my feet got elevated just a tad too much. The consequence of this was bigger than anticipated. The air from the top of my dry suit found itself in the bottom part of the suit. Because of this, my two legs were now two lift bags and wanted as much as possible to bring me back up to the surface. My first reaction was to empty the air out of my vest and try to bring the air from my legs back up to the upper part of the suit. One problem, my shoulder dump valve cord was broken. Not being able to dump my air fast enough, I grabbed on to some rocks so I wouldn’t bust my decompression stage. No matter how hard I tried to bring my legs back down or to try and bring my knees to my chest, my calves kept getting cramps. I was finally able to get the air to the top part of the suit and dump the air of my BC from another valve. We got up to 20 feet for our last deco stage finally got out of the water after what seemed forever. Being inverted while on a deco stage is not a pleasant experience.
After getting out of the water, we had our usual debrief and planned for our next dive.
(Picture of entry/exit point taken off of google images)

In the hour and a half we were out to relax and get ready, we fixed the dump valve cord that had broken, and we cut the bottom part of a pair of old wool socks I had in my bag. The point of this was to put them over the suit and around my calves so the air could not expand there and create the lift effect once again. For the second dive, we did almost the same thing. We went down again and everything went fine. Coming up, we started our deco and so on. Finally, that dive went perfectly compared to the first one. The deco stages went well and a lot of lessons were learned. We got out, proceeded with the same after action drills, packed and went home. 

The drive home was long but it gave me the time to really analyze the dives, what went wrong, what I will do better next time and how I can fix the problems. I also took note of good things that happened. All in all, “incidents” like this are what make us grow as divers and permit us to learn how we react under these circumstances. The importance is to keep calm and remedy to the situation without busting the deco stages.

All being said, I would still suggest this place for all divers and anyone who likes to go camping. Ivy Lea is definitely on my Go to list for our next camping trips!


jeudi 17 juillet 2014

#2 Tadoussac

We left home a little later than anticipated but this turned out for the best. Along the way, we were not on the scenic route but had amazing scenery on the drive over regardless. When I say it worked out for the best it's because it permitted us to stop at a small place in Tadoussac called "Bistro de la Baie" and to discover the very best fish and chips that Canada has to offer.
Now I say this because I have been all over Canada and I take fish and chips at every reputable restaurant in the regions we visit. From east coast to west coast and even from inland, these are the best yet for my personal taste. So I guess it would be safer to say, "Best fish and chip ever yet!” Along with us for the trip were our very close friends. They had sleeper over the night before so we could leave as early as possible. Just like us, they could not believe how the Fjord was stunning and offered one of the most impressive views we had seen yet on the trip. We also had the chance to see cottages on stunning lakes, we took the ferry across the St-Laurent and saw the sunset over the Fjord and Sarah even got to see a Loon on one of the lakes.
Arriving a little late at our campgrounds, we checked in and made our way to the sites. Tent set up was fast and effective as usual and the fire was going in no time. The stars were shining bright, the wind was in our favor and the waves were calming as we were set up at about ten feet from the river. We all sat around the fire with our lawn chairs, and on the picnic table, and we roasted our famous golden marshmallows and opened a bottle of Sortilege. The only downfall of being so close to the water was that one of the only things we could hear other than the fire and waves were the hundreds of seagulls signing the song of their people...all night long. The fire finally died down, we could slowly start to see the bottom of the bottle and we noticed that we were the only ones still up in our vicinity. When we realized it was 01:30am, we took the executive decision that going to bed would be the responsible choice in our case. As we were planning to get up at 05:00am to see the whales jump from our camping sites.

Shortly after going to bed, 05:00am came around to let us know that it was indeed time to see the whales jumping from our own temporary back yards. Oh how wrong 05:00am was. We stayed up, stared at the horizon and gave our ears to the sea but no whales were spotted. 
After a good hour or so, we decided that it would be wise to go back to bed for at least another hour. So we did. But then again, the seagulls tuned in on us pretty quickly also. At 07:00am, we got up and made our way to breakfast at "Down town Tadoussac" after packing and erasing our footprints from camp spots. As usual, Sarah picked a spot to eat that had a beautiful ambiance and amazing food. I had the duck for breakfast. The name of this place was called "Café Boheme". At the time it was rated one of the top for breakfast in the region. This started of the day perfectly. Was it ever beautiful outside! After paying e bills, we made our way to the charter shop to get fitted and geared up. The process was fairly quick and before we knew it, we were mounting the big yellow twenty-five people Zodiac to go whale watching on the St-Laurent River. The initial plan was to go 45 minutes out to see the whales. On our way, we stopped to see Harbor Porpoises.
A very common mammal in these types of places. Then, we were fortunate enough to see a Beluga with what we think was her baby. We then set out for our original destination. On our way we stopped again. This time we could see Finbacks and a Mink whale. Hearing on the radio that other boats spotted humpback whales, the driver told us to hang on and brought us up to our destination. There were two of them. They were not jumping out of the water but were not shy in showing their tail patters to us.
In total, the whale-watching trip went on for 3 hours. On our way back we were able to see a few of the whales we had seen before. Luckily, we had turned back when we did because bad temperature was rolling in as we were returning to the dock. After we brought our warm wet gear back to the hut, we found another little quaint local restaurant for lunch. And we were not disappointed. That was my second time that day having duck. "The Pick up" it was called. On our way back home, we took the scenic route to enjoy every last bit of the trip. We stopped along the way at a look out that rested on top of a mountain facing the river. A few twists, turns, ups and downs and we were home a few hours later.

All is well that ends well. We had gone whale watching in the past. Last time they were Orca whales. But this story is for another time. Just to say that I had forgotten how impressive these mammals are to see in action and how gentle they can be. And might I add, the score is Loon: 2, Frank: 0

Until next time,