McIvor Lake is a whole lot cleaner than it was a couple weeks ago thanks to a few local divers.
The Campbell River Tide Rippers dive club only spent about three hours in the lake on Oct. 4, but in that time they managed to take about 200 kg of garbage off the bottom.
According to organizer Roger McDonell, our region’s saltwater “is 100 per cent the best coldwater diving in the world,” but the group also uses the local lakes for training exercises, so they thought they should spend some time making them a little bit better, too.
“We’re in the lake diving during the summer months and we see what’s going on down there,” McDonell says. “And like everyone, when you see garbage somewhere, you want to pick it up, right?”
So they put out a call to their members to join them on a scheduled Sunday in October, and did just that.
“We took 200 kg of garbage off the bottom of the lake, a lot of which was around the beach area,” McDonell says. “It was mostly the typical stuff you’d expect to see: cans and bottles, mainly. But sometimes we come across things that make you wonder what people were thinking. We found a ziploc bag that’s full, and you pick it up and find out that someone had filled it with sand and dropped it to the bottom of the lake. That’s not accidental, and it just makes you shake your head.”
They also find a lot of golf balls.
“People head up there and see how far they can hit them out into the lake,” McDonell says. “That’s the thing with some people. When things are out of sight, they somehow think they’re gone or something. That’s not the best thing for the marine life that’s down there.”
They’d like to make events like this a more regular thing, but McDonell and his business partner Greg Baldock took over Beaver Aquatics – now called OceanFix Ventures – two years ago, and it took some time to get their flippers under them, so to speak, so the cleanup events kind of kept getting pushed aside.
“We’ve done it a few times, but we haven’t done it for a couple of years,” he says. “We’d like to make it an annual thing if we could, because it’s certainly needed.”
And if you’ve never heard of the Campbell River Tide Rippers, you’re not alone. McDonell says despite the club being one of the oldest diving organizations in B.C., they’re kind of a hidden gem.
“They’ve been around as a loose-knit organization of divers since I don’t even know when,” McDonell says. “When I came here in 1978 they’d already been around for a while and going strong. But we’re not a really high-profile club. It’s like the tide. It ebbs and fades. Right now it’s basically an email list of people who get together once in a while on weekends and go for a dive.”
If you’re interested in what the club is doing or want to get involved, you can contact them at the dive shop down on Maple Street, give them a call at 250-287-7652 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“It’s not tied to the shop,” McDonnell says, “so if people feel allegiances to one shop or whatever, it’s no problem at all. We take the lead in organizing the club, I guess, but it’s not about the store. It’s just about getting together and enjoying our waters as often as we can.”
You can also find them on Facebook at facebook.com/CampbellRiverTideRippers.