Underwater pumpkin carving in Gagetown

Members of the Gagetown base’s Tankers Scuba Club begin their underwater diving event on October 27, 2018. Left to right: WO Warren Reid, MWO (ret’d) Chris Hanrahan and daughter Abigail, Pat Bernard, Maj (ret’d) Bob Bissonnette (in clown costume), Dakota Bernard, Sgt (ret’d) Peter Hall, Capt (ret’d) Gilles Turner, Cpl Steve Yank, Randal Thorpe.

Base Gagetown’s scuba club holds annual underwater pumpkin carving contest

By Michelle Savage,
Army Public Affairs
– with files from Gagetown Gazette newspaper

The recreational Tankers Scuba Club located at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown puts a twist on a Halloween tradition with their annual underwater pumpkin diving and carving contest.

Teams of two divers each take the plunge, sometimes clad in full Halloween costumes over their diving gear.

The challenge for each team of pumpkin divers is to bring a buoyant pumpkin down into the water to the three-metre limit before making any cuts into the pumpkin.

“Pumpkins do float,” noted club president Maj (ret’d) Robert Bissonnette, who is also the base’s Deputy Personnel Support Manager.

Once all the dive teams and their pumpkins make it to the bottom, the carving and creativity begins. Spectators cheer on their carving contenders.

“This event has taken place each year for as long as the club has existed, which is more than 20 years,” said Maj (ret’d) Bissonnette.

He noted that the club’s size is fluid due to postings but it generally has from 15 to 25 members, both military and civilian, at any time. Club members take part in the annual contest free of charge at the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick.

The 2018 event had 10 teams of two divers each, while six teams of divers took part in the carving contest in 2017. “The temperature was colder than last year but attendance was still great,” said Maj (ret’d) Bissonnette.

The day is always an enjoyable success, with a potluck meal and prizes for best carving and best costume.

The Tankers Scuba Club is a recreational dive club located at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown. The club welcomes military families and members of the community of Oromocto. They primarily certify through American Canadian Underwater Certification (ACUC) and teach all levels of courses.