Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello, 2014!

BAD Blog 2014
January 1, 2014
2013 in Review

Wow, where did 2013 go?

I mean, really, it seems like just a few weeks have passed since the last New Year’s Day. So, first and foremost, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Based on my work schedule, and the timing of our last cruise, I worked all of 5 days in December. It is going to be soooo hard getting back into the groove!

Speaking of getting back into the groove, 2014’s first board meeting is this coming Tuesday, January 7th at 7 pm at the League City La Brisa. At the board meeting we’ll start planning activities for the year. The first general meeting will be on Wednesday the 29th, 7 pm, at Mario’s Flying Pizza in Webster. We will have elections for the Board of Directors at this meeting as well, so try to make this meeting if at all possible. Make sure to keep up on either our Facebook group or the BAD website.

So, back to our year in review….

Our first group event was a boat tour of the Port of Houston on March 23rd. It was overcast with a light mist, but the tour was both interesting and fun. Many of us met at a nearby Pappasitos for lunch after the tour. The first group dive was the 288 Lake equipment check and cookout on April 20th. I understand the water was still plenty cold then, but that didn’t stop the BADdies from having a good time.

May saw us camping out at the Blue Lagoon. What a difference a month makes! The air temperature was around 90 during the day, and my dive computer registered the lowest temp at 78°. Saturday night was cool enough for comfortable sleeping in a tent. As usual, all of us had a great time, and there was a ton of food. One thing about a BAD event, if you are bored or hungry, it’s your fault!

June was busy for us BADdies. On the 1st, several of us went to Galveston Island’s annual sandcastle building competition. I have to laugh at the title, though, as very few sandcastles are actually built. Most are elaborate creations, and usually follow some sort of theme. Many times local events or big news stories will drive the design of the “sandcastles.” One popular theme was the Carnival Triumph fire. There were several cruise ship creations relating to that incident, and most were pretty clever with their designs.

Just a few days later a group of BADdies set out for Florida. Thanks to a LOT of hard work by Mei-Hwa, we had a fantastic 10-day road trip. We caravanned from Houston, meeting a group in Beaumont for breakfast and then pushed through to Pensacola.The weather didn’t fully cooperate with us, and we had to juggle our schedule around some, but wow, what awesome dives we got to do! We got to dive the Blue Grotto, Ginnie Springs and the Oriskany. This allowed for many “firsts” for several of our divers, myself included. Many of us on that trip agree that the Oriskany is definitely a must do for more diving. There was so much to see that there is NO way you can see it all on a two tank dive. Both Cindy and I are looking forward to diving the Mighty O again.

In July, we toured the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum in Galveston for their “Rigs to Reefs” program. Texas A&M – Galveston even had a scientific diving exhibit at the museum that day. Afterwards, Rick Decker and Shelby Dill graciously opened their home for a BAD party. That was a fun day, and even though there were no organized dives in July, we still had fun spending time with each other and taking in new experiences.

August had us….wait, August already? See what I mean about 2013 just flying by? Where was I? Yes, that’s right, I was talking about events in August. First up was an outing to Moody Garden’s summer “Bands on the Sand” concert series. The day we picked to go, August 10th, featured the band Vertigo. Vertigo plays a lot of 80’s rock, which I can totally relate to. If you like music from the 80’s, and have a chance to hear Vertigo, I encourage you to give them a try. A week later, we BADdies traveled to Clear Springs Scuba Park in Terrell for the weekend. Given that it was August…..in Texas, most of us elected to stay in a hotel rather than camp. Ironically, though, that Friday and Saturday night had cool temperatures, so those that did camp had a very comfortable stay. We did a night dive that Saturday night, with a glowstick hunt, that was a blast! We had a BBQ dinner catered by a local restaurant that left us all stuffed. I wasn’t kidding when I wrote earlier that we BADdies like to eat! You come to a BAD event, you won’t leave hungry unless you choose to do so.

September had a bit of disappointment for us. We had planned to dive the Texas Clipper in the Valley (South Padre Island) but once again the weather changed our plans. Is that really a surprise, though? I mean, come on…..South Texas/Gulf of Mexico at nearly the peak of hurricane season. You do the math. Sure enough, a tropical storm was brewing down south and cancelled our plans. Now I know some of y’all are probably wondering “Well why did you plan a dive trip in the Gulf during hurricane season, you dunce?” Well, ummmm, you see, it’s like this. There is really only one dive operator who does the Texas Clipper, and they have their annual “Dive Week” each September. The prices are much better then (gee, go figure!) so we thought we’d take a chance. BZZZZZT! Thanks for playing. I will look at setting up another trip to the Clipper this year, but maybe before hurricane season.

Now that our “diving season” was starting to wind down (have I mentioned lately how fast 2013 has gone by?), it was time for our annual Divers Market and Expo. We held it on October 12th, and once again Mother Nature decided to give us a hard time by whipping up a thunderstorm that lasted several hours. This hurt attendance, I believe, but one of the good things to come out of this was a change in how we fed our guests. In the past, we provided BBQ plates, and usually ended up with lots of leftovers and minimal to no profit. This year, we brought in food trucks. Originally, we booked two different truck, Bernie’s Burger Bus and Pho-Jita. Due to some bad luck, Bernie’s Burger Bus had a fire in their kitchen and was unable to attend. Pho-jita was there, and the food was divine! I talked to them afterwards and they were happy that we booked them and are looking forward to doing it again this year. We also brought back an October tradition with a costume contest at the meeting. Several members had some really unique costumes, but it was Rusty Benigar’s gorilla costume that took first place.

And then there was November. Our anniversary party was held at Salsa’s in Galveston, with an “after party” at the Leissner’s house. Cindy and I were truly surprised, and very much humbled, by being named diver of the year. Once again, yes, you guessed it, we had more food and fun than we could possibly handle. Afterwards, several of us went to the Leissner’s for drinks. His “Captain Kirk” drink is like drinking an orange creamcicle…..with a kick! Many of us had reservations at the Springhill Suites in Galveston so it was a short ride back.

Wait, we’re not quite done yet. On December 28th, a few brave BADdies wanted to squeeze one last dive for 2013 in, so off to Mammoth Lake they went. Dave Romano reported that his dive computer showed a water temp of 57°! Gassssp! That’s wayyyy too cold for me! Viz was 5 – 6 feet, which seems pretty typical for Mammoth most of the time. Dave said they were able to heat some water, though, and flood their wetsuits with it. This prevented the cold water from contacting their skin and the dives went well.


And that, my fellow BADdies, is that! I can only wonder what 2014 has in store for us. Hang on, though, as I have a feeling it’s gonna be a wild ride!