The Unalaska Diver's Association held their annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving competition this past Sunday, October 25th. This is the third consecutive year the pumpkin carving has been held by the Non-Profit Dive Association, with several earlier carving events scattered throughout previous years. The weather was ferocious, and the planned dive location of the beach in front of The Norwegian Rat Saloon was under siege by four and five foot breaking waves. While potentially fun, the waves would have led to smashing pumpkins rather than carving pumpkins. The back-up location of the goose ramp was also less than ideal, so after a quick pre-dive meeting, 9 divers headed to the beaches along the back of Little South America.
Divers, donning pumpkins, vikkys, and dive knives, entered the water shortly after 1:00 pm with one spectator- who was willing to brave the elements- looking on. Upon their arrival to the underwater world, divers were greeted through the murky near-surface visibility by a troop of curious juvenile sea lions. Below the surface visibility improved, and divers tested their skills of focus and concentration while carving with sea lion antics taking place mere feet from their own bubbles. Shortly after all divers were submerged, the first divers began emerging with deftly carved pumpkins. As the last divers were walking towards shore, and all bubbles commenced, the sea lions looked on as if saying their goodbyes.
The waterlogged pumpkins were delivered to The Rat for their unveiling, evaluation, judging, and festive display. The divers were joined by the crew of the F/V Wizard, who became the judges for the competition. It was a tough choice for judges, but after some deliberation and few humorous quips such as "did someone take your knife and give you a pen?" and "here a few bucks: go buy a new knife", the winners were announced.
The award for Most Inspirational went to Mr. Barry Malpass who carved "DIVE UNALASKA" into his pumpkin.
The award for Most Creative was collected by Ms. Mary Heimes with her pumpkin showing a diver carving a pumpkin and "UDA 2015."
The award for Best of Dive went to Mr. Josh Good and who carved a shark (or a sculpin depending who you ask) into the face of his pumpkin.
Winners collected some sweet swag including coupons for sandwiches at the Rat, Sunday Brunch coupons for the Grand, and a brand new pair of sweet dive gloves goes to the Best of Dive. All participants and judges were provided with UDA's trademark "Dive Unalaska" stickers with the red and white of a dive flag covering Unalaska Island on a black background.
The Unalaska Diver's Association would like to thank all of the participants in this years dive, our lone spectator, the crew and observer of the F/V Wizard, and The Norwegian Rat Saloon for hosting the event and displaying the pumpkins for the rest of the week!