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

Members of the Gagetown base’s Tankers Scuba Club

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

Gagetown, New Brunswick —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 Major (Retired) 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 (Retd) 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 (Retd) 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. For information, contact tankersscubaclub@gmail.com

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5th Canadian Division – Atlantic Canada
Tankers Scuba Club

Image gallery


  • Members of the Gagetown base’s Tankers Scuba Club begin their underwater diving event on October 27, 2018. Left to right: Warrant Officer Warren Reid, Master Warrant Officer (Retired) Chris Hanrahan and daughter Abigail, Pat Bernard, Major (Retired) Bob Bissonnette (in clown costume), Dakota Bernard, Sergeant (Retired) Peter Hall, Captain (Retired) Gilles Turner, Corporal Steve Yank, Randal Thorpe. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.
    Members of the Gagetown base’s Tankers Scuba Club begin their underwater diving event on October 27, 2018. Left to right: Warrant Officer Warren Reid, Master Warrant Officer (Retired) Chris Hanrahan and daughter Abigail, Pat Bernard, Major (Retired) Bob Bissonnette (in clown costume), Dakota Bernard, Sergeant (Retired) Peter Hall, Captain (Retired) Gilles Turner, Corporal Steve Yank, Randal Thorpe. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.

  • Left to right: Master Warrant Officer (Retired) Chris Hanrahan and daughter Abigail,  Pat Bernard and son Dakota prepare to take their pumpkin underwater at Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.
    Left to right: Master Warrant Officer (Retired) Chris Hanrahan and daughter Abigail, Pat Bernard and son Dakota prepare to take their pumpkin underwater at Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.

  • Pumpkin diver Pat Bernard checking the buoyancy of his pumpkin before taking it under for carving at the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.
    Pumpkin diver Pat Bernard checking the buoyancy of his pumpkin before taking it under for carving at the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.

  • Deep in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018, the pumpkin carving begins. Photo: Still image from a video by Warrant Officer Warren Reid, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.
    Deep in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018, the pumpkin carving begins. Photo: Still image from a video by Warrant Officer Warren Reid, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.

  • Corporal Steve Yank with his completed jack-o-lantern in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Still image from a video by Warrant Officer Warren Reid, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.
    Corporal Steve Yank with his completed jack-o-lantern in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Still image from a video by Warrant Officer Warren Reid, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.

  • The jack-o-lantern’s grin takes shape in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Still image from a video by Warrant Officer Warren Reid, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown
    The jack-o-lantern’s grin takes shape in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Still image from a video by Warrant Officer Warren Reid, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown

  • Warrant Officer Warren Reid and Corporal Steve Yank with a completed jack-o-lantern in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.
    Warrant Officer Warren Reid and Corporal Steve Yank with a completed jack-o-lantern in the Scotch Settlement Quarry near Oromocto, New Brunswick on October 27, 2018. Photo: Marie-Eve Beauchamp.

  • Members of Base Gagetown’s Tankers Scuba Club in costume with the pumpkin they carved into a jack-o-lantern underwater at their annual underwater pumpkin diving and carving contest on October 29, 2017.  Photo: Provided by Major (Retired) Robert Bissonnette, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.
    Members of Base Gagetown’s Tankers Scuba Club in costume with the pumpkin they carved into a jack-o-lantern underwater at their annual underwater pumpkin diving and carving contest on October 29, 2017. Photo: Provided by Major (Retired) Robert Bissonnette, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.

  • Following their annual underwater pumpkin carving event on October 29, 2017, members of Base Gagetown’s Tankers Scuba Club and their supporters display their newly-carved jack-o-lanterns. Photo: Provided by Major (Retired) Robert Bissonnette, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.
    Following their annual underwater pumpkin carving event on October 29, 2017, members of Base Gagetown’s Tankers Scuba Club and their supporters display their newly-carved jack-o-lanterns. Photo: Provided by Major (Retired) Robert Bissonnette, 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.
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