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Jim Elliott

Jim Elliott remembers the early days

I took the then 60+ hour training course during the winter of 1970/71. I remember thinking what a great and enthusiastic gang of like-minded water sports enthusiasts.  The adults were represented by our noble leaders, Dr. Don and Larry! Dr. Don was the true hippy of the club. 

Like many a trainee since, I soon jumped right in with both feet, doing 9 official club dives my second season, ending with a skin dive in the Hart House Farm pond on October 27 and subsequently during the rest of the 70’s and early 80’s: DM’ing many dives, serving on the executive, lecturing on cold water survival (after nearly drowning when I tipped my canoe near Algonquin Park in early May), and coaching the Underwater Hockey Team for several years. 

I offer the following brief memories from those years: 
  • My first Caribbean salt water experience on Grand Cayman in 1976 with Bob, Don and Larry as my dive buddies. Bob introduced me to my first nurse shark by petting its tail 
  • My dive log notes from the New Year’s 1976/77 midnight dive in the Cayman’s “Formal New Year’s dive, great fun, one diver wounded by an Urchin sting”
  • From the Lake Kamaniskeg Dive in 1975 on the Mayflower – I remember clearly Bob and Andy doing what was meant to be a simultaneous opposite side entry from one of the small 12 foot runabouts we rented for the dive. Only problem, Bob rolled off on the count of 3, and Andy waited for ‘go’, but by then the boat had capsized over on him. We successfully retrieved all their gear as our first dive of the day 
  • The Peterborough Ice Flow race in the mid 70’s when we got ourselves psyched up for the cold water by seeing the “Towering Inferno” in the movie theatre the night before. After completing the 1 km race in icy water, the 10 HHUC team members had to crawl the 50 feet to the onshore finish line because our legs were numb and we couldn’t stand up 
  • The U/W hockey team trip to the Sault St. Marie tournament where we rented a Winnebago, and drove non-stop, changing drivers at 80 kph. 

I faded from the scene in the mid eighties, but then renewed my association with the club at the 2002 40th reunion. Since then my wife Sonya and I have enjoyed multiple dives with the club in both oceans courtesy of HHUC’s intrepid dive trip planner extraordinaire, Rebecca!   

Jim Elliott 
Class of ‘71

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Jim Elliott (with Trudy Hall)
Kamaniskeg 1976