On November 12, 2022, Québec Subaquatique held the underwater activities symposium in its new premises at the Maison du Sport et du Loisir in Montreal.
The objective is to bring together all the employees of the underwater world in order to share themes and knowledge with them thanks to several distinguished guests who animated the day thanks to their presentation.
Un superbe colloque avec plus 100 participants. Merci à nos 5 supers conférenciers qui ont su captivé les participants :
- Lyne Morissette avec “Parce qu’on protège ce qu’on aime : Les récits de plongée au cœur de la protection des océans“
- Kevin Brown & Sébastien Pelletier: Without Glory or Treasure: Exploratory Technical Wreck Diving in the St. Lawrence
- Imad Farhat : A path into aquatic Conservation, Education, and sustainability (English)
- Mario Cyr: My life with the sea
Finally, this event made it possible to pay tribute to the various people who work to develop the practice of recreational scuba diving in Quebec as well as all other underwater activities.
Relive these emotional moments through each recipient's award speech:
La personne récipiendaire du trophée Bénévole 2022 est particulièrement impliquée dans le hockey subaquatique. Elle s’y implique dans de nombreux projets, en plus d’être représentante du Club de Hockey Subaquatique de Québec et entraîneuse chef de l’équipe Canada élite femme de hockey subaquatique; un poste qu’elle assume avec beaucoup d’enthousiasme et de sérieux.
During the pandemic, she took on the task of producing updates on health measures. This made it possible to demonstrate the credibility of underwater hockey with pool managers and thus the community to resume the game in a safe manner. She is also working on the development of the Recreational Underwater Hockey Instructor course which was launched earlier this fall and has organized many high-profile underwater hockey tournaments including Underwater Hockey Worlds and Canadian Championships. The whole community benefits from his committed work and is inspired by his motivation and dedication!
You may have guessed it by this description, the title of volunteer 2022 goes to Marie-Renée Blanchet! Congratulation!
The young woman who will receive this award started diving in 2016 to discover a new destination other than on land, and her whole family followed in her footsteps and everyone got their scuba diving certification. In 2020, she is following many additional training courses to complement her practice and dive warmly and safely in Quebec.
She is now a Rescue Diver and got her own gear! Already quite an accomplishment in four years of practice. We feel that the passion is present! But his journey does not end there. In 2021, she has a click: to make her passion her livelihood! She searches the web, does her research and discovers the Professional Diving training at the Institut Maritime du Québec in Rimouski. Only 12 people per year are admitted and must meet all the selection criteria and pass all the tests.
This is her new goal, to be admitted to this program! She trains hard to pass the physical tests and applies for admission. In April 2021, she receives her answer: she is on the waiting list. Then, unfortunately, no news thereafter.
Without giving up hope, she trains hard and hard with a private trainer, she takes multiple additional training courses in scuba diving and leaves her job to move on to another, which will allow her to acquire complementary skills and learn to use tools of all kinds.
Then, she tries her luck again in 2022. She is one of the 2 women, out of 26 candidates for the physical tests. After several weeks of waiting, she finally learns that she is selected!
Which brings us to this fall, these classes have started and her desire to get involved in her field and inspire other young women is great. She inspires us with her determination, her perseverance and gives us hope that the next generation in scuba diving will be strong and passionate!
This journey is that of Kelly Rancourt, our recipient of the Relève 2022 trophy! Congratulation!
For this award ceremony, I will not keep the suspense until the end of my speech to announce the winner. Because to make a good presentation, I find it important to talk about it in a precise way. The project that won this trophy was put into operation this summer, following a preparatory phase that spanned more than 2 years.
Since the summer of 2022, this dive base has been offering all-inclusive and à la carte diving packages on the mythical Anticosti Island, a first in Quebec. Anticosti Écotours has obtained the “3 palmes” classification from the Route Palmée and offers a unique concept on Quebec territory, in collaboration with SEPAQ. The result: a once inaccessible diving area located in the heart of the Gulf of St. Lawrence thus becomes a dream location to explore pristine waters and marvel at the beauty and diversity of the waters of an area that, to date, has been sunk by little.
The waters of Anticosti were previously inaccessible, either because of its geographical remoteness, or lack of practical accessibility to basic resources for the practice of diving. The presence of a base offering all services (air, nitrox, equipment rental, repair, boat trips, training and guides) now allows access to divers who wish to explore this jewel of the St. Lawrence and will also allow residents to Port-Menier to learn and practice scuba diving diligently to better appreciate the beauty of their waters.
Many projects are already on the drawing board for 2023 for the next development phases of Anticosti Écotours. In this project, we would like to highlight the audacity of the initiators of the project, their ambition and their long-term work.
Michel Labrecque and Julie Ouimet, your Anticosti Ecotours project, deserves the 2022 project trophy! Congratulation!
As we know, our columnists Danielle Alary and Michel Gilbert share a common passion: underwater photography. But how did it start?
Michel started diving at the age of 18, after being introduced to the underwater world through the Cousteau team's L'odyssée sous-marine series, broadcast in the 1970s. Danielle, as for her, not wishing to become a diving widow, quickly understood that she had better get started, too. As for the interest in photography, this, in the case of Michel, dates back to high school. Then, during his first summer of diving, he decided to take up underwater photography in order to document his observations and discoveries. As for Danielle, it happened much later, after years of playing the role of service guide and scouting specialist for Michel, who had difficulty finding well-camouflaged subjects... The famous the time, the Nikonos, quickly held no more secrets for them!
In 1983, noting the absence of a photo chronicle in the magazine La Plongée, ancestor of In Depth, Michel suggested a series of articles, a proposal accepted by the editor-in-chief at the time, Tristan Léonard. The rest, as they say, is history. Dozens and dozens of chronicles! The tasks are well distributed: Michel writes and Danielle takes care of the logistics, planning and management of the photo bank. But their involvement in the underwater community does not stop there. During the 1980s, Michel held the position of president of the FQAS for 6 years. Then came the period of conferences, both in Canada and in the United States, at conventions, sometimes in front of an audience of thousands of people. After all these years of involvement in the environment, Danielle and Michel retain above all the incredible diversity of the underwater environment embellished with exciting encounters that have left lasting memories. A real endless quest. The world is too big, life is too short!
Thus, for all these years of loyal service to In Depth, to deliver without reserve, through their Declic column, their precious advice, tips and tricks to help us succeed in our underwater shots, they deserve this award hands down. Thank you for your rich contribution, your diligence, your assiduity and your unfailing reliability! Long live Click!
The first person to receive such an award is an individual who is described as a myth, a legend in the Quebec diving community. This person has given his entire professional life to Quebec scuba diving, going from manufacturer, to instructor, to expert, to adventurer. He is known to the greatest as well as newcomers and thanks to such dedication, he has been able to stand out in order to become a reference in Quebec.
He is a man of heart and passion, who speaks the secret and mysterious language of cylinders of all kinds and knows how to navigate the maze of Transport Canada regulations. He also strongly contributed to the establishment of Quebec regulations for scuba diving and made the safety of divers his priority.
He also offered more than 20 years of his life as a volunteer on the board of directors of Quebec Subaquatic, he has, with this organization, weathered a thousand storms and helped maintain a stability that today allows Quebec Subaquatic to be still on foot.
I take this opportunity to thank him for his legacy and honor his dedication. I therefore give the honorary prize to Paul Boissinot.
The second person to receive an honorary award is the Neutral Buoyancy Guru. This individual is a forward thinker, someone who believes in constant improvement, who values effort and hard work to become better divers, better instructors, better citizens of our planet and, more generally better humans.
He is a passionate instructor, who knows how to pass on his knowledge, his convictions with so much confidence and aplomb that his only contact gives us all the confidence in the world to face challenges, life, the next dive. This person values knowledge, discovery, curiosity, rigor, self-sacrifice. Every action taken is marked by these values.
For those who know him, you will probably recognize him simply by the characteristics named above, for others, this man is to be discovered. He will give birth to a vocation in you, he will make you laugh with his expressions like "have a moment of solitude" as for 100 feet, you will not have made your BALLO and that you will be in schnoutte or even "lose points" in him in front of a Corona, a debt that he carefully records throughout the training.
Finally, what everyone will agree on: crossing his path is an honor and a privilege and, whether you are a diver, an instructor or even not webbed at all, you come out of it nourished, motivated, fired up and generally just better.
This occasion is therefore ideal to underline the contribution of this individual to the world of diving, I also take advantage of the moment to thank him for being the instructor, the diver and the human being that he is. I therefore give the second honorary prize to Damien Monge.
Félicitation aux deux récipiendaires!
When we look at everyone here today, happy to be together, in a beautiful conference where things are going well and where everyone sticks to their text (haha!), we tend to think that is fine simply because it is, because there is no storm in sight and life is good among the Underwater Tribe. However, if Québec Subaquatique is doing well and developing, strengthening and serving its members better and better, it does not happen by itself. It takes a good captain's mausus to steer that boat, because it's a very complex and delicate bug.
Between the pandemic and the global labor shortage, between the repair of the compressor of a diving base located 500 kilometers from here and the application of a Regulation written by the Ministry, between the continuous training of agents , the creation of the Route Palmée, the financing of our projects, a new name, a new logo and don't forget to have some nice tuques and hoodies made…! Between the “when will we be able to renew our certificates online??” and the “can you help us organize the Underwater Rugby World Cups? ".
Between all of this, for us to dive, enjoy and play safely underwater, it takes someone who keeps their head above water. Someone who puts the interests of Québec Subaquatique and the entire community above all else, with fairness, rigor and efficiency. Someone who has vision, who is not afraid to change ways of doing things and to tell the truth, as it is, without trying to spare egos. Someone who knows when to smile and celebrate but also when it's time to show some teeth and tighten some screws. Someone who stands up, rolls up their sleeves and leads by example. But also someone who is deeply human, enthusiastic and available to learn and listen.
Someone like that is rare.
But we are lucky: we have one and today we want to tell him how precious we know that all his work in the shadows, against all odds, is precious.
Today, the administrators of Québec Subaquatique want to present a special trophy, on behalf of all the members and partners of our federation, to our extraordinary captain.
In the EXCEPTIONAL DIRECTOR GENERAL category, the winner is MADAME MARIE-CHRISTINE LESSARD
Thanks again to all the participants, see you again in 2024 for the next edition!!!