FDU(P): Behind the scenes and under water


Final photo right: Front row (L – R): Petty Officer First Class (PO1) Ryan Burrell, QL 5A Instructor; Chief Petty Officer Second Class Vince Gouthro, Training Chief; Lieutenant (Navy) Demetris Mousouliotis, Training Officer; PO1 Adam King, CLDO Instructor; Sailor First Class (S1) Pat Kory, Assistant Instructor.
Back Row: S1 S. Phillips, S1 J. Hines, S1 C. Betts, S1 E. Patterson, S1 A. Castagna, S1 P. Daigle, S1 T. Forbes, S1 W. Chisan, S1 J. Khayat, S1 R Knutson.

Kateryna Bandura 
Lookout Editor

Graduates and instructors of the most recent Clearance Divers and Clearance Diving Officers class at Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) (FDU(P)) memorialized their graduation with an underwater photo shoot.

“The course photo is definitely a memorable event that everyone enjoys,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Demetris Mousouliotis, Operations Officer at FDU(P).

In the past 12 months, the divers worked together in all kinds of weather conducting diving, salvage, and explosives training. After graduating on Sept. 8, they have been posted either to FDU(P) or Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic).

The group used the welding and cutting skills they learned on course to create a statue of a Kraken that has been installed on the FDU(P) grounds. This earned them a course nickname ‘Kraken’. The statue now looks over the training area.

Lt(N) Mousouliotis said the photo setup was challenging but also a lot of fun.

“These photos are put up in the training building to memorialize the courses over the years,” he said.

The photo was taken by Sailor First Class (S1) Valerie LeClair, an Imagery Technician at Maritime Forces Pacific/Joint Task Force (Pacific). S1 LeClair is a qualified Ship’s Team Diver in the Canadian Armed Forces and previously worked as a Port Inspection Diver in the Naval Reserve.

S1 LeClair said the final image is at least five images put together.

“They really wanted no bubbles in the image which was quite hard to manage,” she said.

The image took three tries of setting up.

The instructors in the front row would get situated first. Then she would set the flash off for the rest of the course to jump in and place themselves behind the instructors.

She used CABA Lite dive gear while the group held their breath.

Lt(N) Mousouliotis said the staff had the hardest time because they had to breathe compressed air and try not to float back up to the surface each time they took a breath underwater. The instructors had regulators under their chairs to take a breath while getting situated until the students jumped in.

Once everyone was in place, S1 LeClair would snap the photo as quickly as possible.

“It was a time-consuming post-processing image, but I managed to get all eyes open and most bubbles edited out in the final export,” she said.


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