Part Two: Brave the Elements Tour January 20, 2015 14:01
Written by Cynthia Issel
“The ocean called our souls and we answered with all our hearts.” -unkonwn
On the next segment of our tour, we started to feel more like storm chasers. We had braved so many storms in the now leaky trailer (we forgot to attach part of the cover into the wood… sorry El Diablo), and we were determined to stay as warm and dry as possible. We vehemently used our air freshener to fight back those dingy odors of smelly, wet Wottermen (wet neoprene and fleece gets smelly fast when left in a ball to dry).
I was thanking myself every three minutes that at least I had the clarity to bring a bottle of air freshener in the flavor of “European Car Smell”. Otherwise, I thought I might pass out from the musty, seaweed smell. Alas, we enjoyed the rainy roads that lead to our final destinations of the day and we saw some pretty amazing sights! Rocky coastal views never get boring for this crowd.
We continued to travel up the West Coast on Highway 101 to Coos Bay, Oregon for the plunge in Sunset Bay with Get Wet Scuba and Aquasports. The town is an awesome fishing village with a breakfast place that makes its own bacon (and they mean business because it even says “BACON” really big on the roof). They are a festive holiday bunch and they are a super crazy, bad-ass, cold water surfing community! They eat tuna straight out of the can and there’s not a place in town that serves drip decaf coffee! Only fully leaded for these folks!
Coos bay native, Robert, and his daughter at Get Wet Scuba and Aquasports started the shop three years ago because the only local SCUBA store was retiring. What was he to do? He was addicted to this underwater pleasure and the only place to fill his tank was closing down! Nightmares! So, he opened his own shop. However, his store has more than your average SCUBA gear as they represent all types of water sports. They are right next to the water and the best egg nog latte in town, so it is definitely worth the stop for any passerby.
We plunged at Sunset Bay State Beach, on a cold morning, at one of the most picturesque places on the whole tour. We were thankful to have our surf-fur parkas, cause although it was cold once got them on we were fine. It was also fortunate that our campsite was right across the street from this magnificent wonderland.
The plunge in Central Point was cancelled due to torrential rain so our next stop was Portland. Of course, El Diablo was not exactly welcome in the big city, so we forced ourselves to stay at an ultra nice hotel, a break from braving the elements. Known as “Beervana,” due to the highest number of breweries in any city in the world, Portland’s stop needed to include the search for some good beer! We also found some pretty good food trucks for some of the best food on our trip! I especially agreed with the Pizza Pyramid (see photo below).
I don’t think a trip to Portland would be complete without a stop at Powell’s City of Books. So, we took a break from the consistent drizzle and, with the store map in hand, wandered for hours in the 68,000 square feet (or 1.6 acres) of books. It wasn’t a big surprise that we found the best and biggest watersport section ever!
The next day, the plunge was scheduled at Aquatic Sports right outside the city limits. I knew the second I walked in that it was most likely a fun place to work because the spread laid out was fit for a king. Jeff, the owner, had the genius idea to hold the plunge at his training pool where the plan was to bring in large blocks of ice. More than fifteen people clothed watched as two plungers jumped into the pool in high spirits.
His dad, John, opened the store back in the day and passed it on to his smartest kid. John was a bit of a celeb in the skin diving world as he was on the first ever skin diving team (this is before wetsuits). There was plenty of old diving and skindiving paraphernalia all over the shop, and in the classroom where they teach dive class.
It was easily one of the coolest dive shops I had ever seen! The thing that really makes this store different than any others we met on the tour was that they are all about making their store seem as comfortable and inviting as possible. The classroom was not equipped with hard chairs and a table, rather it had couches and loungers with real cushions and pillows! More photos of his dad and Jacque Cousteau lined the walls and we were reminded of our purpose for our tour, to raise awareness about our Ocean’s Future and to help benefit the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s (the son of Jacques Cousteau) Ocean Futures Society.
We loved our time in this shop. It felt like a relaxing place to hang out….and a place to learn how NOT to kill yourself diving. It is a full service dive shop with not even a speck of dust anywhere to be seen!
In December 2014, Surf-fur owners Cindy and Zenon Issel took their family on the road to benefit Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Oceans Futures Society. During their trip they braved the elements with countless adventure seeking wottermen in some of the greatest northwest most pristine natural waterways. Thanks for tuning in. Stay tuned for the last segment of the journey in an upcoming post. While you wait, read Part One of our Journey by CLICKING HERE.
Tagged: bacon, beervana, brave, Brave the elements, california lifestyle, central point, coastal views, cold, coos bay, dive class, donate, drip decaf coffee, elements, fisherman, fishing village, fur, get wet scuba and aquasports, highway 101, hoodie, jacques cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau, ocean, ocean futures, oceans future, Oregon, pacific, plunge, portland, powell's city of books, rocky, SCUBA gear, sea, sunset bay state beach, Surf-fur, Surf-fur Ocean Adventure, surfcheck, surfer, Warming Gear, waterman, west coast, winter, wottermen