I am working right now picking urchins in canada pacfic .

I am donning my dive gear now but will answer questions whenn I finnish work harvesting underware

Comments: 707 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

adventurtle816 karma

I read this about five times as underwear harvester. Is.. is that a thing?

ISpilledMyJews170 karma

I read underwater hamster.

adventurtle57 karma

That would be a really old hamster. Also an aquatic one. Neat.

redurchin58 karma

Hahaha. That's funny

redurchin250 karma

Underwater harvestng is fancy way to say fishing under water with dive gear. I ether use scuba or hose (surface supplied air.

iatethedamnsticker111 karma

What's the funniest thing that's happened underwater?

redurchin354 karma

I once dove into a pod of perhaps 100ish porposise( can't spell) anyway I droped down to 70feet to watch the show. The whales were all around me, over me, under everywhere. One big male came at me fast and started circling me just above me crazy like and real close . I started getting nervice and felt kind of like a fish out of water so to speak . All of a dudden it took a giant crap that rained all over me. Porpoise poo is kind of like this milky white giant cloud that ingulfed me. I started laughing underwater and had to surface.

Schemeratic170 karma

milky white giant cloud

Are you sure it was shit?

redurchin318 karma

I am possitive as I saw it leave its ass

pimpinpolyester103 karma

Are your fingers officially pruned for life?

redurchin144 karma

I wear dry gloves

sjbock391 karma

What are the benefits of this?

redurchin289 karma

The japanese get sushi

LittleKey101 karma

As someone who works in a sushi restaurant... thanks!

redurchin140 karma

I have to admit that I rather eat any sushi besides uni

Fortunekitty77 karma

Any really cool/ unexpected finds? Huge seashells, interesting wildlife, pirate treasure?

redurchin195 karma

I pretty much have seen every mammal, killer whales, porposis, sealions, seals. And every fish around here. Giant rolling balls of alaskan king crab..IFound a wallet oonce with 8bucks in it and someones expired driving licence by 6years.

Fortunekitty53 karma

Ok, I have to ask about the crab thing. Do crabs typically cluster into a ball and roll around on the sea floor? Also- while you're out fishing will you see something you like and grab it? Like- be out collecting urchins and see a bug lobster and bag it for dinner? Also are you careful to avoid taking too much- or seperating any excess wildlife that gets caught up while you are harvesting?

redurchin103 karma

I can only say what i saw. I dont know why they were in a big ball and yes we ate good that night. I only put exactly what I am targeting including a very specfic size in my bag. I do grab a scallop or crab once in awhile for dinner.

HFXmer72 karma

I'm in NS, one of the ONLY known shark attacks in over a 100 years off our coast was a man who got bit while gathering urchins. I was wondering if you've had any close calls with sharks? Also, a second question, as someone who has been spending so much time in the water have you be able to see the damage done by pollution, ocean acidification, and other issues?

redurchin179 karma

I got attacked once by a six gill but I provoked him by grabing its tail .It was about 8ft long and I will never do that again.

redurchin61 karma

I am around a lot of fish farms and believe they are fukin the bottom. Lots of silt seems every where.

JerkasaurousRexx64 karma

Do you do a lot of muff diving too?

redurchin131 karma

I do. But only at home with my wife.. that been awhile.

JerkasaurousRexx43 karma

Lol awesome. The joke always make me laugh and think of my dad. When I was growing up my parents never talked about sex or anything related to that. I never even got the birds and the bees talk from them. I had to learn it from the internet and friends. Anyways, my dad was stationed in Hawaii for navy deployement and would jokingly tell people that on his off time he would surf and do the occasional muff diving expedition. It wasnt until I was older that I finally understood his joke. Scarred me for life, but I still laugh.

redurchin16 karma


zVulture38 karma

Have you had any emergencies besides the six gill one? Aka Equipment Failures or other issues that forced you to surface.

How deep do you go to harvest?

redurchin98 karma

Lots of times I have had to bail on surface supplied hose usually because the surface guy forgets to turn your air on... I am pretty fast at switching to my bail out bottle and heading back to your boat to beat the tender!

zVulture21 karma

Haha yah, I guessed with all those dives you would have more than one issue.

Edit: Nevermind about the depth question saw your other post:

Between 40 and 30feet.

redurchin40 karma

I try to stay above 30ft but somtimes find I have to go deeper. 55ft is about as deep as I will go as I need to spend many hours under to make the day worth while as you run into deco problems the deeper you harvest.

zVulture20 karma

Yah, I am certified Open water + Nitrox. Deeper = more Nitrogen in the blood each minute. For your job, duration is important so deep is probably bad unless someone finds a a good cache to harvest.

Is your timetable (dive time / rest time) set by your work, pro certification requirements or do you have a personal chart worked out?

redurchin44 karma

I just dive till my computer tells me to take a break. I am grandfathered in as unristricted scuba. Unristricted surface supply. The deepest I have been was in a chamber to 240ft at school. Back in 83.

Aaod33 karma

Do you still giggle at the fart bubbles you make when you are underwater and pass gas?

redurchin117 karma

I do! Dunny you should mention that as I ate a batch of spigetti yesterday that gave me real bad, and smelly farts. Since I am in a dry suit they stay trapped iside myy suit .. at the end I had my chuckle when my tender has to unzip the back of my suit....

seawied32 karma

Aside from the pay, what's the best part of the job and what is your least favorite part of the job?

redurchin87 karma

Best part is opening a cold beer after a long day underwater. The worst part is being away from home and family 6months a year.

OutlookOctopus29 karma

How do you get into this line of work? I have a diving license.... could I just show up and start raking urchins? At .25 a lb with the possibility of up to 4500 lbs a day thats damn good pay.

redurchin36 karma

I trained as commercial diver in 1983 doing since. You can go to school for this and is required by goverment here. Bu

mercatormapv22 karma

Where are you located?

redurchin6 karma

I am in a small bay camped for the night near pt mcniel bc canada

pklfimaim26 karma

For a lot of people scuba diving releases endorphins and is a very pleasurable experience - did you have that to begin with and do you lose it when you're diving day in and day out?

redurchin90 karma

I allways wanted to be a diver. I used to love it. Now it is a job and i feel old. But I made over 1000.00 $ today and that makes me feel pleasure.

undragonslayer22 karma

Have you ever tried cave diving? I hear that's much more exciting than normal scuba diving.

redurchin49 karma

I don't usually ever sport dive when I'm not diving for money. But cave diving does look cool. But I did snorkle free dive into some pretty cool cave entrances in cozemel And Hi.

a-priori26 karma

How often have you gotten stabbed by the urchins' spines?

redurchin52 karma

Every day.

a-priori9 karma

Really? I remember once my dad stepped on an urchin in St. Lucia. It got him in one of his toes, and the toe turned all blue and swollen.

I take it that's not how you spend every day? :)

redurchin30 karma

Ok not every daay. But often. I dought they are as poisen as st lushas though. That sounds painfull. I have a few in my hands right now but i just pee on it. Seems to work

Rooster24107 karma

Can't you just use ammonia instead?

redurchin98 karma

I have pee ready and available most times

Rooster24104 karma

Speaking of, how do you pee whilst in a dry suit? I've heard even peeing in a wet suit is kind of gross because it still hangs around and may cause it to stink. But what do you do with a dry suit?

redurchin7 karma

I have never peed in my dry suit, that be ucky. I wait till I am on the surface and have a small zipper for this purpose.

Deepwater_Zenith25 karma

Hey! Thanks for doing this AMA. A few questions:

  • Tell us about your dive gear (BCD, tank setup, gas mixes, any specialized gear, etc.).
  • Other than urchins, what do you dive for? What's the most lucrative, most difficult to harvest, etc.?
  • What depths are you diving at?
  • Do you dive solo or with a buddy? Do you work with the same surface crew all the time? Do you work for yourself or a larger company?
  • Any notable stories or "oh shit" moments (I saw something about a shark in the comments...)?
  • Are you based solely out of Vancouver or do you move around according to the season?

redurchin46 karma

I work from alaskan border to queen charlotts to and around vancouver island

redurchin44 karma

1. I use a seatux drysuit. I have a bunch of different regs. I use a simple computer thats on the safe side. No bc. Turtles for fins. Homemade ankle wieghts. I use a old school back pack with about 20lbs of shot. About anouther 25lbs of lead on my shoulder harness belt. I use a rake I had custom made for me.

redurchin43 karma

Geoducks are the best paying but urchins are the most physicly demanding. Geoducks are the most technicly demanding and deeper

redurchin42 karma

2 I dive for urchins. Red and green... I dive for sea cucumbers. I dive for geoducks but lost that gig to the skippers son....still mad

redurchin34 karma

I am doing urchins now and I try to stsy as shallow ss possible. But I am in a deep area and find myself at 50 regularly.

redurchin33 karma

4 I dive alone. Only one diver on my boat.

VikingIV24 karma

Delta-P... ever had to avoid an area because of this, are you always in open waters?

redurchin21 karma

No never ... I am totally in the boonies. Nerest town is 3hours by boat....

Brad_Wesley22 karma

You are just in Scuba gear swimming around? What do you wholesale an urchin for? How many do you pick per hour?

redurchin41 karma

I am dumped off the side of the boat with a bag and I use a rake attached to my hand and fill the bag.. today i picked 4500 lbs. I get about 25cents a lb ...my share

Rosenmyah42 karma

$1125 in one day, that's pretty good! Is 4500 lbs an average day? Does income vary during different times of the year?

redurchin39 karma

4500 is a decent day. Ii have done 10000 lbs but where I am now 4500 is above average day for one diver... it is mostly a winter fishery so now is best.

funkarama17 karma

You should save up for your own boat and gear.

redurchin58 karma

Done that but prefer just going home and not spending all my shore time fixing a boat

funkarama2 karma

You in california?

redurchin12 karma

Northern Vancouver is bc canada

sousaphile14 karma

If you spend years underwater, about how long does your oxygen tank last on average? Also, what's the deepest depth you have dived for urchins?

redurchin35 karma

My compressed AIR tank lasts me about 45 minutes, up to a hour depending on depth. Today I did six bottles till I ran out of bottem time. Between 40 and 30feet. I think just under 260 minutes. Thats one day . I work about 7 months a year...

Draculas_teabag11 karma

Any shark tales?

redurchin39 karma

I once was attacked briefly by a large 8ft six gill. I thought they were harmless but found out that they dont like it when you grab them by the tale

Wpoloplaya114 karma

I'm glad you lived to tell the tail

redurchin60 karma

Nice!.. I now see my tale tail mishap

undragonslayer15 karma

Why did you decide to grab its tail?

redurchin230 karma

As you can tell by my spelling and occupation Im no rocket scientest. And it was there!

TheBVirus10 karma

What kind of watch do you wear if at all? I know a lot of divers (perhaps more recreational) wear great diving watches.

redurchin36 karma

after coffie and its bright enough in am I jump in the salt mine. After that my computer tells me when its quiting time. I just looked at my time om my phone and relize its 12:24 am and I need to go to bed...good niggt

bc_arb8 karma

Do you eat urchins yourself? Ever work near Sechelt, I see the farms all the time on my way to work up the inlet.

Is it a dry suit all year long or do you switch it up?

redurchin26 karma

I do eat uni from time to time but prefer hamburgers. I use a dry suit allways and I spent a bunch of time couple summers ago diving for geoducks near Seashelt

Kylesawesomereddit8 karma

Okay for starters, thanks for doing this, your job is very interesting. Also I live pretty close to Vancouver (Chilliwack if that means anything to you.) and would love to look into this. Do you know Where can I get some information on training and employment or if you could give me some yourself?

redurchin15 karma

Google it in campbell river. They train there. Good luck! :)

andicotsteel6 karma

Is there a certain area in the US where the best uni comes from? What should fresh uni at a restaurant look and feel like?

redurchin22 karma

I am from canada. But I think in the states its calafornia. It should be nice yellow orange. And firm looking.

Recall_Coordinator2 karma

How do you deal with knowing there are tons of Morey eels in pretty much every hole in the ocean floor. Seems like constantly reaching around for urchins is a sure way to lose a finger.

redurchin11 karma

We don't have those here but we do haveslime eels, a deep water orphus feeder . I saw one once near the surface and had a hard time getting back in... google it...

compremiobra2 karma

Favorite seafood?

redurchin9 karma

Muimui or dorado what ever its called

redurchin2 karma

Kind overwelmed by so many questions but I will try: I am not A UNDERWARE HARVESTER... I am pretty healthy except usuall ackes n pains for a guy who works at hard physical job for 30 years. I wonder how much a under ware harvester earns?

I picked about 3000lbs today so I made about 700 bucks. I dive safe and take proper precautions , proven by simply still being alive. You need a proffesional cert for my job to do this leagaly in canada... I think the most memerable experience ive had is diving with a pod of killer whales.

English is my first langauage i just couldn't give a shit about spelling. I also am doing this from my phone and my fingers are big.... I took a pic today as proof but have not figured out how to post to this iama....