ZenDiving Invades Canada ~ 2008 ~ Part 3

12 08 2008

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 ~

The day had come… This was the last leg in the ZD Canadian Invasion tour. We got up early, loaded the van and trailer once again, and headed over to Caiger’s. Toast again for me.

We headed over to customs again, as our first dive was on the Vickery. I hadn’t done this dive before, and was looking forward to it.

Steve, Leigh, and I dropped down, and headed down the line. The current is absolutely ripping here, until you get over the wall, and get into the wreck. Luckily the line is there, so you can play flag pole.

We ventured over the wall, and let go of the line, heading over to the wreck. We went inside for a peek, and were sheltered from the current.

What a cool wreck… Even with the ripping current, this wreck was a fun one. As we swam across the deck, I peeked over the bow, and felt the current pushing my face back. We drifted back over to the line, then swam off of it a bit, checking out the periwinkle shells and seeing if there was anything interesting behind the rocks. We didn’t find much, so went back and did our ascent. I’ll definitely have to do this wreck again!

Bottom Time ~ 36 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 104′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ Much nicer here

We then headed over to Jeff’s dock, where there is a Canadian customs dock. We couldn’t touch land, and we were a bit warm, so Steve, myself, and Jen splashed in for a cool off. As long as we didn’t touch the dock or the bottom, we were good to go.

Thank goodness for my She-P!

They allowed us back in the country, and we headed over to the Kinghorn again. This time, Ken and Dave loaned us their X Scooters! Steve and Leigh had them first, and I tagged along beside them down the line. The current was a bit stronger than it had been on Friday, so it took me a bit longer than the scooter boyz to get to the descent line…

We descended, swam around, and the boys took turns buzzing me with the scooters. Finally it was my turn… The leash was a bit too long for my short arms, but what fun it was. They are a little more “squirrely” compared to a Gavin, but very quick to turn, and pretty easy to handle. If I had money to burn, I’m sure I’d get one of these for boat diving! Thanks to Dave and Ken for letting us try them! Pretty fun dive! We also noticed that Jamie and Andy had served up a plate of dead Gobie and Crayfish inside the wreck.

We waved to all of our Zen friends as we passed as well!

Bottom Time ~ 49 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 92′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ A bit hazy

We returned to Caiger’s, where some people had to get going on their long drives home, and a bunch of us gathered for another round of laughter and food. I don’t think any of us will look at wet naps the same again… thanks Leigh…Lol…

A great big thank you to everyone for travelling so far, to come diving with us. I had not planned a diving trip before, and you all made it so easy. Thanks to everyone for helping out, and to Pickeeeeeeeeennnnnnnssss for cooking our BBQ (It was all you!). I have learned a few things along the way, that will aid in planning next year’s trip as well.

I would also like to thank Dive Tech for donating T Shirts for the raffle, Jeff at Rockport Dive Centre, for the dive and for also donating T Shirts, Thousand Islands Pleasure Diving (Wayne, Chantal, Scott, and Jim) for accomodating us on the charters, and for keeping the speed boats at bay… Andy and Jamie for helping out with the raffle, Pickens again, for donating prizes for the raffle.

…and to absolutely everyone who joined us for diving goodness and laughter. Thank you so much for the gift as well. I can’t get over how amazing all of you were, and how thoughtful it was. You even put up with me during the raffle… ROFL…

I’m still in awe over how incredible this group of people was to be with… on land and in the water. Amazing people and solid divers.

Thanks for enjoying the weekend!

Come back soon eh?

Link to ZD photos/video made of all of our photos, by Dave Pickensssssss!

Zen Diving Canadian Invasion ~ 2008 ~ Part 2

12 08 2008

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 ~

We were up and at ’em early, and headed over to Caiger’s. We loaded our gear onto the Osprey, and headed into the restaurant for breakfast. Seeing as I normally turn green on boats, I ordered some Rye toast and water… that was plenty for me.

We boarded and headed out to Boldt Castle, to go through customs. Penny, Bob, Dave B., Ken H., Kristen H., Oren L., Sean M., Becki, Dan, Dave P., Jean, Steve, Leigh, and I were diving from the Osprey, and Geoff, Jamie, Andy, and Bob P. were diving from the Island Diver. It would have been great if we could have been on the same boat, but there were just too many of us!

Geoff and Jamie (notice the Shark Bites T Shirt!)…


Krisren, Ken, Pue, Bob, Pickens, and Dave B….


Bob, Pickens, Dave B., Becki, Dan, Jean…


Sean, Steve, and Oren…


Andy, Chelsea, and Bob P….




There was a poker run going on in the river, so there were these great beasts of boats flying through the water at high speeds, and sometimes flying through the air. As cool as it was, we were about to be in the water, and we didn’t fancy getting our heads chopped off by flying boats. There were a handful of charters already on the wreck, and it wasn’t safe at all, with the boats flying by. Another boat captain radioed in to the Coast Guard, and they came in until all the dives were done.

Steve, Leigh, and I teamed up and dropped in first. We were on the basket mooring, in about 20′ of water, so we hung out under the boat, while Steve filmed everyone splashing in. We dropped down, filmed as we descended, and went down to the props. We made our way back up the deck side, and went underneath the wreck, and up to the shoal, where we filmed some more. We went back under, and made our way back up for an ascent. Very cool dive.

Bottom Time ~ 48 mins.

Max. Depth ~ 100′

Water Temp. ~ 73

Vis. ~ 25′

When we surfaced, the speed boats weren’t coming as close to us as they were before, and we could actually admire them. We had been asked by the Coast Guard not to venture into the channel for our next dive, which was supposed to be the America, so we opted for another dive on the Keystorm. Since the boat was a-rockin’ from all of the wake, I opted to chill on the boat for the second dive, while the others splashed in. Yes, I know it would have been better for me in the water, but I just didn’t feel 100%, and the sun had beaten me up a bit, so I basked in the shade for a while. When the others came back aboard, I helped lift stages and remove fins as they came up.

As we made the trip back to the docks, we watched the poker run boats speed by, making rooster tails, and flying through the air. There were even helicopters flying by, right overtop of the boats. It was a pretty amazing scene!



We made it safely back to Caiger’s, and headed back to the plantation for a BBQ. There were laughs a plenty at this gathering. Pickens was the head chef, who offered to cook our steaks and chicken for us… What a cook! Pickens…. you rock! After a delicious dinner, we had a raffle for various prizes. It seemed that every ticket I pulled belonged to Pickens, so he wound up with alot of Canada swag and a couple of T Shirts. Everyone walked away with a prize or two though! I have to say that this was one of the most amusing evenings I’ve encountered for a very long time… I still can’t believe I didn’t pass out from embarassment… rofl… literally… ;o)

Penny, Bob P., Chelsea, Geoff, Ken, and Kristen, with Oren in the background…


Chelsea, Geoff, Ken, Kristen, Andy, WB…

Geoff, WB, Andy, Dave B., Becki, Dan…

After the raffle, I was presented with the most thoughtful gift. Everyone had chipped in and had a glass figure custom made for me. It is a girl diver on a wreck, which was based on the Picton wreck. She even has doubles on! :o) I never imagined anything like this, and it even brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much to everyone…

Andy and Jamie!




A bunch of us decided to go for a night scooter dive at Centeen Park! Myself, Steve, Leigh, Ken, Dave B., Oren, Jean, and Stephane hit the road! When we got there, Hubert Chretien was leading a group of physically challenged divers in the water… such an amazing thing to see.

We geared up, got in, and headed out to the Gaskin. I imagine it looked like quite the light show out on the wreck! I’m sure the two swimming divers on the wreck didn’t expect to see 8 people on machines, with light sabers. We had a fantastic time driving around the wreck, and I wish we had had the camera. It was absolutely spectacular! We saw some sheephead carp and some little round fish that we only seem to see at night. I’m not sure what they are.

When we surfaced, we were all reflecting light off of our teeth, from the size of the grins on our faces. What a wicked dive!

Bottom Time ~ 44 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 69′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ Darkish…lol…

I wanted to get a shot of all of the scooters, but by the time I brought the camera down, half of them were gone… doh!

We headed back to the cabins, where we had a quick bevvie and headed to sleep!

Zen Diving Canadian Invasion ~ 2008 ~ Part 1

12 08 2008

August 8th, 2008 ~

The weekend had finally arrived ~ The weekend that a gaggle of us from Zendiving.com were to gather for a weekend of diving fun, in Brockville. Some of our local friends joined us as well, but most were making the drive from the U.S.



Steve and I loaded up the van and trailer, and went to pick up Leigh. We had a bit of a bumpy ride with the trailer, and when we got to Leigh’s, had to slice off the hitch rest, so we didn’t snap the whole arm off… we were a little loaded down.

Leigh goofing about for the camera…

We were running a bit behind schedule in meeting up with the gang, so I called to assure that we would soon be there!! Once we arrived, we joked around about our packed van and trailer, unloaded some of our gear in various cabins, and finally headed off to Rockport Dive Centre. We chartered on out to the Kinghorn! For the Friday charter, there was myself, Steve, Leigh, Ken H., Jamie B., Andy H., Geoff, and Bob P. Chelsea and Kristen waited for us on shore. We dropped down, did our tour of the wreck, and came back up… a great dive! Thanks to Jeff Jr. for taking us out!

Bottom Time ~ 42 mins.

Max. Depth ~ 92′

Water Temp. ~ 73

Vis. ~ A bit hazy

We then ventured over to the Family Restaurant for some grub… There was also some can and creamer art that was created during this gathering! We had a ton of laughs, and Dave B. also met us there! Our group was growing! We chowed down, then decided on an evening dive at Centeen Park. Chelsea joined us for this dive as well! A few others had arrived and stopped by the park to say hello ~ Becki and Dan, and Pickenssssssssssss! Lol…

What a nice, relaxing dive. I even saw pieces of wreckage that I hadn’t seen before. There were just about every type of native fish on this dive, as well as one that wasn’t quite native… Pike, bass, gobies, suckerfish, and a suckerfish with a lamprey eel attached to it.. *shudder*

Bottom Time ~ 41 mins.

Max. Depth ~ 35′

Water Temp. ~ 73

Vis. ~ 30′

When we surfaced, Penny was there taking photos, and Bob also said hello! We also saw a large freighter pass by…

We headed back, had some great social time in Cabin 12! Reluctantly, we made our way back to our cabin, to get some rest for the next day’s charters!

A Dip In The River

5 08 2008

Monday, August 4th, 2008 ~Steve, Jay, and I headed down to the river for a scooter dive. Seeing as it’s Simcoe Day, we didn’t have to work! w00t!


We geared up and got in the water. We were going to try and find the mythical carriage that Steve has seen once before, and no one seems to have seen it since! Back in the “old days,” they used to take horses and carriages across the ice, in the winter, to take chunks of ice back… for preserving food. Sadly, there was at least one that didn’t make it back. We’ve looked for it a couple of times, but were not successful.

When doing our predive checks, I did have gas in my argon bottle, but at 60′, I didn’t seem to have any “juice” left… Silly me… So I disconnected my wing inflator, and connected it to my drysuit valve, and orally inflated my wing… *shakes head at self.* It was good practice though.

We scootered out to the channel, did some scootering and drifting. We saw various pieces of wreckage, some neat bottles, and even a piece of china. Then… we see a big piece of wreckage… it was an old wreck! Seeing the wood, and the way it laid in the silt and periwinkles, this thing has been here for a very long time. There wasn’t much of it left, but it was fascinating to see. I tried to get some pictures of it, but unfortunately, my camera didn’t like it. After checking it out for a while, we pressed on… holy smokes… there it was!!
We found the carriage!!! The metal was in a bit of a heap, but it was pretty apparent what it had once been. Being a horse person, I couldn’t help but feel sad for the animals that didn’t make it. Seeing this under water was also a pretty amazing thing. We carried on drifting, and came back upon the Gaskin. It’s kind of a tradition to come back to the old wreck. The poor thing doesn’t have any deck left, and the railing is caving in on the bow.

I reconnected my wing inflator, as we were staying at a consistant depth, and only getting shallower from here.

We did a couple of turns of the wreck, and drifted back into the shallows. This is where we were playing silly buggers. Steve found some kind of giant plastic lid… or.. as we like to call it.. a turtle shell…

Steve then turned over on his back and blew water rings…


OO.. and a face off!


Bottom Time ~ 154 mins.
Avg. Depth ~ 35′
Water Temp. ~ 73




When we were coming out of the water, we saw a few people that we didn’t know.. or so we thought! We started talking, and realized that it was Crpntr133 (Wally), and Divin’Hoosier (Jim), and their two friends! They were going to take a trip to the Gaskin. It was great to meet them!

From there, we headed over to Dive Tech, where we were meeting up with Bob and Pue! w000000000t! They were a bit tired from their 60 km bike ride, but still managed to come out and have some dinner with us. Funny… the families that were seated around us didn’t stay there for long, and they didn’t seat new people around us after they left either!

I wonder why?

What an absolutely amazing day… Finding new wreckage, the elusive horse and carriage, and meeting new, wonderful people. What more could one ask for???

The Jamieson

3 08 2008

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008~

Steve, Leigh, and I headed to Kingston, to meet our friend, Jay. We then headed over to the ferry, that would take us over to Amherst Island.

We had a bit of a wait, so we goofed around a bit…




…and I even caught a pic of a little otter with a fish in his mouth…

Here comes the ferry!

Jay was a bit famished…

Upon looking overboard, there was a lip where people had thrown coins…

After about a 15 minute ride over, we exited onto the island. Leigh has a friend that lives here, and has allowed us access to his property. You can see the jug to the William Jamieson wreck from his kitchen. Today, we were going to scooter over to it, and see if this was feasible to line, in the near future.

We drove up to what is believed to be the life raft from the Jamieson, when it sank in 1923. Some believe that the raft was switched out later on, but no one really knows for sure. We aren’t quite sure what’s up with the wagon wheel…

We lined our gear up on the shore, and got ready…

We did our predive checks, took a bearing, and headed out to the wreck. The visibility was a bit stinky, and we wanted to check to see if we were still on the correct bearing, so we blew a bag and surfaced after about 12 minutes on the trigger. The water was a bit choppy, as there was a bit of a storm brewing, not that far away from us. We looked for the jug, and saw that we were about 100 feet away from it! w00 h00! We took another bearing, and back down we went. We managed to get right to the mooring line, to the wreck! W00 H00!! There was an obvious thermocline at 63′, and the bottom of the wreck is at about 75′. You could actually see the haze of the thermocline. Seeing as we had wet gloves on, we tried to stay above it for the better part of the dive! None of us had done this wreck before, and it is a pretty fun one to do. Although the vis wasn’t the best, it was still pretty cool. The Jamieson is a two masted schooner, about 100′ long, and carried coal. The stern is still intact, but the bow is pretty broken up. We had the camera with us, and both Steve and Leigh took turns filming. I made sure I did the Heleen dance too. ;o)

On the way back, we stayed at exactly 62′, in order to keep toasty! The ride back seemed alot quicker! We did see what might have been a mast of some sort, sticking out of the silt, quite a ways off of the wreck… a very interesting thing to see.

Bottom Time ~ 76 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 71′
Temp. ~ 55/65
Vis. ~ Hazy

We surfaced, doffed our gear, and went back in to laze about in the water for a while.

The pics are a bit dark, but… oh well…





Myself, Jay, and Leigh…

We packed up, and headed over to the ferry dock ~ It seems we missed it by about 5 minutes. We’d have to wait another hour, so we loitered for a bit by the cars…

We finally boarded and made our way back to the mainland!

We headed back over to Northern Tech Diver, where Commander Tom was going to be having a BBQ!

Here are the boyz, trying to get it started… it was quite the ordeal… rofl…

There was quite a crowd of us gathered round for burgers and sausage. Thanks to NTD, and to Matt for doing the cooking!