Another Dive On The Freighter

30 08 2009

Saturday, August 29th, 2009 ~

Six of us headed to Rockport, and loaded up Shaleka J with our gear and scooters, for another ride to the Jodrey. Upon bringing our gear down, we noticed a spider, about the size of a baseball…

Kevin and Steve were going to do some investigating, Jay and Jeremy teamed up to explore, and Jen and I paired up once again. We did our predive checks, and away we went.

Jeff and Jen… on the way out…

Jeremy and Steve…


Jen and I descended alongside the wall, and came upon the port side of the wheelhouse, where there is normally a screaming current, that tries to flip your feet over your head, as it makes its way over the port side railing. Today, there was nothing… zilch… nada… no current there at all. Despite our confusion of the matter, we took advantage of the situation, and swam around that area. We checked out the holes that we normally get swooshed past. The aft side of the wheelhouse did have a screaming current, so we made our way over to the crane, where we checked out a few other doors and windows.

We made our ascent, and did our usual playing with the fish on deco.

A very fun dive!

Max. Depth ~ 176′
Bottom Time ~ 64 mins.
Water Temp. ~ 73
Visibility ~ 25′

Jay, after his dive…

Kevin and Jay…


We waited for Steve and Kevin to surface, as they were headed to the Engine Room today!

Jen and I jumped in for some fun while we waited…

It seemed that we had some company too…

Jeff made a call to the US Coast Guard, who came down the hill with another nice looking dog, and picked him up. Apparently, he is deaf, and belongs to the US Coast Guard.

The fellas were successful in finding the correct entrance to the engine room, and were taking the camera on the next venture out!

Self portrait…

When we got back to the dock, we were greeted by Andy, who was there to say hello, and to see Steve about a machine. 😀

Before heading out for our tradition of a post dive meal, Jeff showed us his new rig!

Another great time was had by all, and we were all looking forward to the footage that Kevin and Steve would gather on their next dive to the Engine Room!

Canadian Invasion ~ Kingston Edition

21 08 2009

Friday, August 14th, 2009 ~

The van was locked and loaded once again, as I made my way to the mighty Ktown. This was the second installment of the Canadian Invasion, and for this segment, we were in and on the lake!

We convened for a charter upon the Vickie Marie, out of Northern Tech Diver. This would be the first time on this boat for me, and I was hopeful that there would be no fish feeding moments. It was a bigger boat, so my chances were good! It also helped that the lake was pretty flat.

Due to the fantastic conditions, we decided that we could go out to the Sheboygan, then the Marsh. Two of my favourite wrecks out there!

Captain Vinnie James gives his boat speech…

First mate Nancy has the wheel…

I was teaming up with Mark for these dives, and we both tagged along with Mer and Gerard as well. We descended on to the Sheboygan, and were greeted with some nice visibility. The water temperature was nice ‘n’ frosty below the thermocline, but it was actually quite refreshing, due to the crazy heat wave we were having this weekend. We did a few tours of the wreck, including playing with the prism: Mer and I took turns holding our light on one side of it, while the rest of our posse swam underneath to see it.

Of course, we had more dance moves, and played along side of the wreck. Gerard called me a cheap date… narced at 90’…lol. I guess that makes me narced at 1 ATA as well, seeing as I am the same on the surface. 🙂

We made our way back up to the boat, ditched our tanks, and jumped back in. It was hot!!

Bottom Time ~ 40 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 92′
Water Temp. ~ 64 and 54
Visibility ~ 60′

We gathered back up and headed over to the Marsh. It seems a couple of other boats also decided that the Marsh was a good wreck to dive that day, so we opted to go over to the Comet instead. Good stuff.

When we got there, we met up with Anne and Sorobon, who moved over for us to take the mooring, and Anne hooked up to us. When we reached the wreck, the visibility wasn’t as fantastic as the Sheboygan, but it was an incredibly relaxing dive. We took our time, checked out just about every little nook and cranny, and squeezed through a couple of tight spots as well. Alot of fun! You could actually see the thermocline at the wreck!

Bottom Time ~ 55 mins
Max. Depth ~ 80′
Water Temp. ~ 55 & 64
Visibility ~ 20′ and milky

It seems the combination of a flat lake and a nice, big boat were a great remedy for my stomach. There would be no fish feeding today!

When we came back in, Casey had arrived, and Mer posed with him…

We headed next door for some grub, then back over to the hotel to freshen up and check in. We decided that the call for ice cream was louder than the call for the pillow, so we ventured over to Dairy Queen for some dairy goodness! I opted for the Oreo Blizzard… yummm. When we got back to the hotel, Steve and Frankie were not long to arrive.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009 ~

Today, we had Sorobon and Spike for charters, as well as a group scootering. The charters went out, and the rest of us headed for the KPH, where we were going out to the Stacked Hulls, and checking on the line. Dan MacKay was the captain on this adventure.

George and Dan L getting ready…

Sean and Oren…

Tom, getting ready to take some shots…

Tom, getting ready to take some shots...

Steve, Frankie, and Eric V….

We had quite a large convoy of people, and managed to all stay together on the ride over. We brought our scooters and stage bottles down to the water and geared up.

Dan, Steve, and I were a team, as were Dan L and George, Oren and Sean, and Francois and Eric. We were going to check out the running of the line, and see what needed repair.

We went down to 20′, and did a sweep, looking for the line. Steve thought he had it at one point, but it turned out to be someone’s spool.. doh… We stopped, took care of the situation, and carried on.

I just happened to be looking down at the right moment, and there it was.. “Look! Look! Steve! Line!” W00 H00!! We had found it. Along we went, and Dan cleaned off alot of it as we went. We reached the wreck, tied off our scooters, and checked out the place. This was the first time I had been here, but not for lack of trying. Last year, a bunch of us took the line out of Olympic Harbour, but never made it to the wrecks.

There was alot of wreckage to see. Not a whole lot of structure left, but still an interesting bunch of things to check out. Alot nicer than just dirt and rock. We did a few passes up and down, and Dan inspected the line further.

We turned back, and the three of us decided to follow the other line, that goes to the harbour, to find out why people weren’t making it to the wreck. Well… apart from the line being in the wrong spot, we surfaced to see that we were quite far out. Repair spot!

We went back down and did a bit of swimming, and weed ducking, then headed back in to meet the others. I was sure liking Dan’s new Mini G… Need more pennies…

We packed up and went to the Pilot House for some grub.

It was a really hot day, and a bunch of us opted to chill out at the shop for a while, as some people went back to the hotel for a nap. Christine and I went out for a few odds and ends, for the barbeque, and got a small taste of free beer at the liquor store. Nice treat. We were on a neverending quest for a few items in Wal Mart, and it seems that they were out of a couple of things we needed. Oh well… carry on.

Once we got back to the shop, we were greeted with big smiles. Of course we were… we had beer…lol. We waited for the remaining boats to come in, then fired up the barbeque! Dan L. was an awesome cook, and our burgers ‘n’ dogs were extra yummy! Thanks Dan!

Some more shots from the BBQ!

George, Frankie, Oren…

Erin and Gerard…

I think Tara’s hiding something… or.. is it someone??? There is photographic evidence that she painted the town with Casey, later that night!

Gerard, Andy, Jamie, Mark…

Zi and Kevin A….


Mark, taking a bit out of crime!


Dan, in his riding gear!

We had a ton of fun in the sun, and were joined by a few others, whose boat came in later. The more, the merrier. I tried some Swedish Berry Cider, thanks to Pickens! That stuff was really nice! We shared the day’s stories and looked forward to the next!

After cleaning up after the BBQ goodness, we headed back to the hotel, reconvened, then went to White Mountain for more ice cream goodness… Homemade ice cream goodness… I can just hear Homer Simpson now.. Mmmmm… ice cream… *drool*

Sunday, August 15th, 2009 ~

The boats went out once again, and the scooter folk headed out to the river, to get a drifting scooter dive in. Well.. we tried… Our attempts to get near Centeen Park were unfounded, as they were having a triathlon, and had all of the roads blocked off.

We met at Tim Horton’s, and altered the plan. It would be Island 99, also known as Teapot Island. I had been here before, but not in quite a while, and never with a scooter. This had been the site of my first ever long hose dive.

There is a hill with a bit of a steep decline into the water, and a private dock. We step to the side of the dock, so that we do not disturb anyone’s property. We carried stages and scooters down the hill, then suited up. With the extreme heat, it was hard to get suits on, but we quickly went down to the water, to get some relief.

Once geared up and in, we dodged the silt and weeds, and hit the basin at around 60′. We headed west, and followed the wall out, where we saw so much. There were bits of china, a sleigh, pots, pans, bottles, and some really big fish. There was a giant cat fish, nesting below a massive rock crevice. We saw sheepshead carp, a muskie, pike, and even some hungry sun fish. One came right up to me, and when I stuck my finger out, he promptly grabbed it. Good thing I had gloves on. Around the corner, we saw many more sun fish. They were all very curious. I had one right up alongside of my face, and Steve pointed out that I had a new buddy. Oren had one nibbling on his fingers as well. What an awesome dive. We made our way back to the basin, and took a compass bearing back to shore. There were way too many weeds to be able to recognize anything. Along the way, we encountered a giant pike, who seemed to be a bit grumpy that we came near his spot.

When we surfaced, the people that own the dock were there, and their dogs had no idea what to make of these strange looking creatures that had just erupted from the deep. They were pretty funny.

Bottom Time ~ 90 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 100′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Visibility ~ 2′ in the shallows, 50’+ in the basin

We climbed out, made the trek up the hill and packed up. Off to the Family Restaurant we went, to meet up with some of the folks from the charter! We filled half of the place, and told stories of our weekend.

Another excellent weekend of diving goodness.

Being the first year for the Kingston Invasion, I have a couple of things to iron out, but all in all, I would vote it a success. Everyone went diving, and everyone had fun. It was pretty amazing to have so many people from so many different places and backgrounds in diving, come together and just dive and have fun.

Thank you so much to everyone at Northern Tech diver, for all of their help and hospitality. Thanks also to Kingston Dive Charters for all that they did for us too. Anne and Chris McMullen… I never got pictures of you!!

Commander Tom…

Cap’n. Harold…

Cap’n. Vinnie James…

Chris and Mike… two of the best helpers anywhere… Thanks guys!!

Here are a couple of shots of the new fill station that was up and running for us!

Until next year!!!

In Between Invasions

20 08 2009

Monday, August 10th, 2009 ~

I stayed down on Sunday night, so Mer and I could go out for some scootering goodness! We went down to Centeen Park, and when we were driving down the main drag, I could hear Mer’s GPS through my radio. I thought it was pretty funny, seeing as it was trying to zig as I was trying to zag. “Turn left on Front Street. ” “Turn LEFT on Front Street!” “TURN LEFT ON… bah…” I could almost hear the frustration in the guy’s fancy GPS voice. Ha.. got you, Mr. GPS man, for I know another route!

We arrived at the Park, even though the GPS was sure we were going the wrong way, geared up, and in we went. We noticed that there was now a gate on the stairs of the entrance, to try and deter the geese from coming in.

We had planned to scooter along the wall, and head down into the channel, at the drop off point. I knew that it was 14 minutes on the trigger until we reached it. Sixteen minutes went by, and we hadn’t reached it. I knew we had taken two minutes at the beginning of the dive, to sort ourselves out and do checks, so we should be nearing it now. Nope, no drop off. Ok.. we’ll head South a bit, into the channel anyway, seeing as we know the compass directions.

We goofed around a bit, practiced barrel rolls, did fancy dances, and basically did things that most people would probably have us committed for. We had an absolute blast. We drifted along at 65′, hoping to run on to the Gaskin. Steve has serious Spidey Sense when it comes to getting there, and I was trying to emulate it. Yeah… not so much.

We didn’t want to go too far past it, so we went along into the shallows, and decided to surface, to see where we were. Yeah, not even close to the wreck. We hadn’t even gotten to it yet. Oh well… we were still in good shape.

We ducked back below, and were on the exact path that we had taken out, so we knew where we were. We got back to the basin, messed around some more, then headed back in.

Thanks for the belly laughs, Mer!!

Bottom Time ~ 84 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 70′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Visibility ~ Decent in the channel

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 ~

Oh.. what better to do on a Wednesday after work, than go diving? Steve and I packed up and went to meet Mer, Gerard, and Jay for more scootering goodness.

This time we got to the drop off point, which was actually farther out than we had gone on Monday. Oh well.. we’ll know for next time!

We dropped down, hit the channel, and the visibility was incredible! Sweet!!! Steve and Jay ducked and dived at bottles, while we all played in the channel. Mer and I did more barrel rolls, and we eventually hit the Gaskin on the way back. We played around the wreck, having a grand ol’ time, and then scootered and drifted off of it. When we made it back to the basin, we all had grins the size of Texas on our faces, from such a great dive. We all had alot of fun.

Bottom Time ~ 99 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 105′
Water Temp. ~ 72
Vis. ~ 25′ – 50′

Canadian Invasion ~ Brockville Edition

20 08 2009

Friday, August 7th, 2009 ~

I had packed the van the previous night, so that I was ready to roll in the morning. This was going to be the first weekend of the two Canadian Invasions, and we were meeting at the Bridge Island Resort, in Mallorytown.

When I arrived, there were already folks convening and getting gear ready!

Eric V. and Frankie…



Bob P….





Jamie and Rod…

Hmm.. it seems Chris was able to avoid the camera…

We organized the convoy, and went over to Rockport Dive Centre, to see Jeff. There were 13 of us to dive, which was a bit many for the Shaleka J, so 5 of us were going to scooter out to the wreck!

Chris M., getting ready to scooter (got him this time)…

Bob P., getting ready on the boat!

I had never navigated this dive from shore before, and was looking forward to the adventure! We dropped down, found the line, and headed out. Chris, Piotr, and I were in the lead, with Francois and Eric behind us. Frankie also brought his HD video camera. We got to the end of the line, and didn’t see anything. The visibility wasn’t that great, so we moved forward a little bit more, taking a bearing off of the line. That didn’t work. We went back to the line, and I looked to the right… Ohh.. look at that.. a big bow in the murk. I signaled to my team mates, and around the wreck we went. We saw the boat divers on the wreck as well, and I managed to give a couple of high fives to a bunch of people. We went inside for a bit, then came back out and headed back. What a fun dive!

Bottom Time ~ 54 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 92′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Vis. ~ Stinky

We broke for lunch, and went over to the Boathouse Restaurant. Notice Andy got in both pictures.. 😀

What would an Invasion be without stacking things??

After lunch, we headed back over to Jeff’s for a second run out to the Kinghorn. Chris was sitting this one out, so I took his scooter. Piotr and I teamed up, and Frankie and Eric were a team, once again.

We followed the line out again, but were able to get to the wreck in one this time…lol. We had a leisurely swim around the wreck, greeted some of the other divers, and went back in.

Bottom Time ~ 50 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 94′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Vis. ~ Still Stinky

We headed back to the Bridge Island to meet up with more arriving folk, then went over to the Boathouse again, for a party!

Everyone had arrived, once we got to the Boathouse, and there were so many of us, that we had to line up tables in two rows. We laughed and had a great time, even though Mr. Karaoke Man didn’t get there. Oh well… I can sing without music.

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 ~

We had four boats for the entire group: Two boats of Wayne’s and 1000 Islands Pleasure Diving, leaving out of Caiger’s, and two boats of Jeff’s, leaving from Rockport Dive Centre. We were all heading to the Keystorm, as the Poker Run was going on again, and we were limited to which wrecks we could do. It’s better to stay out of the channel with speeding boats nearby. Apparently, every dive boat in the water, was also headed for the Keystorm. It was going to be one busy day on that wreck.

Steve and I, playing around…

Cap’n. Jeff!

Steve and I were buddied up, and Chris, Piotr, and Jen were joining us as a group. Steve had the video camera, and he and I pointed the scooters down on the hull side, and down we went. We stopped at about the 85′ mark, and went underneath the wreck, to wait for the second gang. Steve filmed them coming down. It was kind of fun to have the scooters on this wreck, as we have always just swam this one. We did a tour down by the props, waved to our other friends, then played around in the cargo holds. We then followed the wall around for a bit, but didn’t see much of anything but wet rock. Coming back, we were right on the anchor. Alot of fun!

Bottom Time ~ 44 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 111′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Vis. ~ 20′ ish

In between dives, Steve and Mer went over to investigate the other group’s boats!

There are always the Kool Aid shots…

Steve, playing in the water…

The Poker Run was going on again, and since there were fewer boats than last year, it really wasn’t so bad. I caught a picture of one little boat in the air.

Oh.. what’s that? A police boat! I need a picture of them…

Um.. no, I didn’t mean for you to come over…

They were pretty friendly, and just checking up on us, to make sure that the speedy boats were cooperating.

Once we were all back on board, we headed back to shore, picked up a few goodies, and convened for some BBQ goodness! We had giant steaks and chicken (thanks to Jen for bringing the meat), potato salad, chips galore, a draw for some prizes (thanks to Rockport Dive Centre and Dive Tech for the donations), and plenty more laughs. Thanks to Pickens for his master cookery on the BBQ too!

Sunday, August 9th, 2009 ~

Today, we were on different runs. Wayne’s boats headed out to the Vickery, then to do a drift dive, and Jeff’s boats were headed off to the Jodrey.

Junior was overseeing the plans…

We tied up to the mooring tree, and prepared for our dive. Chris was a bit under the weather, so Piotr was going to join Jen and I.

We did our predive checks, then drifted to our descent spot. Once we got to the edge of the wall, down we went. It seemed that the current was an extra bit strong today, so on the way down, it felt like we were being carried over a bit. When we got down to 140′, we didn’t see the wreck. We descended a little more, then realized that we were definitely in the wrong spot. I could have sworn that the current had taken us farther past, so I figured we should go a bit west. We scootered along the wall, until we hit even stronger, screaming current, and I realized that we were on the wrong side of the wreck. The current gets even stronger, heading out near the channel, so we turned around, and got a bit more shallow. We scootered for a couple of minutes, then voila!! We were on the wreck! Judging by the distance that we travelled back and forth, we had to have been right at the hull, when we descended. Since it’s quite dark, and you don’t have any ambient light at the hull, neither of us knew that we actually were right beside the wreck. So… we didn’t actually get to spend much time on the wreck, and I have to take alot of that responsibility. I could actually blame it on Chris, on the boat, as just before the dive, he said to Piotr, “Just follow Chan. She knows where she’s going.”

Right.. famous last words! Lol.. well.. it was still an interesting experience, and we still did have alot of fun! Scootering in mid water at depth was actually a really cool experience. I guess the next case of Kool Aid is on me! Oh wait.. I did bring the Kool Aid… good call.

When we returned to shore, we packed up and headed back over to the Family Restaurant, to meet a bunch of the gang from Wayne’s boats, before everyone departed. Becki had the best napkins…rofl.

We shared our stories from the weekend’s dives, shared even more laughter, and enjoyed each other’s company.

It was really amazing to see alot of friends from last year, and we also made some new ones. Last year’s group was 18 people, and this year, we grew to 28, and two different weekends, in two different towns/cities. What an awesome group of people. I can’t wait until next year!

August Long Weekend!

19 08 2009

Saturday, August 1st, 2009 ~

Steve and I ventured down to meet Jen and Jay at Centeen Park. Today, we were going to scooter out past the wall, drop into the channel, and drift away. When we arrived there, it was so busy, that we had to park farther away than we knew there was parking for.

We brought our gear down, and noticed a new friend in the park…

Apparently, the town of Brockville put him there, to deter the geese from playing in the grass. There sure are alot of goose bombs everywhere.

We entered the water, discussed the plan, and away we went.

Once we made it to the drop off, we descended and made our way out on a different path. We saw so much wreckage that we had not seen before, and some that we had as well. There were bottles galore, and pieces of ship machinery scattered just about everywhere.

We didn’t drift onto the Gaskin this time, but carried on past it, looking at other cool things. We eventually made our way back into the basin at Centeen Park, where we played in the shallows for a while.

Bottom Time ~ 130 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 100′
Water Temp. ~ 71

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 ~

Woo Hoo! Another trip to the Jodrey! A bunch of us went out with Jeff, and planned for another goodly dive on the massive wreck. Jen and I were teamed up, Oren and Sean were Team Grey, and Steve joined Jeremy. We also had Andy aboard as a Bubble Watcher!

We went through customs, and made our way to the mooring tree. Steve was anchor man, once again!

Getting ready for the dive…

The currents were a bit odd this time around. There seemed to be back eddys galore, and very strong currents. We were a bit slower than usual descending, and ended up on the port side of the wheelhouse…. where the current is rather nasty on a good day. We were happy to have our scooters with us, that’s for sure. We headed back over to the center, where you are sheltered from the current, and started our tour. We investigated some areas that we hadn’t been to before, and peeked in some more crevices. Alas, we had reached our bottom time, and made the trip back up. Our deco was relaxing, and I had to giggle at Jen’s goby feeding. We finished our deco, and scootered back around to the boat. We hung around on the surface for a while, ditched our tanks, then jumped back in to relax in the water.

Some pics on the ride back…

I swear… that crayfish was THIS BIG!

When we got back to the dock, we waited for customs to clear us, then headed over to the Family Restaurant.

We saw this treat in the parking lot…

Another excellent day!

Monday, August 3rd, 2009 ~

Four of us headed to Cornwall, where we were going to check out the Paper Factory Basement. The current is always stronger in this part of the river, and scooters are a wonderful tool in this environment.

We made our way out of the public dock area, and went for a line search. Once we located it, we headed towards the Basement. I was thankful for the warmer water, as I had a leaky neck seal, and was pretty soaked. We made it to the basement structure, and Steve was communicating to me, on how to find the entrance. I gave the “ok,” and we proceeded…. um… “Uh ohhh…” I took my hand off of the trigger, but my scooter was still going. I gave it a couple of love taps, to see if it was jammed, or if there was something stuck in it. Nope.. pft…

I signaled to Steve, and he came over. I pointed at the trigger, and while he looked, it took him a second to realize that I wasn’t holding it. “DOH!” There wasn’t much we could do, except for pull out the thumb.

Since the scooter was still moving, we opted to keep it going. We were headed back against the current, and any extra scooter power is appreciated. Jay had my little 18ah attached to his butt, so at least I had back up, should I need it.

We went for about 15 minutes, and Steve asked me if I wanted to switch scooters with him. I figured he’d probably handle it better, once we got to the shallows, so I was happy to oblige. Since the current was ripping, I was able to anchor the scooter, and pull it back, so Steve could unclip it. He clipped his 26ah to me, and took the 35ah. It was a pretty smooth transfer! He also tried knocking it a bit, to see if he could unjam it, to no avail. Then.. out came the palm. Ohhhh… this was gonna hurt… One tap… nothing… Two taps… there she goes… He clipped the scooter to his butt, and took my little 18ah from Jay’s butt, and in we went, dodging the weeds, near shore.

Bottom Time ~ 80 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 50′
Water Temp. ~ 72
Current ~ Rippin’!
Vis. ~ 20′

When we got out, we had a look inside. It seems that there was a loose terminal, that caused it to overheat, and fuse the wires together, sticking it on.

So with the smell of burnt wires in the back, we ventured to Kelsey’s for some grub and laughs. Although we had a kick in the butt end to the weekend, it was still fun to hang out with friends, and do some cool diving.

I guess the Basement will have to wait!