Jelly Roll Park!

29 08 2010

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 ~

Time for some more scootering adventures! Steve and I met Claudia, Oren, and Jen down at Centeen Park, and had planned to hit the little “Unknown Hull” that Steve discovered a few weeks back.

Jen, getting her gear together…

Our plan was going to be a bit different from our previous treks to the wreck, but we had hoped to still come upon it.

On the previous weekend in Kingston, Jennifer had told us of some Jelly Fish that she had seen in the water. I was completely mesmerized, and was a little bummed that I had not been on the boats, so that I could see these little guys.

We did our pre-dive checks, and started to make our way out. The park was busy, as there were a couple of Open Water courses going on, so we made sure that we were out of their way. As we ventured out, I was absolutely wide-eyed when I saw a little clear creature in the water column, with mini tentacles, and a round shape, moving rather “jellyish-like.”

I saw one!! Then another.. and another.. Holy smokes! These little guys were so neat looking! I can’t believe they are in the St. Lawrence! They were in about 20′ to 30′ of water, and we saw a bunch of them along the way.

We headed 30 minutes upstream, on the trigger, dropped into the channel, then drifted for 30 minutes amongst the periwinkle shells. Before ducking into the channel, I actually let go of the trigger a couple of times, to allow the jellies to pass through.

As we drifted, we came upon some more very old wreckage. It was in about 65′ to 70′ of water, and just had some ribbing left to it. It was all wood, with ladder-like rungs through the ribbing. There were big metal pieces strewn about one side of it, and it was hard to tell what they once were. It was still very interesting to check out.

We left this wreckage, and went in search of the “Unknown Hull.” It seems we had overshot it, as we didn’t find it this time. Oh well.

We made our way back to the Gaskin, where there were some charters moored to it. We motored around the wreck, where there were some folks a little mesmerized by motorized machines passing by. We swam around the wreck for a bit, then decided to head home. As we moved in the direction of the line, we were saddened to see that it had been cut. Someone on shore had mentioned that the line was gone, and that they had driven four hours to do that dive from shore, for the first time, and it was missing. They had been to the stop sign on Friday afternoon, and the line was still there. It was gone by Saturday morning.

Steve, Leigh, and Francois had laid that line about 5 years ago, and you could tell that the line had been cut. There were no anchor marks, and there were still bits here and there, that you could see a definite cut mark. Sad. There were even parts of it balled up, underneath a rock.

So, we still had a great dive, and it was good to get back out into the channel!

Bottom Time ~ 116 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 104′
Water Temp. ~ 71 (the river is starting to cool a bit)

Claudia and I…

Sunday, August 29th, 2010 ~

Eric came down to join in the fun today, and since we all had the burn time, we were going to follow the “usual” path to the “Unknown Hull.”

We would head upstream for 40 minutes, drop into the channel, drift for 40 mins, then head back up to 75′, where the wreck sits. As we headed out, there was a noise that made us all jump. It didn’t sound like any boat or sea doo that we’ve heard before. It was extremely loud, and actually felt like someone was firing missiles into the water. We looked around, but didn’t see anything. Of course, our first reaction was wondering if a scooter had blown up behind us…lol. What it was remains a mystery. We saw many more Jellies as well.

Along the way, we found even more remnants of a really old wreck. There was a huge chain buried in the periwinkle shells, that was very long. There were also chunks of wood and metal, as well as a bunch of bottles in just about every direction. Another bit of goodness to explore on another dive.

We also made it to one of the horse carriages. There were so many weeds on it, and the horse harness is pretty mangled now. You can still see the metal wheels, with big spikes in the middle, and other parts that are difficult to distinguish.. for me, anyway.

We managed to get to the Unknown Hull again, and showed it to the rest of the gang. There’s not much left to it, but it’s old, new to us, and very cool. I decided to leave the camera at home, but should come back with it next time.

It was around here that Jen must have come into contact with some kind of clear petroleum. It was after her gas switch so she wondered if it was her gas.. which it ended up not being. We had turned the dive anyway, to be sure. Whatever kind of oil it was had completely encased her back up regulator, neck seal, and part of her wing. You couldn’t see it, but you could definitely smell it. I think Jen has now mastered the art of oil clean up.

On our way in, we met up with Chris P. and Allan in the shallows. Chris had his camera with him, and took some pics of us.

Me, taken by Chris Phinney…

Bottom Time ~ 118 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 100′
Water Temp. ~ 71

There were two OW courses going on, and I spoke with one fellow that was so pleased that he had finished his course, and had succeeded with the mask removal/replacement. He said he had tried it last year, but just couldn’t deal with the mask, until now. Practice, practice, practice… Congratulations!!  W00t!

It was great to partake in another weekend, filled with friends and Diving Goodness!

Kingston Invasion ~ 2010

23 08 2010

Friday, August 20th, 2010 ~

Up and at ’em! I think I got up before the birds did, loaded the last little bits into the van, and started the trek to Kingston. Quite a few of the gang had arrived the night before, so I was going to meet them at the boat.

I arrived a little earlier than the gang, and got to hang out with Anne and Harold for a little bit.

Kingston Dive Charter docks…

Friends started to arrive, and the boat was loaded up. Since we only had one boat filled for the Friday, I sat out, in order for the others to have some Diving Goodness. The lake was flat too, which is about the only time I can go…lol. Oh well, I was still a very happy camper, and was very happy to see everyone.

Once everyone returned, went to hotel rooms, and freshened up, we headed over to The Pilot House for some dinner. From there, a bunch of us went to the Legion. It turns out that they happened to have karaoke that night, and we went to have some fun!

By the end of the night, I had been invited to sing at a benefit, to write songs with a Legion member, and was handed a business card, in case I wanted to do some recording. It really was a blast. I ended up singing a couple of duets with the guy running it, and we got alot of laughs with our renditions of Picture and Summer Nights. It really was a blast, and everyone there was fantastic. It was also one of the members’ Birthday, and she was happy to share her cake with all of us.

Such fun!!!

Saturday, August 21st, 2010 ~

We had two boat loads today, and since it was pretty windy, I opted to stay on shore. My tummy really does not agree with the lake, when it’s rocking and rolling out there. It didn’t look too bad in the bay, but with the wind, the prediction was definitely “Rock and Roll.”

I bid safe dives to everyone, went back to the hotel to do some work, then came back to hang out with the fellas at the shop.

I eventually wandered back over to the boats, greeted the peeps coming back from Diving Goodness, and they told me that it was definitely rock and roll out there, and that I would have been in the fetal position. Although, they still had a good time. *Phew*

I dropped all of the BBQ goodies off at Northern Tech Diver, and when Eric arrived (he wasn’t there for the Saturday charter), he, Steve, Frankie, and I went over to the quarry, to get me in the water! I was having serious Diving Goodness Envy!

We brought the scooters to mess around with, but the visibility was absolutely horrible, so wen decided to have some fun, ducking and dodging the walls of the quarry, while doing laps. Steve and I were in the lead, as a team of two, with Frankie and Eric behind us… er… well, they WERE behind us! That’s how bad the visibility was. Steve and I stopped to see if they would catch up, so we played around, while I attempted to take some pictures. The camera always makes the vis look better…

Steve took a couple of me too…

Since we couldn’t see anything anyway, I tied off the camera, and we went back to our laps, looking for Eric and Frankie. It is not a large quarry, so we figured we’d find them at some point.

Once we did a lap or two, we surfaced, to look for their bubbles.. There they were! Off we went again! Doh! They moved! We surfaced at the same time as they did, and we beelined it for them, on the surface, full of laughter. It was only the quarry, but it was still alot of fun.

Eric and Frankie…

Bottom Time ~ 33 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 25′
Water Temp. ~ 75
Visibility ~ 3′

Eric, trying to stay out of the rain…

We didn’t stay very long, as we had to get back to the shop for the BBQ!

When we arrived, the BBQ had begun! Chef Jennifer was well on the way, cooking all of the burgers. Thanks, Jen! I had already let the group know that I needed some Diving Goodness, so no one was left out to lunch… er.. dinner.

Chef Jen!

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 ~

Today, I was going to attempt to get on a boat. It seemed that the lake wasn’t too bad, and there wasn’t much of a wind happening, so we figured I was safe! I even had my gear on the boat, when Anne called me, telling me that it was absolutely nasty out there, and that I would definitely not like it. *sigh* Suckage factor high, but I really did appreciate the call. So… down I went, to get my gear….

“Bye Bye, friends! Happy Diving!”

I returned to the shop, where I hung out with Mike and Scotty… darn it… couldn’t resist the deal that Mike found on some Air Jordans… All three of us got them. That, and we used the bunny to drain some tanks. See what happens when I can’t go diving? :O

When the second boat returned, I was waiting at the dock, so we could go get some early dinner!

You call that a knife? 😀

So.. apparently, everyone did have fun dives, and we did have alot of laughs on the surface. Next year… I’m on the boat.. I mean it!!!

Thanks for a wonderful weekend, everyone!!

Group shot…

Here is a short video of the weekend!

Brockville Invasion ~ 2010

16 08 2010

Friday, August 13th, 2010 ~

w00 h00! A year’s worth of planning, and the Invasion was finally upon us. Time to see friends from last year, some of the “usual suspects,” and make some new friends.

I had loaded the DGTU on Thursday, so I was ready to roll on Friday morning. We were meeting at Jeff’s, to dive the Kinghorn.

Some of the gang had arrived on Thursday evening, and some were arriving today.

A good sized group were hitching a ride on Jeff’s boat, while some of us were going to scooter out to the wreck. Since it it not permitted to dive off the dock during boat season, we were given special permission for the day, and promised to stay away from the boat docks, picking up the line off of the customs dock, instead of the usual spot.

As we were getting our gear together, we got dive bombed by a military plane… about 5 times. I caught it once, as it had already passed…

Once we got sorted out and did our gear checks, Eric V., Ralph, myself, Chris Mal., Piotr, and Szymon headed out on our “turbos,” in search of the line. I had never picked up the line here, and hoped we would find it quickly. Alas, there it was. We got to it quite quickly and headed out.

Chris Mc., Mark N., Bob and Brian P., Erin A., Stephanie and Carmine B., and John Bailey went out on the Shaleka J, with Jeff at the helm, and we met them on the wreck.

Ralph, Eric, and I did a couple of tours around the outside of the wreck, then headed inside. I had my little Go Pro camera with me, and although it was a bit dark, I did get a little bit of footage with it.. that is, until it leaked a bit.

Erin got a little ride on Ralph’s scooter, which I know she enjoyed! We decided to get back on the line, and head back in. Once back at the docks, we found a good spot to leave our scooters, and tied them off. We were coming back for a second dive, so figured the best place for them was in the shallow water, tied to the dock.

Max. Depth ~ 91′
Bottom Time ~ 48 mins.
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ 30’ish

Lunch time! We all walked over to the pub for some grub – drysuits and all. I had given them warning that there would be about 18 of us for lunch. They were very happy with the warning. We had alot of fun with the girl serving us. She was joking right alongside of us, and made our meal that much more enjoyable. They were ready for our sogginess, and had set up tables for us in the outdoor, covered area.

Then.. the bill came… Holy smokes… Yes, it is the real thing…

We then made our way back over to Jeff’s for Dive number two. We picked up our gear from the ledge, and once again made our way out to the Kinghorn.

Me gearing up, taken by Andy H…

Chris.. doing some gear maintenance.. with a saw???

I didn’t bring the camera out with me this time, so I didn’t get any shots, but we had a very similar dive. Scootered out, swam around, high-fived passers-by, played inside the wreck, played outside the wreck, then made our way back.

Max. Depth ~ 90′
Bottom Time ~ 41 mins.

Of course, there had to be Kool Aid shots!

After our dives, we headed over to Caiger’s, so the rest of us could check in and get sorted out before dinner.

Dinner was a choice between chicken and steak, and a myriad of other deliciousness. We had two tables, with over 30 people for dinner!

After dinner, some of us made our way upstairs, where we had some karaoke fun. I made a few friends…lol.

Saturday, August 14th, 2010 ~

Saturday, we boarded our charters, with a packed lunch, and headed out for some Diving Goodness!

One group of divers boarded with 1000 Island Pleasure Diving, for some Keystorm and America Goodness, and another two groups were bound for the Jodrey.

A couple of  pics from our Jodrey charter…

We met up with everyone at Boldt Castle (Customs). Of course, there were pictures…

Chris McMullen and I were buddied up for some Jodrey Goodness. We made our descent down the wall, played around the bow for a bit, then made our way back in. This was the first time Chris and I had dived as a team, and we were in pretty good sync. Thanks for the dive, Chris!

Total Run Time ~ 62 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 179′
Water Temp. ~ 73

Cap’n. Jeff…

This year’s Invasion was moved to keep from the interruptions of the Poker Run. Instead of that, we had Pirate Day. There were many boats out, with pirate flags on their boats, and zipping back and forth. Needless to say, that we had quite a few waves crashing over our heads in the little mooring bay. It was for this reason that I opted to hang out in the water, while waiting for the rest of the gang to surface. My tummy and boat rockin’ just don’t mix.

Once they were back, I took even more pictures..

After we were allowed entry back into Canada, we unloaded, and headed to the patio, for some pre-dinner chatter about the day’s dives!

We joined again in the Caiger’s Dining Room, and had another fantastic dinner. There were many laughs, and alot of discussion about corn. One of the servers got in on it as well, and even brought me a little cup, with a few kernels of corn.. Priceless.

After dinner, some of us gathered around a bon fire, and enjoyed the beautiful evening. Thanks to the family that joined us, and brought marshmallows!


Sunday, August 15th, 2010 ~

Sunday, one group was headed to the Vickery, and for a cool drift dive, near the Ash Island Barge, and the tech boats headed back to the Jodrey. Dan MacKay, Jen, and Jeremy joined us for today’s dive as well.

Jen and I teamed up together, with Chris Mc. and Dan as a team alongside of us. We played around the bow some more, and although the visibility wasn’t very stellar, it was still a fun dive.

Bottom Time ~ 64 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 177′
Water Temp. ~ 73

This year’s Invasion was a little different, in the respect that it was an all-inclusive weekend, apart from drinks. The charters, room, dinners, lunches, breakfasts, T Shirts, and prizes were all included in the cost of the trip. I think this way works out very well, and I will definitely arrange it this way for next year as well.

It was really amazing to see some of the people that we only see once a year, and also great to have some new faces along!

Until next year!

DIR Ontario Presents…

8 08 2010

Friday, August 6th, 2010 ~

I received a message from Fred Devos, back in July, saying that he was going to be in the area, and would be happy to give a couple of presentations on Mexico Cave Exploration and Intro to Survey. I had really wanted to plan a “DIR Ontario Day” this year, but just hadn’t had the time to put everything together. This was a good reason to get off my butt and do it. This would be a wonderful opportunity for our dive community, for us to learn from some of Fred’s experiences, and about the ongoing projects in Mexico.

I had arranged for a small meeting room in Kingston, and started to spread the word.

Tonight, Fred spoke about “Mexico Cave Exploration: Past, Present, and Future.” We had 18 people in attendance, from the GTA to Ottawa. Fred told us of their exploration and cave pushes in different systems in Mexico, and how they were going to progress into the future, with the Mexico Cave Exploration Project and CINDQ.

They were going to be collecting data from the cave systems, to monitor water temperatures, changing water depths, and surveying techniques. It was so fascinating, and I think most of us could have listened all night.

We were also lucky enough to watch a video that had just been shot on a recent cave exploration trip. What a treat!

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 ~

This morning, Fred had let us know that MCEP and CINDAQ were designating a Sensus to DIR Ontario, and that any of us could travel down to Mexico, remove it from one of the cave systems, and download the data from it. The sensus can record up to six months of data. What an honour… Thank you, Fred, MCEP, and CINDAQ. 🙂

Fred’s presentation this morning was an Intro To Survey, which was very interesting.

We got some background on some of the systems that the Mexico Cave Exploration Project were surveying, as well as information on the tools used to do it.

After the inside presentation, we moved outside, where we were to survey our “Motel 6 Cave.” Notice the cave sponge on the right hand side…

Fred gave us a little direction, split us into two teams, and had each team use a different method of surveying, to compare our results afterwards.

After lunch, we convened back in the Meeting Room, where Steve gave a presentation on Scooter Maintenance. He talked about scooter care while traveling, charging, trouble shooting, extra skills that need practicing when using a scooter, vacuum testing, and other useful goodies.

James from Northern Tech Diver had a table with Halcyon gear, and DUI goodies.

We even had a table set up for DIR Ontario goodies, She-Ps, and Diving Goodness T Shirts.

After a great day of learning, surveying, and some laughter, we topped off the evening with homemade ice cream from White Mountain, and a walk around the boat docks, downtown Kingston.

This was the first ever “DIR Ontario Presents…,” and I would love to continue the tradition next year.

Thank you Fred and Steve!!! We can’t wait to get down to Mexico to start downloading some data!