Goin’ Back To Connie…

26 08 2012

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 ~

Today, I was hangin’ with Jenni M and Andy, and we went to join in on the SOS (Save Ontario Shipwrecks) Dive and BBQ! When I arrived, Jenn and Andy were already there, and the majority of the SOS folks had gone up to the Wee Hawk, to drift down to the Conestoga. We decided to get in at the Connie, and have an easy go of it. Jenni M was going diving!!! 😛

We geared up,  got in, did gear checks, and down we went. I figured that doing a nice, shallow wreck would be a good opportunity to bring my camera along!

I have not been on this wreck in about 7 years, and it was neat to see it again.

Looking up through the broken stern…

Jenni M, New Diver Extraordinaire!

Andy, giving the moose ears!

A view of the stack, that you can actually see above the surface of the water.

Fancy meeting Luc here!

Lookin’ good, Jenni M! Yes, I think this should be a hair commercial…

We even saw a little pike in the weeds, that did not seem to care that we were there.

We made a few passes of the wreck, dodging the current at the bow, and checked out some of the fish spots (where they were hiding from the current).

Bottom Time: 37 mins.
Max. Depth: 20′
Water Temp.: 75F
Visibility: Not horrible, but the camera made it look much better.

It was then time for BBQ! SOS had reserved the pavillion and the BBQ, and we had all brought goodies to share. Luc was the “Le Chef,” and I have to say, that he did a fantastic job. Thanks, Luc!

Look at that spread! That homemade choco cake was fan-freakin’-tastic!

We had a most excellent day, and thanks to Trista, for putting it all together!

Please become a member of Save Ontario Shipwrecks! Take only pictures, leave only bubbles!

>>Click Here for SOS website<<

2012 Brockville Canadian Invasion!

21 08 2012

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 ~

Packed and ready to go! I started off toward Ivy Lea, making a stop at Dive Tech (thank you for the prizes!), then to the Capricorn Motel Royale, where I met Bill and Moira, who were most excellent hosts! Bill showed me around, gave me the instructions for the sat TV, showed me the kitchen, BBQs, and was ready to welcome our group with open arms. Great start!

Dev was the first one to arrive, and most others followed pretty quickly. I handed out goodie bags, assisted with the sat TV instructions (I got pretty good at it, by the end of the day), and we made our way to Smuggler’s Run. Chris Muffin Man Malinowski and Damian also came by to have dinner with us, which was a nice surprise. The food and service was very good, and the convenience factor of it being right across from the Capricorn was excellent!

The dock, near the hotel and restaurant…

Really cool little car, parked outside of the restaurant…



Friday, August 17th, 2012 ~

Up and out early, for breakfast, at Caiger’s. Boats were loaded, and our departure was around 9:30am. For the Rec boat, we had The Arrow, which can house 22 divers. We had 19, plus one bubble watcher. The Arrow was headed for the Keystorm and America! The two Tech boats were River Diver and Run Time, and we were headed to the Jodrey. It was grey and a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop us.

The Arrow, almost ready to go…





Loaded up, on River Diver…



…and on Run Time!



Happy faces! Look! Jenni M is going diving!







Our guest speaker was revealed, since Fred was joining us on the Jodrey!



Let’s go diving!

We went through customs, then made our way to the mooring tree. Moe’s boat was there, which meant… so were Raphael, Tyson, and Mark! After our gear checks, and we were ready to descend, we saw our three friends, who had left from the US side. “Good to see you, friends!” 🙂

Run Time folks, ready to go!
(Vinny was hiding, but at least the sun came out)…

For this dive, we had two groups of three, but would all be staying together, to descend down the wall. Myself, Eric, Fred, Dev, Marc, and Frankie. We made our way down the wall, and the wreck eventually came into sight. The visibility was horrible, so we didn’t really see too much. Once on the wreck, our group of six split into two groups of three. We stayed around the bow, did a circle of the wheelhouse, and stayed close, since the vis was so bad. The current was down, too. There was hardly anything, and even the swimming folks went around the port side of the wheelhouse, where the current is usually famous for wanting to flip you over, and throw you up from 150′. Today, it was kind! So, due to the vis., we didn’t get to tour too much, but it was still good to get down there!

On deco, Eric, Fred, and I got to our 20′ stop, where Fred showed us some new deco tricks. We also played around, writing in wet notes. We learned that “Deco,” in Spanish, is “El Deco.” 😛

Bottom Time: 64 mins.
Max. Depth: 173′
Water Temp.: 75F
Vis.: 5′
Current: Very low

Clockwise, from the back: Dev C., Frankie F., Kevin A., Neil M., Marc H., Chris McM., Eric B., Fred D.

…and me, at the far left. 🙂

Frankie… Rock on, dood!

Once we returned to shore, cleared customs, and unloaded, people dispersed for fills, and Steph had brought us a present, thanks to Brian Ross, of Banner’s Plus!

I headed back to the hotel, to hang up gear, charge scooters, and my light, and I think I actually got a 15 minute nap!

Dinner was planned for 6:30pm, at Caiger’s. The dinner was amazing, and the service equaled it. Thank you, Mary (and the rest of the staff, too)!

I gave away a few prizes, then Fred Devos began his presentation on the Mexico Cave Exploration Project, which was top-notch. Some really great information, as well as video from some very unique cave. Thank you so much, Fred! It was great to have you here! It was also great to have a few extra friends come by for dinner, as well as the presentation. Bob Sherwood, I didn’t get a picture of you! :O

After the presentation, a bunch of us headed upstairs for some karaoke fun. Steph showed us how it was done, and I sang a few, too!

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 ~

Early to Caiger’s, to hand out breakfast tickets, then loaded the boats! The Arrow headed to the Vickery, then for a drift dive, and River Diver and Run Time were back to the Jodrey!

Steve, loading up!

Steve was here for this dive, and he and Frankie were diving together. Marc and Dev paired up, and Eric and I. The six of us descended together, and Steve was going to lead the way, to show us a penetration. I have been diving this wreck for four years, and had yet to go inside it.  I was number 6, and I have to say, that I really did not see much. The visibility was already pretty crappy, and being #6… well… there was quite a bit of percolation, which got in the way (No, I am not blaming my dive buddies.. they were all great!). We got to the end of the line, and it was time to turn around. It was up to me to navigate the line out… which was not the easiest task, with all of the stray lines in there, but we got to our exit safely. 🙂 I really enjoyed this dive, and would really like to go back there! Perhaps with just one or two buddies. 🙂 Kevin A., Neil M., and Chris McMullen had also buddied up for the dive, and went for a tour around the wheelhouse.

Bottom Time: 69 mins.
Max. Depth: 203′
Water Temp.: 75F
Vis.: 8′
Current: Very low

After our dive, a few of us went up to Tek Div, to say hello to Stephane. It was the first time that I had been there, and it is a really nice set up! Thanks for helping us out, Stephane!

Back to the motel to charge, hang gear, sneak in a 20 minute nap, then back to Caiger’s, for our group photo, then dinner! We had some more friends join us for dinner, and laughs. Tonight was prize night! Thank you to all of our friends, who donated prizes: Liquid Productions, Whirling Girl, Dive Tech, Rockport Dive Centre, Hi Def Pictures, 2 Beez Training, In Depth Scuba Services, Exploration Promotions, and GUE Ontario!

We also had a few special prizes for the friends that have been to all 5 Invasions, and one for Jenni M, who has attended 2 as a bubble watcher, and this one as a diver.. finally!

Pic taken with Becki’s camera (not sure who took it)…

Thanks also, to Brian Ross/Banner’s Plus, for the awesome banner!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012 ~

Today, the Tech boats were picking up at Mallorytown Landing. We were going to go over to the Daryaw, and do a drift off of it. The surface current at the Daryaw mooring was crazy.. as always. We had a tag line set up, as well as a few gear lines, so that we could tie in, to get our gear on… and not drift away. Eric and I splashed in, got our gear on, and were joined by Marc and Dev. These are the times when I am extra thankful for my scooter. 🙂 We descended down the line, on the trigger, and proceeded to the underside of the wreck, where we were mostly sheltered. We tied off our stage bottles and scooters, and ran a line, to go into the wreck. I ran the line, and as we were going in, Steve and Frankie were coming out… followed by quite a huge amount of silt. Apparently, as they went in, there were a ton of eels that retreated, and stirred everything up… I will give them the benefit of the doubt. 😛 So.. we waited for them to pass, and I was trying to make a call on whether we kept on, or turn around.. wondering if the “dust” would settle. It didn’t. I signaled to turn around, and went to go another way, which was also silted out. There had also been a few boats on it before us, as we pulled up to the mooring.

Hanging onto the tag and gear lines, in the crazy surface current, about to descend (taken by Rick Lymer, with my camera)…

So.. back under the wreck, we went.. Picked up our gear, then ascended into one of the holds, where we surfaced and waved to each other, in the air pocket. There was quite a big pocket, which does grow throughout the summer, from all of the divers’ bubbles. We came back down, did a tour of the outside of the wreck, then went for a drift. We stayed on the North side of the wall, and there wasn’t a whole lot of current where we were, in most of the areas. I did see the biggest sturgeon that I had ever seen in my life.. 6 feet long! There were a few big carp, a lot of baby walleyes, and even more bass. It is nice to see that the fish are doing well! I even saw a couple of the fresh water jellies, which I didn’t see, last year!

There were some pretty cool rock formations along the wall, but then we got to an area where there was just a lot of dirt. We weren’t exactly sure if we were getting close to our target (the big white channel marker), so we drifted for a while longer, then Dev blew a bag, to let Rick know where we were, to pick us up. Due to a lack of current in the area that we were in, we weren’t that close to the marker…lol. Oh well.. still fun. 🙂

Bottom Time: 75 mins.
Max. Depth: 88′
Water Temp.: 73F
Vis.: 20”
Current: Very low

Apparently, Frankie found a nice pink clip…

The sky got a bit dark as we made our way back, but we were still all smiles…

…and Neil passed out the Deco Cookies… Yumm… Maple Cookies….

Once we returned, we unloaded, said some goodbyes, then a few of us went back over to Caiger’s, to relax… and for me to pay up! 🙂

James and Leslie came over, after James did a triathlon (along with a bunch of our other friends)…

I can’t get over what an amazing group of people that come to the Invasions. I have met so many wonderful friends and dive buddies, and cannot wait until next year!

Andy, Kate… Kate, Andy!

Our group shot (even though there were a few missing)…

Also, a small video that I put together of my weekend’s pics! Thanks again to everyone! See you next year! w00t! 🙂

Oh Buoy, Was There Ever Current!

13 08 2012

Sunday, August 12th, 2012 ~

Eric and I joined in on a charter, with Bottom Time Diving, run by Andy. Luc, Frank, and Sandy were going out to replace a damaged mooring buoy on the Eastcliffe Hall, and Eric and I were along to help, if needed. Once I arrived at the docks, the clouds quickly joined me, and gave us a bit of a downpour.. Oops.. Did I bring that??

We loaded up, and since there was room on the boat, Andy let Eric and I bring our scooters aboard. Thank goodness… Holy surface current, Batman! I think it was comparable to the Oconto surface current!

Funny enough, I had never been on the Eastcliffe Hall. We had threatened to scooter out to it a few times, but the times that my buddies did it, I wasn’t there. Eric and I descended, and there was a crowd around Luc et al., putting a new line onto the mooring (including divers from another boat). We were going to coil up the old line and bring it up, once they were finished. Instead of getting in everyone’s way, we decided to check out a few of the holds, while the guys did their thing. Visibility was not very good, and apparently, it had been really good for the past couple of weeks. There had been quite a bit of rain over the last week, as well as a few boats on it, before we got there.

We scootered about for a bit, then noticed some flapping line. We figured it was for divers to use, to pull themselves along, in the ripping current, so we secured it a little better. There were two lines that we did this to.

Eric and I hovered over one of the hatches, to go inside. Eric had brought along his reel, in case we felt like going for a tour. We looked at our bottom timers, and since the others had already surfaced, and we were keeping the dive under an hour, we decided that next time would probably be a smarter time to go in. *Doh!* 🙂

As we came back to the mooring line, we did not see the old line, so made our ascent. It turns out that Frank had brought it up. Good stuff!

We surfaced at the bow of the boat, it took about one second for us to reach the ladder, and grab on tight. Eric tied in to the gear line, and I passed him my scooter. *Phew!* That current was rock ‘n’ roll!!! It was bubbles sideways current! It didn’t help that the wind and waves had really picked up. Oh well, we still had a fun dive!

Bottom Time: 49 mins.
Max Depth: 67′
Water Temp: 75F

After we boarded, the damaged buoy needed to come in, and would be replaced with a new one. Andy, Frank, Luc, and Sandy were the experts, and got the job done! Well done, guys! I was trying not to be sick, since the weather had taken a bit of a turn, rocking the boat. I did hold the tools, though. 😀

The damaged spar buoy…

Luc, workin’ the chains…

The new buoy…

Once the new buoy was attached and away, we were off! The weather started to clear, and we could actually see the sun! We headed back towards Morrisburg, and Luc was going to lead us on a drift dive. We had done most of this drift before, but have not been to a couple of the places that we went. We drifted by a few old wrecks, with some strong current in some places, and letting up in a few other places. We drifted along the old lock wall, and to the pump station. Along the way, we saw many different fish! A few giant Sheepshead Carp, Walleyes, Pike, Bass, Mud Puppies, and I even caught a glimpse of a couple of the Freshwater Jellies! We didn’t see any last year, so it was neat to see them still around, even though I only saw two of them. What a fun dive!

Bottom Time: 58 mins.
Max Depth: 48′
Water Temp: 75F

We had a fun time on Andy’s boat, and enjoyed some fun dives, with some cool new friends!

Holiday At The River!

7 08 2012

Monday, August 6th, 2012 ~ Civic Holiday!

River, you say? I’m in! A small gaggle of us went for a tour! It was time to test the truck location (meaning, to see if we could locate it again), and show it to our friends that had yet to see it! At least, that was the plan…

Myself, Steve, Chris P., Oren, Jen B., Mike, and Michel had scooters, and were willing to travel… in the water… to the truck… we hoped!

Our first stop was the Gaskin, since our bearings had been from there. We reached it, headed South, then east, then for a drift! The current wasn’t moving as quickly this time around, so it did take a little longer, moving along the channel.

Wouldn’t you know it… TRUCK! SWEET! That is three times, now (although, I missed one of the times, due to my ripped neck seal). Jen had her camera with her, and got some video. So, yes… There is videographic evidence that we have seen the truck! No photoshop involved! w00t!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
Max. Depth: 101′
Water Temp.: 75F

Waves And BBQ

6 08 2012

Sunday, August 5th, 2012 ~

Since Jenni M has now become Scuba Jenni M, I was hoping to introduce her to the River! I figured that a nice swim out to the Rothesay would be a nice, easy, and fun dive. Yeah… I guess I should have known better. The winds were blowing like crazy – enough to push the van, while driving on the highway – and when we arrived, there was some wave action going on. It didn’t look too bad, so we geared up.

There were some other divers just finishing up, so we hopped in, and did our gear checks. Once we started out to the jug, the waves and winds were absolutely insane. We had been pushed quite a distance away from the jug, and since Jenni M had been working so hard, it was time to thumb it. We had been swimming for quite some time, and there were ocean-like waves tossing us about. We made our way back to the beach, and climbed out.

It’s a bummer that we didn’t make it out, but we had to be on the safe side. Another group of divers pulled up, and asked what the conditions were like. When we told them it was pretty rough, they went down to check… and quickly came up, and left. Oh well, another day!

Since we had worked up quite an appetite, it was time to mosey on over to Northern Tech Diver, in Kingston, for a BBQ! We stopped by Jen B. and Mike’s new place, to check it out, and grab more people to join in the fun!

Master Chef Mike was doing the cooking, and did a superb job! Thank you James, Mike, Tom, and NTD! It was just like old times!