Make This One Count!

29 10 2012

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 ~ 

Since a few of us are otherwise occupied for the next few weeks, we wanted to do a really good dive, this week. We wanted to “make it count,” seeing as by the time we get back at it, we may be quarry-bound for the winter (Note: may be). 🙂

We met James, John, Cory, Raluca, and Eric at the River, and decided to go in from a different spot. We wanted to do a little looking around, in places that we hadn’t been yet. We brought our gear down to the water, avoided getting sucked into the mud, and discussed our plan. We had a few different options, and decided on an island to scooter around, drop into the channel, drift for a bit, then make our way back in. Steve, Eric, and I would be in front, with John, James, and CoRal in a line, behind us.

Muddy entry (it got pretty mucky, as we got in)…

Putting our fins on was a bit of a task, due to the animal that was the mud. We finally wrestled our fins on, and decided to surface swim out a bit, to do our gear checks. The weeds were plentiful and thriving, so we swam out past them. We got into about 10′ of water, and as we peeked under, we saw what appeared to be some pretty sweet visibility. Probably the best we have seen all year! W00 hoo!

Gear checks done, bubble checks, and upstream, we went! The visibility was absolutely amazing. We had a pretty easy go of it for a little while, and then hit some pretty strong current. We were still able to push through it, and had a few laughs along the way. Once we got to our target island, we turned, zig-zagged, and eventually made our way into the channel. We had a nice descent into the channel, where we hit some pretty rock ‘n’ roll currents. Blake, you weren’t kidding… Holy washing machine, Batman! :O There were some pretty crazy currents, upswells, downswells, and a few crazy depth changes. Whoa, Nelly! I can’t say that we all stayed shoulder to shoulder, but we did stick together, and were able to handle ourselves, while being tossed around, a little.

We then drifted for a little while, settled out, then came back up to about 70′, where we found some much easier current to drift with. We then came upon a little wreck that we had “found,” last year (it has been found before). With this amazing visibility, we were actually able to see it, this time. We then made our way back in, swam through the thick weeds, and back into the thick mud, to get out.

Bottom Time: 81 minutes
Max. Depth: 113′ (thanks to the downswell)
Water Temp.: 55F
Visibility: About 70′ (Crisp for about 15′, and a little milkier past that, to approx. 35′ – Best vis. all year)

A couple of group shots, with some smiley faces!

We did have just a few laughs, as we brought our gear up…

Yep… I think we made this one count! What a fun adventure!





Scooter-Bound To The Eastcliffe Hall

24 10 2012

Sunday, October 21st, 2012 ~ 

Today’s adventure was to scooter to the Eastcliffe Hall, from shore. It is not an exceptionally easy task due to navigation, poor visibility, and some very strong currents.

We arrived to some locked gates at the park, so went next door, and did actually see someone working security.

Eric, chasing down the security fella, to find out where we could get in…

An entry that we did not use…

We checked out a couple of entry points, and opted on one close to the docks.

Since the boats are out of the water, we found a neat little spot where we dropped our gear in. It was extremely gooey here, and as we got in, there were places where we sank right down, into the mud. That made for some tricky fin donning and bottle clipping.

Once we finally got ourselves finned and clipped, we started off, out of the bay. The visibility was absolutely horrible, to the point where you couldn’t even see much past your hand, on your scooter. We knew the vis would be bad in the shallows, and we surface scootered out for a bit, until we got to the marker buoys. We dropped down, and we still could not see anything. The vis just wasn’t opening up. I could feel my thumb get a little itchy, and threaten to come out. I am not afraid of a little bad vis, but to do a 2 hour + dive in this stuff seemed just pointless.

I figured I would have a little faith, and see if we got a little reprieve from the milkiness. Finally, we started to see a little more of our scooters. Still not great, but it was getting better. Ok… my thumb tucked itself back around the goodman handle of my light, and we carried on. On our way out, there was a freighter that passed overhead, that was so incredibly loud, that it felt about 2 inches away from us (no, it wasn’t really that close). It made the earth shake!

After about 30 minutes on the trigger, the visibility really started to improve, and was actually really good! We took a couple of detours (which was inevitable, with the vis that brought us here), but finally made it to the wreck. The current was down, and about 30′ of vis, on the wreck. Way better than when Eric and I dived it last.

We scootered over some really nice sand banks, that could have been taken right out of a desert, as well as maneuvered over some large boulders and rocky areas, in absolutely ripping current.

We toured around, played for a bit, dropped into a couple of the holds, and decided to head back. Along the way, my scooter started to get very tired. Instead of drag behind, I hitched a ride on Steve’s crotch strap, and we were back on track, as we made our way through the shallows. There was quite a bit of surge going on, and I trying to keep from feeding the fish (yes, I was successful). 😛

La la la la la…. We’ll be there soon… La la laaaaaa.

We made it back to the mud, where we all had pretty big grins on our faces, from yet another most excellent adventure! It is definitely never boring in the St. Lawrence River!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Max. Depth: 90′
Water Temp.: 57
Visibility: Varied from 3 inches to 25′ (but pretty milky). Really decent vis on the wreck.

Chatting, after our dive!

Dusk crept up on us, as we packed up…

Once we got packed up, we went to a neat little pizza joint, that Eric knew about. It took forever to get it, but once we got it, it was delicious!

So, I finally got to scooter out to this wreck. For one reason or another, I had not been able to do it! I look forward to doing it again, in the spring!

*Note to self* Bring Magnum. 🙂





DUI Dog Demo Day Diving Goodness!

10 10 2012

Saturday, October 6th, 2012 ~

We loaded up the DGTU with gear to last us for the weekend. Once loaded, it seemed like we had enough for a week! We met Blake at a predetermined location, with Frankie and Eric V., behind us. It seemed that there was an important piece of gear that missed the loading process, so Blake and Steve went back to get it. I led the way to the border, in the white van.

We were going to stop for some food, but on the exit that said there was food… well, there were plenty of farmer’s fields, and not much else. I led us through some really pretty rural areas, which eventually led us back to the highway (read: I guess I took the long way back). We then decided to pull over in Brockville, instead. It was lunch time now, anyway.

After lunch, we got to the border, went through, and it did not take much time at all, to reach Alexandria Bay. This was my first time on the US side of the St. Lawrence… as far as shore entry goes! I found a great parking spot, as did Frankie, and we reached the place of Drysuit Goodness!

Just follow the sign!

Frankie, at the entrance…

We registered, found our way inside, said hello to our friends, and checked out all of the goodies! We did not get there for the beginning of the day, but were a little glad, since it had been raining pretty crazily, before we got there!

Faith, with some of our NTD friends!

There were plenty of suits and cuddly undergarments to try on…

Of course, we did not have any fun, at all…
(Just like band camp)…

Once we checked out some of the goodies, socialized a little, and maybe a little more, we decided that it was time to dive! We dropped our gear down at the water, reparked the vehicles, then geared up!

Steve, Blake, and I were a team, and our plan was to scooter around one of the islands, there. Frankie and Eric V. were also a team, and had a different plan.

We made our way out, and found spots with absolutely no current, at all. We made it to the island, and found a really old car/truck, that did not have a roof on it (Chris had told us about one with a roof). We found some really old lines, so decided to follow them for a while, around the island. There were other spots, where the current was extremely strong, and our headway was very slow!

It was a completely new area for us, and we really did enjoy it!

Bottom Time: 75 mins.
Max. Depth: 79′
Water Temp.: 62F
Visibility: Not bad

After our dive, we found our DUI friends, and I got some video of Susan doin’ it Gangnam Style (*snicker*).  We also met up with Chris, Damian, and Patty, before checking into our hotel (Thank you, Faith!).

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 ~

There happened to be a 50’s-type diner, right by our hotel, so we headed over for some Breakfast Goodness! It was like a place out of a Seinfeld episode… and they did actually have Seinfeld playing on a tiny little TV, behind the counter. 😛

After food, we reorganized our gear. Steve and Blake were heading back over to the Canadian side for a dive, while I was going to stay on the US side, and meet Sir Andy, for a dive!

There he is!

James was taking some divers out, who were trying out drysuits!

I thought I recognized these scooters!

Andy and I decided to try out some DUI Powerstretch undies. I have used the older models before, but had not tried out the newer material ones. I had tried them on the day before, and they were definitely snuggly! I talked Andy into trying them, too! *Grin*

We made our way over to the Islander entry, which I had never been to before. I had my short body, and Andy had his Mini G.

There is a really nice entry, and you can tie your scooters off to the hand rail, which is quite convenient. You just have to watch your step as you get in, due to the river rocks! I was slow, in order to stay sure-footed. *Clutz.*

Entry…

We did a little tour around the wreck, as I played with my Go Pro (video to follow, at some point). After a couple of turns around, we made our way toward the floating restaurant, where there are actually under water table settings. There were a few different tables, chairs around them, bottles on the tables, plates, cutlery, and even some jewellery strewn around. It was a pretty fun site! We kept going a bit further, and found a table setting for two! Really cute to see.

We then headed towards the channel, and we saw a massive school of small fish. They just kept coming, and coming, and coming… They were endless!! It was mesmerizing to watch them, and really good to see so much life in the river. There were literally thousands of them!

We wanted to keep our dive short’ish, since we were trying out these magnificent undies, and needed to get them back by 4pm! Back to the entry, out, changed, packed up, and out!

Andy was also doing it Gangnam Style…

Bottom Time: 58 mins.
Max. Depth: 97′
Water Temp.: 62F
Visibility: Not bad in the channel, milky in the shallows.

We were only about 100 seconds away from the event parking lot, so we hurried over… It was 4:03! As we pulled in, I noticed that I had a message from Faith, asking us where we were. Oops! They had packed up a little early, and were ready to roll!

Some of the DUI crew (including the fabulous BBQ chef)…

We handed over our nifty undies (I see a pair of these in my future, for 65F’ish waters), said our “See ya next times,” gave hugs, and took more pictures.. of course.

Susan and Faith: Two of the coolest ladies I know!

Andy also met up with a friend that he hadn’t seen in a while!

Andy and I then crossed the border, and went to Centeen, where we waited for Steve and Blake.

It was starting to get a bit dark, and with the darkness, came chilliness!

When they came ashore, they had done a 6 hour dive, and we were all ready for dinner! Timmy’s, for chili! Then, to Jen and Mike’s, where we stayed for the night!

Monday, October 8th, 2012 ~

Monday morning! Time to dive! Thanksgiving holiday means that we get an extra day of Diving Goodness! Eric, James, Blake, Steve, and I met for some channel surfing!

A bit of scooter checking, first.

Scooters and stages, ready to go…

We headed upstream for 40 minutes, then dropped into the channel. The vis was slightly better in the channel, but definitely nothing to write home about. We stuck together, and had a fun drift! We came back in, played in the shallows, then back in.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 2 mins.
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 62F
Visibility: Stinky, but not as bad as previous dives from Centeen!

Mat’s dogs were having a ton of fun, jumping off of the dock!

There were a few freighters that passed by, too…

I got to try on Steve’s refrigerator.. er… RB80, for size!

From left to right: Eric B., Steve, James, Me, Blake!

Then, meal time! Timmy’s seems to be the new destination of choice, for Chili Goodness!

It was really cool to see our DUI friends, try some new undies, dive in new places, and have just a TON of fun!! Yes, I know… Diving is serious business, right? 🙂

Until the next adventure!





More Trigger Time!

2 10 2012

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 ~

Another day of Diving Goodness! We had found a new area to check out, and brought some friends along! Myself, Steve, Eric, Cory, and Raluca ventured out for some fun! It was a bit wet and rainy, so we didn’t expect the visibility to be any better than the previous couple of dives.

We ventured upstream again, for about 40’ish minutes. We were definitely in the area that we had been in the previous week, as we saw an unfortunate eel, that was still in the same place, as well as a couple of tires and timbers. The visibility still was not very good, but had very slight improvements in some areas. We are hoping that this is a sign of things to come!

We found a back eddy at the furthest point of our dive, and a place where there was absolutely no current, at all. Once we did a bunch of zig zagging, and a fun “inspection” of the place, we made our way back in.

I was still wearing my 5 mm wet gloves, and I think this may be the very last time I do that… until we get ourselves into some warmer water!

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Max. Depth: 41′
Water Temp.: 64F
Visibility: 3′

Diving is some real serious business, you know… 😉