Daryaw Day

30 06 2014

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 ~

Well, it’s about time that we got on a boat, this year, so we made our way down to St. Lawrence Park, to do exactly that. We were using Under Where? Dive Charters (Tom Scott), and were getting on Pork Chop, with Ryan at the helm, and Alex as crew!

Raphael had driven up from NYC, and Frankie had driven from Quebec City, so the four of us packed the night before, and made tracks, early’ish…

At St. Lawrence Park, we met Chris Phinney, Neil MacMillan, Kevin Abe, Eric Vermette, James Young, and Hong Phan, and loaded up the boat. It was a very busy day at the park, since they had a “Breakfast On The Island” event, going on. There were line-ups of folks, waiting to get on the shuttle boats, to take them for breakfast, on one of the 1000 Islands (Refugee Island). There was even a camera crew, that was catching all of the action, and even caught me carrying my scooter to the boat. My 15 seconds of fame, perhaps? ๐Ÿ˜›

Once we finally got all of our gear loaded, and parked all of our cars across the street from the park, we were off! To the DARYAW!

Scootery Goodness, alongside Captain Ryan!

I was buddying up with Raphael; Steve was with Frankie and Eric; Chris, Hong, and James teamed up; and Kneel and Kevin Aaaaaaaaaaaabe were buddies.

As we tied up to the mooring, we put our stages and scooters in the water. We noticed that the surface current was absolutely ripping, and it was probably the strongest that I have ever seen it there, in the times that I have dived the Daryaw.

Kev, Raph, James, and Eric V., just before gearing up.

Buddy teams took turns getting in, clipping on bottles and scooters, and dropping down. Raph and I were the last team to descend. It was Raph’s first time on the Daryaw, so we took it easy on the descent. We did have to hit the triggers, in order to get back to the wreck, which was not bad, at all.

Looking out, from underneath the shelter of the overturned wreck…

We made our way underneath, and Steve was taking pictures of everyone, as we swam around. The wreck is upside down, so we are able to swim “up,” into the holds. There is one hold that you can surface in, thanks to the giant air pocket. Steve, Raph, and I surfaced in it, giggled for a little bit, then back down.

Frankie, peeking under the wreck…

Kev and Kneel…

Eric V….

Hong and Raph…

Chris, peeking out of the wreck, with Raph, below. Not sure who the other diver is (there was another boat that pulled up, as we descended)…

One of hundreds of eels, on this wreck…

The plan was to drift off of the wreck, and one of each buddy team was to blow an SMB, as we came up, and the boat would pick us up. We stayed on the north wall, to be safe (and not drift into the shipping channel). Raph and I started our drift a little bit earlier than we had originally planned, but still had a nice, easy drift along the wall.

The stern of the wreck, as Steve was drifting away…

Frankie, Eric V., Steve…

Raph and I surfaced, and Ryan and Alex saw us, pretty quickly. They zoomed over, picked us up, and we waited for the others to pop up, which they did, only minutes after us.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 1 minute
Max. Depth: 96′
Water Temp.: 62F

Raph and I…

Hong, Chris, Raph, James…

Steve, Eric V., Frankie Boy (the one and only)…

Kev and Kneel…

We made our way back to St. Lawrence Park, and unloaded. Even though there isn’t as much gas in the tanks, as we get back, it still seems like the gear gets heavier, after the dive! ๐Ÿ˜›

Thank you, Ryan and Alex! You guys were awesome, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Rollin’ Up And Down The River…

23 06 2014

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 ~

Since Steve and I were the only team available for the initial Project Baseline: St. Lawrence River – Canada dive, we decided to do a bit of a dive, before our station-seeking, on the Gaskin.

We brought our scooters and a camera along, and went for a ride!

We scootered upstream, and before we dropped into the channel, we played around, and took some pictures…
(Pics of me, taken by Steve; Pics of Steve, taken by me – Nikon D200 – playing with strobes)


After our “photo session,” we dropped into the channel, and looked for anything “neat,” that we could find!

We did come across many burned planks of wood, that could very well have come from a couple of the wrecks, from the War of 1812. We know that they were burned at the water line, in the area.

Also along the path of wreckage…

More burned wood…

There was a lot of debris along the path that we took, and we are happy that we had the camera along, to take some pics of it.

Once we started to make our way back up to the Gaskin, we readied for our initial Project Baseline: St. Lawrence River – Canada dive. Details of that dive, are in the entry, before this one – found, HERE!


Bow of the Gaskin…

If you would like more information on Project Baseline, and how to get involved, in your own community, you can find information HERE!

Doing a little deco, at 30’…

…and a little more deco, at 20′!

Bottom Time: 3 hours, 12 mins.
Max. Depth: 107′
Water Temp.: 60F
Vis.: 5′ to 20′ – milky

I did get a little chilly, near the end of the dive, but it was absolutely wonderful, to be playing out in the channel, again!


Project Baseline: St. Lawrence River – Canada ~ Initial Dive

22 06 2014

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 ~

We didn’t have any GUE Ontario members that were able to join us, for the initial Project Baseline dive, so Steve and I went out in search of the best spot, for one of the stations. Our initial station will be on the bow of the Robert A. Gaskin. Our goals will be to monitor the deterioration of the wreck, as well as the water temperatures, visibility, and any obvious changes (eg. fish, eels).

The ship was originally launched in April, 1863, in Kingston, Ontario.

Since we were the only two divers, we decided to go for a scooter up the St. Lawrence River, and end up at the Gaskin, on our way back. Steve had the camera, in hand.

As we approached the Gaskin, the visibility was not the best. The camera would make it appear better than it was, but it was still tough to get shots, where the camera could focus very easily.

A few different angles:

Taken from 49’…

From above the deck, with the bow to the right…

Taken from 59’…

Water temperature: 60F (top to bottom)
Visibility: 25′ (a bit milky – camera makes it look clearer)

We have established a natural station, for the bow, and will do others on the aft starboard side, as well as the stern, where there is noticeable damage to the wreck. We did see a few small fish.

Project Baseline Dive #1 = Complete!

Three Sister Islands

17 06 2014

Sunday, June 15th, 2014 ~

While Steve was away, playing with WKPP and Suex-folk, Eric and I went out for a dip in the St. Lawrence. We went to our usual “leaving spot,” but wanted to go in a different direction.

Since we had more “go-go juice,” with the XK-1s, our plan was to go downstream, toward the Three Sister Islands, look around for a bit, then make our way back. Our max run time was going to be 2 hours, but we figured that we would have gas limitations, before that.

We went towards the Gaskin, first – we definitely saw the anchor, but the rest of the wreck was shadowed in a cloud – then made our way to the channel, where we drifted for a few minutes, then hit the triggers, along with the current. I swear, it felt like we were Superman and Jimmy, as we flew along with the current. I’m not sure who was who, but it sure was fun.

The water was a little bit higher than normal, and as we drifted along at around 100′, I’m sure that we were within spitting distance of the truck. We didn’t see it, but we knew we were close. It was hard to see anything, really, since the visibility wasn’t that great.

We made it to the islands, and we are pretty sure that we were in between the 2nd and 3rd island, as we hit a current “vortex.” The currents are strong, going through this area, and with the positioning of the islands, there are currents that wrap around them. We rode the “vortex” for a while, and as we both checked our compasses, we noticed that we were headed in the opposite direction. We had assumed that this was the case, knowing that the currents were different, here… and why we both checked direction at the same time.

We pointed tour scooters in a Northerly direction, and headed back. We were on the XK1’s full speed, for 20 minutes, as we scootered against the strong currents. I swear, it felt like I had done a serious weight-lifting workout, at the gym. That was some power! It only took us 20 minutes to get back, where it has taken us much longer, with our other scooters. Pretty impressive! We made our way up to 50′, then 40′, where we picked up the line, back to the bowl, near the entry, at around 20′.

We parked our gear at the log, and did a couple of valve drills, before coming in.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 27 mins.
Max. Depth: 110′
Water Temp.: 59F
Vis. 10′ to 30′ (better in the channel, than near the Gaskin)

Pile o’ gear…

Eric, bringing his tanks back up…

Public Service Announcement, due to the Hydroplane races:

We were glad to be back in the River, doing some fun scooter diving! XK-1, for the win!

A Bit Of Fundies Fun-Days

8 06 2014

Over the last couple of weekends, I have been with Steve, during his Fundamentals courses.

One course was a four day straight course, where I tagged along, while Steve and an intern were hard at work. I did help out, taking video of the dives, as well as installing the smb in the water (I know… tough work!). ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday, May 31st & Sunday, June 1st, 2014 ~

Field drills…

Team debrief. Notice my handy SMB work, to the left…

Exiting the water…

Day 1

Bottom Time: 58 mins.
Max. Depth: 36′
Water Temp.: 47-50F (depending on where you were)
Vis.: Not terribly great, thanks to some of the divers that swam through our perimeter, silting it out. Milky.

Day 2

Bottom Time: 56 mins.
Max. Depth: 33′
Water Temp.: 47-50F (depending on where you were)
Vis.: Not exceptional, but manageable – milky.

Good lookin’ crew!

Sunday, June 8th, 2014 ~ Course #2!

Une course en Franรงais… mostly. ๐Ÿ™‚

This was the first weekend of a split weekend course. I wasn’t there for Day 1 of the course, but was ready, willing, and able, for Day 2!

Field drills

We went in for dives 2 and 3. I showed off my smb skills, once again.

Pic taken by Adam Kulczycki…

Frankie had the camera, so I hovered, reached my valves, practiced some finning techniques, as the students did, and enjoyed the water.

We surfaced, debriefed for a bit, then went down for dive 3. S-Drills aplenty, and more finning! After this debrief, Frankie and I descended to get the SMB, then swam to the shallows, while the team was practicing reaching their valves. A good day of learning and practice!

Bottom Time (Total): 1 hour, 4 mins.
Max. Depth: 34′
Water Temp.: 50-51F
Vis.: Better than last week

Another great team!

As we were packing up, I noticed a dragonfly on my chair. He did not want to get up, so I got a bit of a closer look. It seems that he was showing me his valve drill…