Brail Diving

14 09 2015

Saturday, September 12th, 2015~ 

We had a bit of a late start to the day, but we still wanted to get in the water. It was chilly and raining, but… DIVING!

Frankie had his heart set on going to the Paper Factory Basement, so that’s where we headed – at least, that is the destination that we attempted to travel to. There were a few cars there, and one boat in the water (we saw the trailer), so we knew to look out for a boat. 🙂 The water was extraordinarily low. Probably the lowest that we have seen, here.


We put our gear in the water, and as we were getting in, Eric came by to pick up his gear, for the next day’s Diving Goodness. It felt really weird to see him on the dock, instead of in the water.

Once we did our gear checks, we surface scootered out to a spot that we would be able to see a bubble check, and descended.

Ay carumba… Talk about no visibility! We saw the ends of our scooters, but that’s about it. The water was full of particulate, and… just… MILK. All I could think of were Leigh’s words: “I do not dive in milk.” Too bad that I was wearing black wet gloves, because I wanted to pull Leigh’s big, blue thumb. We carried on.

I saw a couple of pike, which was nice. I hadn’t seen any, this year. Also, a couple of sheepshead carp, and some bass.

We dipped into the first bit of channel, then the second, and drifted for a bit. The currents were all over the place – non-existent in some areas, and absolutely ripping in others. There was one spot, where our scooters were not even moving, at half-pitch. If we hit the “turbo,” on the trigger, we did make ground.

It got to the point where there really was no point in continuing. We think we actually were on top of the Power House, but we couldn’t see anything, to really confirm it.

We turned around, and headed back to the entry. Frankie saw a couple of nice carp, on the way back. 😀

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Max. Depth: 68′
Water Temp.: 71F
Vis.: 5′ of milky, particulatey crap – maybe the worst that we’ve seen, here

Oh, well… We went diving, and were able to practice our no-vis, scootering drills!



No See For The Saw Mill

13 05 2013

Sunday, May 12th, 2013 ~

The air temperature had really dropped, going from 25C+ all week, to about 10C, with some serious winds! We took our chances, and went down to Guindon Park. We had thought about going out to the Power House, but when we pulled up, there were some serious white caps and flooding. I could just see my tendency to feed the fish, arise.

We decided to go and check out another entry, at Lakeview Heights, which also had waves and white caps, but we had the opportunity to see something new – An old saw mill, that had been around since the late 1800’s, before the first flooding of the St. Lawrence, in the early 1950’s.

Grist Mill
The grist mill on the dam, ca. 1870
Owned by J.G. Snetsinger, successful business owner, who was responsible for many of Moulinette’s early enterprises.Courtesy: Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Historical Society.

 photo GristMill1870.jpg

Before gearing up, we headed back over to Guindon Park, to let our other friends know that we were going there, instead. With the rock ‘n’ roll waves, the visibility looked to be much better than from Guindon.

Back over, we went.

We brought our gear to the water…

The entry was pretty shallow, so we had to walk out a bit of a distance, to get fins on, and do gear checks.

Our destination was approximately the middle of the right half of the tree line. Our estimated time on the trigger, to get there, was about 30 minutes.

Once we went through our dive plan and did our gear checks, we were off. The water was a bit cloudy for the first few minutes, then opened up, nicely.

Pic by Steve Blanchard

Short video of the wave action!

We headed SSW, and made it through two of our check points – early, even. When we got to what we thought was  the area, we had a look around. There were spots where the current was absolutely insane, and our scooters were really working it, to make any headway. There were also spots where the current was absolutely non-existent, which was sort of nice, but we were hoping to do a little drifting!

I had the standard body with me, and was monitoring my burn time. It was getting close, and we still hadn’t found the saw mill. Oh, well… I guess we’ll just have to come back another day. I gave Steve the signal, and we started back (Eric was on the other side of Steve).

While we didn’t get to the saw mill, we did see quite a few tree stumps and bits of building foundations (rebar and wood), as well as a few pretty large fish. There were a few Sheepshead Carp, Bass, and a really large fish that I have never seen before. It looked a bit like a Yellow Perch, but was quite large. Same colouring. I will keep searching, to see if I can find out what it was.

Very cool place to dive!

Bottom Time: 74 minutes
Max. Depth: 70′
Water Temp.: 51F
Vis.: 30′, past initial shoreline muck

Us, after the dive. I swear, I thought we were going to be taken off to Kansas!

…and a Rainbow, for Mother’s Day!

Twenty-Twelve….. What A Year!

31 12 2012

Well, what can I say? 2012 has been a year of adventure, and even took us to far away lands, that we never thought we would see!

Of course, we always start the year off in the confines of the icy cold quarry water.

Of course, it stays like this until the beginning of April…

In February, we had another AGGAST adventure! Laurynn, Kathryn, Karen, and Sonya came to the Great White North, for some of this Ice Diving stuff! Of course, we had a bunch of other friends join us, too!

There were even really neat cupcakes!

Our group shot!

Le Princessi was out to play, as well.

We did have a blast, and we even ended up being DUI Dogs!

Here is a video of our weekend!

In March, the free divers came back! They are such a great group of people, and the fact that they free dive under the ice, just blows me away!

Steve and I then went down to Mexico, and did the DPV Cave Workshop, with Danny. What an amazing week!

We had a couple of days off in between, and went diving with Laurynn and Kathryn. Kathryn took some wicked shots of us, in Minotauro!

Lowering scooters down at Nohoch, was pretty crazy, too…

On our last day, Fred took us to a spot along the ocean that had some flow coming out of it. It was a most awesome day, in the ocean!

Pic taken by Fred Devos…

We had many fun dives in the St. Lawrence River, with new friends and already made friends.

Then, the trip of a lifetime… We were invited onto Elena’s boat, and took a trip around the world (40 hours of travel), to Truk Lagoon. I don’t think I have enough words to describe how incredible this trip was. We met some great friends, were treated like royalty, and did some absolutely amazing dives.

I saw my first sea turtle, got dive-bombed by some big fish (which made me shriek), played with “Nemos,” and saw some of the most amazing wrecks, that I could ever imagine!

Below pics taken by Kevin Davidson…

Pic taken by Leigh Cunningham…

Once we returned, and got back into the River, our 5 year search finally resulted in the finding of that darn truck. Many others have seen it before us, but we just couldn’t seem to find it… until July, 2012. I guess we had to go to Truk, before finding the Truck? Wah wah wah…

Pic taken by Eric’s camera, on a timer…

Steve taught some Fundamentals and DPV 1 courses, as well as did some Rec to Tech upgrades.

Ken and Debbie came for a visit, too!
Mike, Ken, Debbie, Me…

We made it to Kingston, for a long weekend BBQ, just like old times!

Eric and I joined in on a charter with Bottom Time Diving, to help with the SOS Eastcliffe Hall mooring buoy. Luc, Frank, and Sandy had most of it covered, so Eric and I tidied up some of the line. Some crazy surface currents, there!

Then it was time for the 5th Annual Brockville Canadian Invasion! People came from far and wide, and a good time was had by all (I hope)! 🙂 Fred Devos joined us, and gave us a presentation on the Mexico Cave Exploration Project (MCEP), with updates from Ox Bel Ha.

Jenni M was certified this year, and we went to the SOS BBQ, and a dive on the Connie! What a fun day!

The visibility has not been great in the River, this year. I wonder if it has something to do with how warm it got, so quickly. There is also a shortage of zebra mussles, these past couple of years. They are invasive, and cover absolutely everything, but they also give us better vis.

We did quite a few longer scooter dives, this year… and did some investigating in parts that we hadn’t been to before.

Our good friends at DUI made a trip to Alexandria Bay, and since it wasn’t too far, we went to visit! We also did a couple of dives (of course)!

Eric V., Susan L., Me, Steve, Frankie Boy!

Blake, Steve…

Andy, doin’ it Gangnam Style…

I even tried an RB80 on, for size…

We finally scootered out to the Eastcliffe Hall from shore, which was a lot of fun… Even though I came close to thumbing the dive, due to the 2″ visibility, which eventually turned into really nice vis.

…and even more dives, in different parts of the River!

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Eric, Raluca, John, Corey, James, Steve…

Eric, CoRal, Steve…

We also had more friends come to visit, from the US! Eric P. and Tim F. spent their US Thanksgiving weekend with us. We spent a couple of days at the quarry, and a day at the River! We did have other friends join us, too!

Kevin L., Tim F., Me, Eric P. …

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Eric P., Bob S., Tim F., John B., Oren L., Steve…

We then had a small army travel down to Mexico, for some cavezzzzzzz! There were over 30 in our group, and there were even more that we joined in with! Our group had different tasks, to help out with the Mexican Cave Exploration Project (MCEP), retrieving sensors from different systems, as well as helping out at Yax Chen/Ox Bel Ha. Thanks so much to Fred, Chris, Danny, Angelica, Jorge, and Eduardo for handling such a giant group, and helping everything to run so smoothly!

We visited many different systems, and were once again mesmerized by the Mexico CAVEZZZZZZ!

Me, coming out of Mayan Blue: B Tunnel. Pic taken by Ali Fikree!

Messing around in the basin of Mayan Blue. Pic taken by Ali Fikree!

Heleen also took some video of us, in Dos Pisos. What a stunning cave!

…and Xtabay/Chac Mool…

There are a few missing from the group shot, but most of us are here!

With such an event-filled year, it is hard to believe that we could beat this one!

*Cheers* to 2013!

Victoria Day Weekend 2010

25 05 2010

Friday, May 21st, 2010 ~

Long weekend! Oren decided to come up to see us, and picked up my suit along the way. Woo Hoo! I was really looking forward to getting back in the water. Four weeks seems like an eternity.

When he arrived, I was both exited and hesitant to put it on. You know, the whole.. “Will the measurements be right…” feeling? I was happy to see that DUI had installed the P Valve for me, even though I had said that they didn’t have to. It was ready for the next day’s dive. We did a little trimming of the seals, I put my undies on, and put it on.

I was very pleased that even with the new measurements, that the bottom fit so much nicer than my other DUI. The top had quite a bit of extra room, but I would prefer it on the top than on the bottom.

w00t! Ready for the water! Thanks so much, Faith!!! You’re da bomb!

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 ~

We decided to go to Cornwall, to make a run for the Power House. Neither Oren or I had been there, so Steve was going to lead the way.

It rained a bit on the way down…

As Steve was getting out his white board, we had a little visitor. My guess is that she wondered if we had anything to give her…

We discussed our plan of attack, and the contours of where we were going…

We geared up and put the scooters in.

There were only a couple of boats out today, which was good for us. It can be a bit hairy coming in and out of the docking area, as it is pretty shallow. The boaters and the divers do get along here, and we are always courteous of each other.

We got in, scootered on the surface, until we were out of the small bay, then dropped down. Our plan was to head south, then a bit east, then south again, once we found a wall.

Well, we did find a wall. We also found the Paper Factory Basement, which was farther north. We decided to take a bearing across, to where we thought the Power House would be. The visibility was pretty horrible, and the currents were pretty strong, so we stayed tight as a team.

We did see some rather large fish along the way, and a turn that we made, brought us back to the Paper Factory. So.. er.. I guess that today wasn’t going to be the day for the Power House. Too bad we didn’t bring a reel. The Basement would have been an awesome Plan B.

We decided to take another bearing, and when we didn’t reach our destination by the time we did our gas switch, we headed for home.

We still had a pretty fun dive, saw some interesting things, and played with some giant fish.

Bottom Time ~ 95 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 82′
Water Temp. ~ 42

Of course, I actually wasn’t completely dry during the dive. It was no fault of my wonderful new suit, but due to a couple of plumbing problems… User error…

We had a good laugh about it afterwards…

The sun started to set, so we headed back to our place. Here’s to a dry dive tomorrow!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 ~

We decided to head down to Centeen Park, for some more river exploration. Chris P. and Allan met us down there, and they were going to go for a swim out to the Gaskin.

As we were gearing up, some visitors pulled up in a boat.

Kelly and Dave came by for a visit!

Not long behind them were Chris Red, Jane, Mike, and Warren…

We shot the sheet for a little while, and since they had their shiny new Cudas with them, they were going to tie up the boat, and scooter out to the Gaskin.


Steve, explaining some of the cool stuff around the channel…

I caught Allan in the background…

We got in, did our predive checks, and headed out. We showed Dave, Kelly, and Warren to the line, and they were off like Greyhounds! We did catch up at the wreck, played around a little, then made our way out into the channel. Exploring time!

We happened on to some wreckage that we had not seen before. There were remnants of a shipwreck, many bottles, and chunks of metal. This looked like it was pretty old stuff. We played around for a while, drifted, and looked at bottles. I think we all had pretty large grins on our faces. NEW STUFF!!

We drifted back a bit, looked around some more, then scootered up a bit more shallow, drifted some more… you get the idea… Another fantastic dive.

Bottom Time ~ 72 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 104′
Water Temp. ~ 53

I found it a bit odd that I was a bit chilled on this dive. When I got out, I noticed that I had not pulled my zipper all the way down. So.. I have christened my new suit in more ways than one…. Next week.. Dry.. 😀

Happy Birthday, Queen Victoria!

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!