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. 🙂

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!