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!

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. 🙂

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!

Town Under Water

30 06 2009

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2008 ~

We decided to head to Cornwall, for a mid-week splash in the river. On the way down, the sky was looking a little dark, and we could actually see the downpour from far away.

We also saw a deer running through a field, with a little shorty, trailing along behind her, in the long grass. I don’t think I’ve seen a fawn before.

Once arriving in Cornwall, there was evidence of the downpour, but the sun was shining, and there was even a rainbow…

We pulled into Guindon Park, geared up…

… and put the scooters on the shore…

Just before we entered the water, there was a fisherman, quite pleased with a rather large catch off of the dock.

We dropped down, and headed out. The visibility wasn’t that great at all, which isn’t a big surprise this time of year, nor is it surprising that the current was ripping. We came across a bunch of old building foundations, a sidewalk, and hit Old Highway 2.

Even though the visibility isn’t the greatest here, I never really get tired of exploring through the Lost Villages. I have yet to make it to the Paper Factory basement, but that is in the plans for the very near future! It will be a bit nicer once the water warms up a bit more. We did come across the line to it though, and cleaned off bits of it.

We headed back in to shore, and had some fun along the way. We saw some pretty big carp that didn’t seem too bothered by the fact that we were there.

Bottom Time ~ 31 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 33′
Water Temp. ~ 55
Vis. ~ 10′ with particulate in the water