Morrisburg – A Current Affair!

1 07 2014

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 ~

A large gaggle of us met down at the Morrisburg public dock, where we discussed our dive plan. We would enter down the road, then scooter/drift through the old channel, and through Lock 23. Since we had a bit of a distance to drift, we unloaded at our entry, then brought most of the vehicles down to the exit, and drove back to the entry, in our van. We would pick up our van, after the dive!

Some of the gear, unloaded…

It appears that sometimes gear DOES grow on trees!

We were going to scooter/drift in “this” direction (east)…

We entered the water, carefully. There were some slippery rocks, so we took our time. We scootered south, into the old channel, then started to drift. The visibility was not great, so staying together was a bit of a task. We did manage, though.

When we reached the lock wall, we tried to stay on the north side, but the current was absolutely ripping there, so we opted to go up and over, to the North side. I was loving how the XK1 handled the screaming current! Perhaps we can try to scooter upstream, another time… the dives where we always have to resort to “Plan B,” since the current gets to strong, to even scooter against.

Before we made it to the beach area, we found what may have been a dump area. There was some old garbage, and a large pile of bottles, in the silt. We blew an SMB, then swam over to the beach area. It was a beautiful day, so the beach was quite busy. We usually get asked by both kids and adults, “What do you see, down there?”

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 39 mins.
Max. Depth: 58′
Water Temp.: 62F
Vis.: 5′ to 10′ – Milky

Our exit point…

Chris took Steve to pick up our van, while I was the designated gear watcher. Raph had quite a drive ahead of him, so he left right away.

After gear loading…

At our post dive meal, I could not help but think of my friend, Jeff Schrieber, making fun of our mooses aboot the hooses…

Cheers, Jeff! 😛










To The Power House!

10 10 2013

October, 2013 ~

Ahhh…. an afternoon dive, out of Guindon Park. We unloaded our gear at the water, moved the van and car to a parking spot, and got ready to dive!

We did our gear checks, and away we went. We scootered south, down the “trench,” drifted for a bit, then south again, where we reached the Overflow Bridge. This meant that we had gone a bit too far, for the Power House. Steve had the Go Pro, so as he was tending to something else, I decided to make some funny faces for the camera (it was on a scooter mount).

We changed our direction, and made our way a little further west, and finally found it! w00t! We tied off our scooters, and went inside a large opening. We swam around, checked out a few different spots, and even came upon a very large eel. He didn’t really want to spend any time with us, so we left him alone.

We exited, removed our stage bottles (added them to our scooter bouquet), and went inside a smaller opening. This was a lot of fun, and we came out another hole, which was right below our gear.

Time to turn back! As we got to the shallows, we surfaced to confirm where we were, and we happened upon an absolutely gorgeous red sunset. We were right on track, so we descended again, and made our way through the weeds, back to the boat ramp. There was a boat coming in, so we went to the other side of the dock to exit.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 58 mins.
Max. Depth: 77′
Water Temp.: 62F

It was a lot of fun, and great to show our visitors some of the sunken villages!

“This is how I roll…”

After our dive, we settled on Pizza Hut as our after-dive nourishment spot… and we noticed that they actually moved it. From there, Sofie and Cas had a date with the border folks, while Steve and I started on our way home, and unloaded gear! Until the next dive!

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. 🙂

Charmed In Morrisburg

19 07 2010

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 ~

Andy met Steve and I in Morrisburg, to do some exploring and scootering around Lock 23. There is always alot of current on this end of the river, so scooters are a nice tool to have here. The lock is one of many that were flooded in 1958, when the St. Lawrence was expanded, to fit the freighters that used the river for transport. There were complete villages relocated to accommodate the flooding.

When we arrived, we noticed that the water level was much higher than usual, and the waves were quite high, due to the wind. Hmm.. white caps on the St. Lawrence!

I’m sure the picture doesn’t do the waves justice, but below is one, just the same…

We unloaded our gear, and since the diver dock was missing (It was damaged over the winter), we had planned on putting the scooters in where the dock used to be, then giant stride off of the boat docks.

We got into the water, which was not hard, but did require a bit of thought as to how to clear the little lip on the dock with our fins on. With some slight navigation, the three of us were in the water, and made the swim over to the gear.

Our plan was to go Southwest from shore, do a bit of exploring, then head over to the lock system, and surface at the beach area. Trying to make it back to your entrance can sometimes be quite a task… even with scooters. We did our pre-dive checks, then down we went.

We made our way through the weeds, dropped down through the old channel, then started to drift. There were so many large fish! I saw the biggest carp I have ever seen in my life, and I even swore in my reg. It was right beside me, and was probably close to the same length as my body. Of all of the large carp I have seen, I have never seen one like this. He was a giant!

We saw just about every species of our St. Lawrence fish, and so large!

Once we got to the lock system, we played around, checking out the old lock doors, the mechanisms, and would sometimes find shelter from the current in spots. As we were in one corner of the lock, I managed to find myself picked up by an up-current. I was caught a little off-guard, but wheeled my scooter around, and hit the trigger for “down.” I did get lifted about 10′, but I managed to get back down rather quickly. *Phew!*

We scootered some more, drifted some more, played with a couple of bass, that swam right up to the little video camera that I had. I did actually get some video, but the camera malfunctioned a bit, due to some slight leakage.

When we got near the beach area, the surge of the crashing waves was insane. I wondered if I was going to get seasick…lol. We surfaced, carried our gear in to a shaded picnic table, and I waited with the gear, while Steve and Andy went for the vehicles.

Bottom Time ~ 82 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 41′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Visibility ~ 2′ to 40′, depending on where we were

As I sat there, there were two ladies sitting close by, asking about the conditions under water, and asking what we saw under there. It turns out that they had both lived in Morrisburg for all of their lives, and were there when the St. Lawrence had been flooded, in 1958.

I sat and listened to their stories, which were so fascinating…

Edith Baker actually had her house moved for the Seaway flooding. She said that they moved her house about three or four blocks, and that they had already laid out foundations for the moving houses. Edith also said that the moving of her house was unnecessary, as the park that her house used to be in was still there. Edith had lived there her entire life, except for the war years, where she lived in Calgary (from 1941 – 1945), when her husband was in the Air Force.

Edith used to drive their boat all along the old Seaway, and knew the currents like the back of her hand. She told me that she drove the boat around because she couldn’t drive a car! Since the St. Lawrence has been flooded, the currents have changed dramatically, and she will no longer drive the boat out there.

I also spoke with Sandra Bailey, who described walking along the Lock system when she was five years old, with one sister that was fifteen, and another that was 17. If she had upset them, they would make her walk along the one part of the Lock that only had one railing. Sandra says that she is still deathly afraid of heights, due to that missing railing. If she had been good, they would walk across one of the other sections, with all of the railings intact. She really liked those days.

Apparently, there had been a giant rock near the system, where some of the kids would dive into the water from. It wasn’t allowed, but everyone did it. It was also at a park near here, that Sandra learned to swim. There was a small alcove of the river that was sheltered from the current, and everyone would swim there.

Edith and Sandra told me that Morrisburg was once a town that had everything: a bowling alley, stores, theater, etc. … Now, all they have is a gift shop and a dollar store. That, and the IGA with the painting of the old Lock system on the side of it. If they want to buy clothes or anything, they have to drive to Cornwall or Ottawa.

Apart from having a most excellent and fun dive, seeing monster fish of every species, I met two very fascinating ladies, that I wanted to talk to all day. They told me that they come here every day to swim.

Thank you, Edith and Sandra!!! I will be back!

I think I grinned the entire drive home!

Video from the dive!