Outbound To The ECH

2 09 2014

Sunday, August 31st, 2014 ~

Chrysler Park Marina was the meeting spot, today.  Myself, Steve, Eric B., and Oren planned to scooter out to the wreck of the Eastcliffe Hall.

I had lubed up my TiZip, and jumped in the water, to make sure I was leak-proof… Yep. All sealed up!

The entry was a bit rocky, so we formed an assembly line, to put our gear in the water.

Eric was showing off his Healthy Seas socks (socks made from recycled fishing net)!

>>Check out Healthy Seas<<

Our turbos…

As we started out, we surface scootered for part of the way, to avoid the weeds. It wasn’t a very nice day, so there weren’t any boats around. We descended, and the visibility was not as horrific as the last time we made this run out to the wreck. You could barely see your hand on your scooter handle, and that is not an exaggeration! It was a little bit better than that, and improved even more, as we got a bit of depth, away from the marina.

We then took a compass bearing, and zig-zagged until we saw some debris, which brought us to the wreck. Success!

Only 35 minutes, from the corner – which is great timing. It has taken us an hour to get to the wreck, on an occasion, or two.

We checked out various parts of the wreck, and when the first person called a stage switch, I was very surprised at how much gas I still had in my stage bottle. I had been monitoring my gas, but didn’t realize how little I had been using – Yay, gym! I am happily making some progress! w00t w00t!

We made our way inside of a section, where we saw the tail end of an extremely large eel. As we got closer to him, he tried to sneak under part of the wreck structure, so we didn’t see him. We swam by him, but didn’t dare bother him. That was one very big eel – I would say he was at least a meter long. We have seen a few large eels on this wreck, in the past!

Time to drift off, and look for cool stuff! We did that for a while, then made our way back in. Right on target!

What a fun dive!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 14 mins>
Max. Depth: 72′
Water Temp.: 69F

Due to the raging current, we didn’t bring a camera with us, on this dive. Only surface pics. 🙂

Such a fun dive, and we were changed and packed, just before the storm of impending doom came in!

The sky was pretty… just before the sky went black, and I was white-knuckling it, on the drive home!

Thanks for the great dive, friends!

 





Shorty Skillz Dive

31 08 2014

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 ~

Jen B. came and met me at Centeen, for a skillz dive!

I stayed in my drysuit, from the previous dive, and we got our gear together. I had had a bit of a flood, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I was due to lube my TiZip!

We dropped into the basin, worked on finning techniques, valve drills, s-drills, smb drills, and played around the big log.

We took our time, coming up the wall, and back in.

Since we were doing skills, I left the camera behind. We did still have fun, and it was nice to enjoy the warm water!

Bottom Time: 47 mins.
Max. Depth: 26′
Water Temp.: 69F

Photo by Matt LJ Charlesworth…





2014 Brockville Canadian Invasion

18 08 2014

August 13th, 2014 ~

I made my way down to Brockville, a little early, so that I could get things organized, and ready for everyone’s arrival. This year’s Invasion has 37 friends attending (with a few extras, joining in for the odd parts), plus some amazing speakers! I had not planned on diving today, but dropped by Centeen Park, where Steve, John, Casey, John, and Mark were diving. I didn’t see any action, even though they were there, but how could I? RB80s don’t make many bubbles, so I would be hard pressed to see, even if they were close. 🙂

I went and ran an errand, then came back. David J. was there, waiting for his buddy, who was not able to make it. I could not leave him high and dry, so we went for a dive! We did our gear checks, then dropped into the shallows, where David showed me the skills that he had been working on. Great stuff, David! I then saw a light, coming. Yep… that had to be Steve et al, so I shone my light towards them. Steve came over, and was surprised to see me in the water. *Giggle* See ya soon!

David and I went over to see the underwater statues, then for a bit of a tour around the wall, saw a bike that didn’t seem to have been there very long, some pylons, rocks, gobies, and we had a nice, relaxing dive. I had found a BB rifle gun, that I had carried back into the shallows. I showed Steve, when we surfaced, but he chucked it. Pfftt… 😛

Bottom Time: 54 mins.
Max. Depth: 34′
Water Temp.: 69F

John R., Steve B., Casey M., John K., and Mark R., after their scooter dive…

Steve and John…

After our dive, we chatted with Steve and the gang for a bit, then I headed over to Caiger’s! There were a few early arrivals, so we sat on the patio, for more chatting! The evening also brought some footage-viewing, on the TV.

How many divers does it take, to get the TV working?

August 14th, 2014 ~

The Invasion officially kicks off! Today, we were having shore dives, from Centeen Park. Some were swimming, some were scootering, a handful were on a charter, and all were having fun! At least, that was the word at the water cooler. 🙂

Island Diver, taking a bunch out to the Jodrey!

We had a few groups leaving, from Centeen Park: Darth Nash, Raph of Kahn; Frankie, Eric V., Karim, Heather; Becki, Dan; myself, Eric B., Andy, Chris P., Johannes; Daniel, Jeff, Stephen.

Our team went upstream, then dropped into the channel. There were bottles everywhere! We saw an odd little fish, with a pointed nose – Chris P. was going to try to look it up (*waiting to hear if he was successful, in identifying it*). The little guy almost swam right into my hand.

We drifted for about 25 minutes, then started to make our way back up. One of our team had a bit of a slowing scooter, so Eric donated his scooter, and I towed Eric back in. When we surfaced, Steve, John, John, Casey, and Mark were there, waiting for us, and even helped us carry our gear up. I kind of liked this royal treatment!

Bottom Time: 2 hours
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 68F

The last team were a little bit overdue, so we waited for them. When we finally saw them, Casey grabbed the life saver, and was ready to rescue!

*NOTE* They didn’t really need rescuing. 😉

L to R, back to front: Heather, Eric V., Frankie, Karim…

Back to Caiger’s, where we found more friends arriving, and dinner! We watched Casey’s GoPro footage, from the boys’ Jodrey dive, which was much fun. Charged scooters, then sleep!

Friday, August 15th, 2014 ~ 

Breakfast buffet, got gear ready, made sure all of the sandwiches were ready for the boats and shore dives, then back to Centeen. The Rec boat went to the Muskie and Lillie, and the Tech boat went to the Jodrey.

We set up our canopy, and Casey brought a whole bunch of Suex scooters, for our Suex Demo Day!

Casey, going through the Suex line of scooters!

After the demo, everyone that wanted to, took the scooters for a test drive! A lot of fun was had!

Eric B., Chris P., and I went for a channel dive. As we moved toward the channel, it took us a while to get past the 40′ mark (as usual, in that spot), but we did finally get down there. There were some absolutely ripping currents for us to play in, too… at least, for a while. The current went from ripping, to non-existent for a while, then picked up, again. Due to the current, we figured that we had gone past our entry point, so when we came back up, we actually went the wrong way, but only for about a minute, when we recognized our surroundings. We came back to the shallows, hung around for a few minutes, then out.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 41 mins.
Max. Depth: 109′
Water Temp.: 69F

We put our gear away, packed up, then back to Caiger’s, for dinner. We had some amazing presentations, after dinner, too!

Casey McKinlay: Scooters and the WKPP

John Kendall: Diving the wrecks of Malta
Since John’s picture was too dark, here is a nice photo of John…

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 ~

Today, everyone was on a boat! The Rec boat was going to the Keystorm and America, and Tech boats were going to the Jodrey.

Jazz Hands, for Diving Goodness! Johannes, Becki, Andy, Jenni M.

Getting ready for take-off!

One of the Tech boats. Damian, Heather, Daniel, Joanna, Karim…

Another Tech boat. Heison, Kneel, Johannes, Kevin, Daniel, Hong, Eric V.

Kneel, Kev, Raph of Kahn, and Darth Nash have their passports!!
Pic by Heison Chak…

Yet another Tech boat! Casey and John K. …

Steve and John R. …

Eric B., Frankie, Johannes…

Fabulousness…

Today, I was diving with Eric B. and Frankie. Frankie led today’s dive, and we hung out around the bow section. There were a few people on the wreck, so as we went towards the door and stairway, there was another team in there. Frankie poked his head in, and Eric and I waited behind the first stairway (yes, we were always in sight of each other, and only about 10′ away). We made our way around the bow section, and when we started our ascent, our average depth was more shallow than we had planned on, so our deco was very conservative. The current was pretty strong on the way back, so we were quite thankful for our scooters. 😀 This was the first time that I had taken the XK1 on a Jodrey dive. I wondered if it was going to be too big, for what we needed, but it was just perfect. 🙂

Casey, splashing in…

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 29 mins.
Max. Depth: 201′
Water Temp.: 68F

My dive buddy, Eric B. …

Back on board, then to the dock, where we didn’t have to wait long, to be cleared from customs. We got the next day’s gear ready, relaxed for a bit, then…  a most amazing dinner, and PRIZES!

Our presentations for this evening were:

Heather Hamza – Ghost Fishing (Thanks to Karim, for translating, to the French folks)

Pic was dark, so here is a pic of Heather, getting bunny ears, from Andy…

Karim…

Blake also gave us a presentation on the exploration in Chip’s Hole! Blake completely eluded the camera, so here is a nice picture of John Rose…

Wayne Green also came in, and presented me with a book, “Shipwrecks of the 1000 Islands,” which was signed by everybody. This was such an awesome gift, and I completely LOVE it! Thank you, everyone!!! xoxo
Pic by Heison Chak…

Karim also showed some secret footage of things that I am not permitted to speak of… So… you will have to wait until next year, for his official presentation!

Watching footage. Daniel, Jeff, Johannes, Darth Nash…

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 ~

Today was the last day of this year’s Invasion. To say that I was pooped, would be an understatement, and I wasn’t even sure if I felt like diving (whaaaa????). I decided to suck it up, buttercup, and decided to load the boat. Instead of doing a T2 dive, I decided to do a T1 dive, instead. So, Frankie, Joanna, and I teamed up.

Waiting for the boats…

Dany, Naomi, Stacey, Dan, Becki, Forest…

Stacey and Becki. Pic taken by Heison Chak…

Today, the Rec boat was heading to the Vickery and Kinghorn, while the Tech boat went to…. the Jodrey!

As we got to Boldt Castle (customs), we had a really great customs officer. He caught John K. out, a little, and had a great sense of humour.

Officer, to John: When were you last in the US?
John, to officer: A few weeks ago (referring to Florida)
Me, whispering to John: Psstt… John… You were here, yesterday!
John: Oops… Um… yesterday!

Officer to Damian: Did you go to the bathroom, today?
Everyone: Giggles

As we parked at the Jodrey, we ran into Bob, who had a few students, that were just finishing up their Tech 1. w00t! Way to go, folks!

Steve and John plopped in, first. Then, Heather and Karim, and myself, Frankie, and Joanna!

We had a nice, relaxing dive, and I was happy that I decided to dive. We swam around the bow, checked out the pilot house, and made the rounds a couple of times, before heading back up. We did most of our 20′ deco at the “deco stool,” then hit the triggers around to the bowl, to finish up. As we did our 6 minutes up, from 20′, the current really picked up. It wasn’t as strong as the previous day, but the surface current was especially strong. We had a fun time, handing up our scooters, but we did manage.

Bottom Time: 1 hour, 13 mins.
Max. Depth: 180′
Water Temp.: 68F

We had such a blast on the boat, that I cannot even put into words. I think that Damian had the quote of the Invasion, though. 😀

Yes, the picture is blurry, because I was laughing way too much…

Frankie and Scott…

A Heather photobomb, with Steve, Heather, and John K.!

Casey, receiving his Empress of Ireland coin, and Invasion jacket.
Pic by Heison Chak

Heather and Karim, receiving their goodies. I wonder if that is the stare-down, to see who gets the coin?
Pic by Heison Chak…

Blakey Blake, getting his goodies. Pic by Heison Chak…

Empress coins…

I would like to thank all of our prize donors, for sending us some really awesome prizes!!

Jo-Ann Wilkins Photography – Two prints
Healthy Seas/Ghost Fishing – Ghost Fishing socks for goodie bags
DUI – Goodie Bag caps + Suit inflation system
Dive Right In Scuba – Regulator bags
SANTI – MTM 400 gram undergarments
GUE Ontario – various goodies
Exploration Promotions – lanyards, carabiners, tote bags, speaker gifts (coins/jackets)
Save Ontario Shipwrecks – wreck maps
GUE – various goodies
Thousand Islands Pleasure Diving – T-Shirts, stickers
Kevin Abe – LED backup light inserts
(I hope I got everyone!) 🙂
*Note to self* Be careful of ceiling fans, when throwing blindly, into crowd… 😛

Thanks to Mike and Jen, for filling tanks, and making sure that everyone was ready for morning diving!

Thanks to Chris Phinney, for delivery tanks, in the mornings, from Jen and Mike’s! Pic by Heison Chak…

Thanks to Dive Tech, for also filling tanks!

Thanks to 1000 Islands Pleasure Diving, for taking care of us!

Thanks to River Diver Charters, for also taking care of us!

Thanks to Caiger’s, for everything!

Thanks to Heison, for taking some great photos! Heison and Heather…

Thank you, to Casey, and the other WKPP members that made the long drive up, and for giving to our community. We all really appreciated you being here, and even helping to carry our gear!

I have already started the planning for next year’s Invasion, and there are quite a number of people that have signed up! This year’s event was one of the most fun and enjoyable to be at (for me, anyway – I hope it was for everyone else, too), and I am not sure how we are going to top it, next year. Thanks to all of the wonderful people that come every year, and for coming back! You are the reason that I organize it, and you are all fabulous, covered in awesome sauce. I love that we have people attend, from all over the world!

Rachel and James…

Thank you, Forest, for taking the drone footage, helping out with the Brockville Tourism footage, and for doing a write-up on the GUE web site!

To read Forest’s very thoughtful write-up, click here, please…

>>CLICK HERE<<

Thank you, Steve, for your endless days and nights of pre-filling tanks, for the event! You. Are. The. Bee’s. Knees!

If I have forgotten anyone, please do not hesitate to contact me, and also give me a ribbing, and I will add on!

This year’s group shot, taken by Heison Chak. Jazz Handz!

See y’all, next year!!!
As Cas says, “A Chantellfie!”





More Diving!

4 08 2014

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 ~

Steve, Jen, Warren, Mike, and I met at the park, to go for a scooter run!

We scootered out to the park bench, dropped down, before the channel, continued upstream, and came to the Unknown Hull. We puttered around for a little bit, then kept going upstream, until we came to one of the horse carriages. This one does not have horse bones, but there is another one that does, including a horse skull.

We dropped into the channel, for a drift! There were bottles absolutely everywhere! We found a bottle mine! 🙂

Back up to the Gaskin, we went, toured around a little, then back in, for some deco.

Bottom Time: 2 hours
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 68F

After-dive chatting…

Group shot, with Jane!

Group shot, with me!

As we were milling around, we saw Chris McMullen, John Bailey, and Leszek, coming in from their dive!

We went for a post-dive meal, then Steve and I made the drive back to Ottawa. Another great day, on and in the Riva!

 





The Next Day…

3 08 2014

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 ~

Ok, is there anything better to do, after a week long GUE course, than GO DIVING!? Steve, Eric, Jen, and I went out for a scooter/channel drift dive. We went approximately 40 minutes upstream, on the trigger, and then made our way down into the channel. We came up the embankment a little, on the south side, and started to drift. There was some really good current, in through there… at least, for a while, there was. After drifting for a bit, the current was non-existent, and then picked up, again.

We were in the channel for about an hour, then started to make our way back up, to the Gaskin. We always know when we are nearing it, as the visibility decreases, a bit, on the west side of the wreck.

Back to the shallows, where we did a couple of stops along the way, a bottle rotation, and some deco, at 20′.

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 29 mins.
Max. Depth: 106′
Water Temp.: 68F

I think I must have been a little tired, as I didn’t get any pictures, at all. At least I did get a picture of our celebratory fudge, from The Fudgery!

Also, the celebratory drink, that Jen purchased (thanks, Jen)!