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!

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6 responses

18 09 2010
norm stone

Did you happen to video the 2 women in the bathing suits..i know both of them and they would love to see themselves on video..edith is 90 years old and has a computer but not the internet..believe it or not she is never home long enough to use it..lol..if you did video them i would love a copy to burn and pass on to them..thanks for now..

19 09 2010
chanb77

Hi Norm,

I am sorry. I do not have any video of Edith or Sandra. I wish I did! Perhaps we will be back down there to dive, and I can take some. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting them, and hearing their stories. I could listen to them all day. 🙂

16 10 2012
jane

Norm do you know if Edith is the daughter of an Albert Taylor?

15 10 2012
jane

Is this Edith mentioned the daughter of Albert Taylor?

16 10 2012
chanb77

Hi Jane,
I really am not sure. It was the first time that I had met her. 🙂

16 10 2012
jane

Ok thanks for replying x

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